|UMaine||Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute|
BELFAST, Northern Ireland – Goals from Brendan Robbins, Nolan Vesey and a game-winner from Mitchell Fossier just 35 seconds into the third period paced the University of Maine men’s ice hockey team to a 4-2 win over Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute on Saturday at the SSE Arena. With the win, Maine secured third place in the 2017 Friendship Four Tournament.
Neither team generated a lot of offense in the early goings of the first period, with a pair of freshman goaltenders in Jeremy Swayman – who had a solid glove save on a tight shot from the left circle – and Linden Marshall able to handle the shots thrown their way. Maine did well to continue to create opportunities throughout the period and the Black Bears’ persistence finally paid off with 6:04 to play in the first frame.
After Canon Pieper picked the puck off near the red line, he sent a pass to Robbins in the high slot. Robbins skated past one defender before cutting to his backhand and roofing the puck past the stick of Marshall.
The Engineers, though, would capitalize on a power-play opportunity as the clock ticked down in the opening frame, with Troy York pulling the home team of the day even with 12 seconds to go.
Vesey didn’t take long to put Maine back on top, as he found the net just 1:41 into the second period. After Alexis Binner picked the puck up behind the Maine goal line, he fed it up to Brady Keeper who then chipped it into the neutral zone to Patrick Shea. Shea’s centering pass found Doherty and then Vesey finished off a dish down the left wing by tucking a wrister inside the far post.
RPI and Maine then traded penalties in the second, with each team picking up two, but the Black Bears didn’t let that stop them from creating scoring opportunities. Chase Pearson nearly found the net when Fossier hit him with a centering pass while crashing the net but the tip was blocked away and it was Adrian Holesinsky that one-time a pass off the left post.
The Black Bears carried that momentum into the final period and Fossier found the net just 35 seconds in. After Eduards Tralmaks worked the puck to Patrick Holway at the right point, Fossier cut to the net and tipped the defenseman’s shot into the net for the 3-1 lead.
The Engineers would pull a goal back four minutes later to make it a 3-2 contest with 15:07 to play.
The Black Bears defense and Swayman stood tall the rest of the way, though, with the goaltender making a couple glove saves, including on the penalty kill with under three minutes to go. Even after RPI pulled Marshall in favor of an extra attacker, the Black Bears stayed tough and Doherty added an empty-net goal for the final 4-2 score.
Swayman (4-3-0) finished with 18 saves while Marshall (1-4-1) had 23. Maine (5-7-0) held the final edge in shots on goal (27-20) over RPI (2-9-3).
The Black Bears are back in action on home soil next weekend when the Vermont Catamounts visit Alfond Arena on Friday, Dec. 1 and Saturday, Dec. 2 for two Hockey East tilts.