Scott Conway scored on the power play with 48 seconds left in overtime on Friday night, lifting ninth-ranked Providence College to a 3-2 Hockey East victory over the University of Maine at Schneider Arena in Providence, R.I.
Nolan Vesey was whistled for charging 3:01 into the extra period, providing the Friars (18-9-4, 11-6-4 HE) with the extra-man opportunity.
UMaine slipped to 15-11-4, 9-8-3 in conference play.
Coach Red Gendron’s Black Bears had killed off a 5-on-3 Providence power play late in regulation to help force overtime.
“It was a great game and our team played really well for the entire 60 minutes — one of the better games we’ve played this year,” Gendron said.
Gendron faulted neither Vesey for his effort on the play, nor the referee for making the call.
“We had more than our share of opportunities and it came down to a bad break. Nolan Vesey, he didn’t intend on hitting the goalie,” Gendron said. “It was just one of those bang-bang plays. He’s heading toward the net and the goalie bounced the puck off his shin pads and he’s trying to score, he runs into him by accident.”
Vimal Sukumaran staked Providence to a 1-0 lead only 6:05 into the contest. His goal was set up by Erik Foley and Brandon Duhaime.
UMaine got the equalizer less than 2 1/2 minutes later. Chase Pearson lit the lamp off assists from Eduards Tralmaks and Mitchell Fossier at the 8:27 mark.
The Friars went back in front barely two minutes later when Josh Wilkins and Sukumaran set up Jacob Bryson’s goal at 10:43 of the period.
Swayman made 11 saves in the period and Hayden Hawkey logged eight in a period that did not have any penalties.
The Black Bears, who had some good scoring chances during a power play 12 minutes into the second period, were thwarted by Hawkey and a defensive gem by Hennessey, who pulled a puck off the goal line to keep the Friars in front, if only temporarily.
Ryan Smith finally netted the tying goal for UMaine with fewer than two minutes left in the second period. Brady Keeper initiated the play by firing a long pass from behind the UMaine goal that deflected off the boards in front of the penalty box.
The puck went to Peter Housakos at the offensive blue line and he wound up throwing the puck out front, where Smith was able to get a piece of it and direct it just over the goal line at the 18:03 mark.
Swayman came up with 11 more saves in the period for UMaine, while Hawkey also was forced to make 11 stops for the Friars.
Providence opened the third period with a nearly full two-minute power play, but could not cash in. The Friars then encountered a potentially game-changing problem when Josh Wilkins was whistled for a five-minute major for crashing into Swayman.
However, the hosts afforded the Black Bears precious few good scoring chances while killing off the penalty. In fact, Sukumaran had to be thwarted by Alexis Binner’s backchecking and a save by Swayman on a shorthanded breakaway opportunity during the major.