BOSTON — The 20th-ranked University of Maine men’s hockey team got first period goals from Alexis Binner and Mitchell Fossier while Nolan Vesey scored late in the third but it wasn’t enough, as the Black Bears fell, 5-3, to No. 10/9 Northeastern on Saturday night at Matthews Arena.
Binner’s goal was the first of his career while Fossier and Chase Pearson both moved their point-streaks to three games.
With NU leading 3-2 entering into the third period, the Huskies got a power-play goal from Brandon Hawkins and an empty-net score from Nolan Stevens to make it 5-3. Vesey scored the extra-attacker goal for Maine with 41 seconds left on the clock but the Black Bears couldn’t find another.
Northeastern jumped out to a 1-0 lead on a goal credited to Grant Jozefek in the first period, but Maine got back into the swing of things with a few nice rushes of their own and strong goaltending from Jeremy Swayman.
The persistence soon paid off too, as Binner’s first career goal tied the game up with 6:20 to play in the first period. After Daniel Perez found Chase Pearson up the wing, Pearson carried the puck over the blue line before circling back to find Binner. From the middle of the ice, Binner floated a wrist shot through traffic and inside the right post.
And just when it seemed the game would enter the break tied, Fossier’s hustle up the ice to a loose puck gave the Black Bears the lead with 8.4 seconds left. After he deflected an errant pass through the slot into the neutral zone, the sophomore then out-skated a Northeastern defender to the puck. Gaining possession at the blueline, Fossier then deked down Cayden Primeau and slotted the puck through his legs for the 2-1 lead at the end of the first period.
The second period proved to be Northeastern’s in the early going, as Eric Williams tied the game up 6:25 into the second stanza when he took a slapshot right off a faceoff win. Two minutes later, the score became 3-2 after bodies fell around the crease onto Swayman and the puck found its way into the net for a power-play tally.
Keith Muehlbauer‘s wrister from the right point created some dangerous looks for Maine in the early going of the third period, but none of the Black Bears’ shots found the back of the net. Swayman continued to be solid at the other end of the ice, more than once facing up to shooters down low for key freezes with the glove. Twice in the game, the freshman poke checked the puck away from a driving Northeastern play.
Swayman finished with 32 saves while Primeau had 17 for the Huskies. Northeastern (14-5-3, 10-3-1 HE) held the final edge over Maine (11-9-2, 5-6-1) in shots on goal at 37-20.
Maine returns home on at 7 p.m. Tuesday to battle UMass before hosting rival New Hampshire on Friday and Saturday when the Black Bears will be celebrating the 40th Anniversary of Alfond Arena and Maine men’s ice hockey.