Black Bears give up last-minute goal, tie Northeastern

Posted Feb. 21, 2014, at 10:34 p.m.
Last modified Feb. 21, 2014, at 11:07 p.m.

BOSTON — The Maine Black Bears picked up a point in Hockey East, but squandered a chance to notch a win when they allowed a Northeastern goal with 1:11 remaining en route to a 4-4 overtime tie Friday night at Matthews Arena.

It is the fourth goal Maine has allowed in the final 1:23 of regulation over the past five games.

The Bears had taken a 4-3 lead with 6:03 left in the game when Mark Anthoine followed up a Devin Shore shot for his eighth goal of the season.

Maine killed off a penalty and Shore jumped out of the penalty box, won a race for the puck and fired a shot that NU goalie Clay Witt stopped, but the puck popped out to a waiting Anthoine, who knocked it in. Brady Campbell also notched an assist on the play.

The Huskies responded, however, when Braden Pimm scored as the trailer on a 3-on-2 at the 18:49 mark to tie it at 4-4. Mike Szmatula and Mike Gunn assisted on the goal.

“We made a mistake,” said Maine coach Red Gendron about the game-tying goal. “Our player got outnumbered and wasn’t able to get the puck out of the [defensive] zone and a couple of our other skaters skated by the play. They know they shouldn’t have.”

Maine is now 15-10-4 overall and 9-5-4 in Hockey East while NU is 17-10-4 and 9-6-2, respectively. The two teams are vying for a top-four finish in Hockey East that would earn a bye in the single-game elimination round (March 7-8) and home ice for a best-of-three quarterfinal series (March 14-16).

They battle again at 7 p.m. Saturday.

NU outshot the Bears 31-27 with Maine’s Martin Ouellette making 27 saves and NU’s Witt finishing with 23. Maine received only one power play and the Huskies had three, but neither team could convert.

“We did a lot of good things. It was a great college hockey game. Even though we fell behind 3-2 after being ahead 2-0, we didn’t quit. We could have folded but we didn’t. We came back to tie it,” said Gendron.

“Parts of our performance were terrific and other parts weren’t terrific. We didn’t get the win so we’re not satisfied. But the effort and compete level were there,” said Gendron.

Connor Leen put the Black Bears on the scoreboard first when he scored his sixth goal of the season with 2:55 left in the first period. Steven Swavely and Conor Riley assisted on the goal.

The Bears outshot the Huskies in the period 12-6.

Swavely notched his eighth goal of the season when he beat Witt just 24 seconds into the second period. Riley assisted on the goal.

The Huskies responded with three goals in a span of 6:34 as Colton Saucerman, Kevin Roy and John Stevens supplied the Huskies with a 3-2 lead.

Saucerman scored one second after a Maine penalty had expired.

NU then tied the score about three minutes later when Roy notched his 17th goal of the season.

About six minutes later, the Huskies struck for their third straight goal when John Stevens scored his seventh of the season. Ouellette made the initial save, but then Stevens stuffed the puck past the Maine goalie.

Maine finally responded about 90 seconds later when Blaine Byron also snapped a personal scoring drought when he converted off a nice setup from Brian Morgan. Witt got a piece of the puck, but it deflected past him. It was Byron’s first goal since Dec. 14 against AIC.

Ben Hutton also assisted on the goal.

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