|UMaine||University of Massachusetts|
AMHERST, Mass. – A short-handed goal from Cedric Lacroix with 5:02 remaining in the third period lifted the University of Maine men’s ice hockey team to a 3-2 win over the Massachusetts Minutemen on Friday night at the Mullins Center. The win bumps Maine to 13-9-4 overall and 7-6-3 in Hockey East play while UMass moves to 11-13-1 overall and 5-9-1 in conference play.
The Black Bears took just 3:43 open the scoring, with Eduards Tralmaks potting his ninth of the year just 3:43 in. The goal came after the puck was dumped in and an attempted clearance from UMass instead found Mitchell Fossier below the goal line. Fossier’s no-look backhand dish found Tralmaks at the right circle for a one-timer between Matt Murray’s glove and the left post.
The Minutemen responded five minutes later by scoring a power-play goal from Austin Plevy and then an even-strength goal from Griff Jeszka in the span of 2:26. But two nice saves from Jeremy Swayman in the period kept it 2-1 at the first intermission.
It was a story of special teams in the opening 10 minutes of the second period. Mark Hamilton’s block to the left of Swayman helped Maine kill off an early hooking penalty and then the Black Bears earned the next two of the period. Both 5-on-4 opportunities produced a myriad of chances for Maine, with Fossier and Chase Pearson both nearly connecting on dishes at the right post and Patrick Holway ringing a wrist shot off the post just as the second power-play expired.
Maine carried that momentum through a penalty kill of its own before Rob Michel pulled the Black Bears even on the power-play. Fossier fed Pearson for a look from the left and the captain’s shot rang off the right post. The puck rebound out to the right dot where Michel slapped it home for his fourth of the season.
Swayman started strong in the third period, making seven saves in the first seven minutes – including a nice chest save on a short-handed chance from the left dot – to keep the game at 2-2 at the midway point of the final frame.
And when faced with another penalty to kill, the Black Bears remained calm and turned it back the other way for the lead.
After Michel forced a turnover near the Maine blue line, the defenseman rushed the puck up the right wing and took a slapshot from the top of the right circle. The rebound bounced to the top of the crease where a crashing Lacroix slammed it home.
Michel finished with two points on one goal and one assist while Fossier picked up two helpers.
Swayman finished with 28 saves for Maine while Murray had 21 stops for UMass. The Minutemen held the final edge in shots on goal (30-24).
Maine will close out the regular season series with UMass tomorrow night with a 7 p.m. puck drop at the Mullins Center.