AMHERST, Mass. – Chase Pearson scored two goals, including the game-winner in the third period, while Emil Westerlund added one of his own to help the University of Maine men’s hockey team to a 3-2 win over the Massachusetts Minutemen on Saturday night at the Mullins Center.
A night after it took less than four minutes to open the scoring, the Black Bears did it in just 18 seconds. Pearson was able to find the puck in front off of a scrum and on his second stuff attempt, put it through the legs of Ryan Wischow.
While Maine was on the penalty kill later in the first, Jeremy Swayman showed patience on a shooter down low with a glove save and then pounced a rebound. The Black Bears had an active power-play of their own near the midway point of the period, with Tim Doherty’s tip of Brady Keeper’s pass at the top of the crease just going wide of the left post.
The Minutemen tied it up with 5:15 to play in the opening frame, with Oliver Chau driving low on the right circle and centering a pass to Mitchell Chaffee at the left post for a backhand.
UMass almost took the lead 45 seconds into the second but Swayman and the defense were finally able to coral the loose puck in the crease to settle things down.
The Black Bears almost took the lead soon after but Westerlund’s stuff at the right post was waved off for goaltender interference. Momentum was on Maine’s side, though, as Westerlund would rip the twine just minutes later to put Maine back on top, 2-1. Brendan Robbins floated down the right wing and when he reached the bottom of the right circle, snuck a pass to Westerlund at the dot. Westerlund picked his spot in the top left corner of the net and sent the puck past Wischow for his sixth of the year.
Pearson’s second of the night five minutes later gave Maine a 3-1 cushion with 6:41 to play in the middle frame. Fossier got the puck deep into the left corner and then worked with Eduards Tralmaks behind the net. Tralmaks hit Fossier on Wischow’s glove side and Fossier then slipped it in front where a crashing Pearson finished it.
UMass would add a power-play goal with exactly five minutes to play in the third, as John Leonard one-time the puck from the slot past Swayman. It was Swayman, though, who had 12 saves in the frame to keep the score in Maine’s favor.
Robbins almost got a goal of his own twice late in the period – first when Westerlund whipped in a pass from the corner but Wischow made a beautiful save and then again when he clinked the post of the empty net – but the final score line read 3-2, Maine.
Wischow finished with 23 saves for UMass (11-14-1, 5-10-1 HEA) while Swayman finished with 28 for Maine (14-9-4, 8-6-3 HEA). UMass held the final edge in shots on goal (30-26).
The Black Bears – unbeaten in the last five games – return home next weekend to host Merrimack for two games on Friday and Saturday in the penultimate home weekend of the regular season.