PROVIDENCE, R.I. – The University of Maine men’s hockey team went toe-to-toe with No. 9/10 Providence, but Scott Conway scored with 48.6 seconds left in overtime to give the Friars a 3-2 win on Friday night at Schneider Arena.
Maine’s record moves to 15-11-4 overall and 9-8-3 in Hockey East play while Providence bumps to 18-9-4 overall and 11-6-4 in conference play. Jeremy Swayman finished with 39 saves in goal for the Black Bears while Chase Pearson and Ryan Smith potted goals.
There was back-and-forth play to open the game, and that was how the scoring would go in the first frame too, as the teams traded goals.
First it was the Friars that grabbed the game’s first goal six minutes in when Erik Foley skated down the right wing and Vimal Sukumaran crashed the net and finished the centering pass across the low lot at the left post. Two minutes, twenty-two seconds later, Maine pulled back even on Pearson’s seventh goal of the season. After Eduards Tralmaks and Mitchell Fossier worked hard behind the net, Fossier got the puck to Tralmaks on Hayden Hawkey’s glove side. Tralmaks then slotted the puck to Pearson at the top of the crease for the finish. With the goal, Pearson extended his point-streak to six games.
But in keeping with the theme, Providence made it 2-1, just 2:26 after Pearson had tied it with a goal from Jacob Bryson.
Swayman’s sharp save on a tipped puck at the top of the crease kept it a one-goal game at the first intermission and his daring blocker save three minutes into the second period – squaring up to a shooter at the top of the crease – did the same.
Pearson nearly tied it up on one of Maine’s two power-play opportunities in the first 10 minutes of the second period, but Hawkey made a diving blocker save at the right post on the shot from the bottom of the circle.
The Black Bears didn’t score on the man-advantage in the middle frame but did use them to generate some opportunities and momentum. With under two minutes to go in the middle frame, Maine still trailing, 2-1, the Black bears did something they have done in every single road game this season: score in the second period.
After a long look up the ice from Brady Keeper to Peter Housakos, Housakos was able to corale the puck again and slot it to Smith near the left post. Smith’s whack of the puck just trickled over the line between Hawkey’s right toe and the post.
Early in the third, Maine was on the power-play for nearly five minutes due to a Providence charging major but a Canon Pieper off the post and two other chest saves from Hawkey kept the score at 2-2.
Neither team would score in the third stanza, so the teams headed to overtime for the 11th time in the 123-game series. A centering pass from Tralmaks to Tim Doherty was inches from winning it for the Black Bears but it would be Conway from Brandon Duhaime and Ben Mirageas for the game-winner.
Providence held the final edge in shots on goal over Maine at 42-33.
Maine will travel to rival New Hampshire on Wednesday, Feb. 14 for a rare weeknight battle with the Wildcats.