KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Joey Diamond has made a name for himself with his gritty play, especially around the opposing net.
The University of Maine senior right wing’s net-front presence paid dividends again Saturday night.
Diamond tipped in freshman defenseman Ben Hutton’s shot from the point with 10:04 remaining in regulation to give the Black Bears a come-from-behind 4-3 ,men’s hockey victory over Army in the consolation game at the Ice Breaker Tournament.
The Black Bears (1-2) outshot the 0-2 Black Knights 54-24.
Notre Dame beat Nebraska-Omaha 3-2 in the championship game.
Diamond’s goal came just 55 seconds after Army’s Josh Richards had tied it when he beat Maine freshman goalie Matt Morris with a quick shot off a Joe Kozlak faceoff win.
Thane Keller’s first-period goal and Luke Jenkins’ goal early in the second period staked the Black Knights to a 2-0 lead but Maine rallied later in the second period with three goals in a span of 2:27 to take the lead.
Mark Anthoine and Klas Leidermark scored 1:11 apart to tie it and Stu Higgins capped the flurry at the 13:51 mark.
Maine coach Tim Whitehead said he was pleased that his team “never panicked” when they fell behind.
“They kept pushing. They stuck with it. They eventually wore [Army] down and got the win,” said Whitehead.
“We kept our composure,” said Diamond. “It’s always good to face adversity and overcome it. Our work ethic was better today. We had a good team meeting before the game and came out and played with more of an edge.”
Diamond, who was tied for third in the country in goals per game (0.68) a year ago, made his first goal of this season a game-winner.
Higgins passed the puck to Hutton at the point and he took a shot.
“It was a great shot and I was able to get a piece of it,” said Diamond, who was screening the goaltender.
Establishing a net-front presence was one of the focal points for Maine and that’s how all of its goals were scored.
“All of our goals were real hard-nosed goals,” Whitehead said. “They were beautiful ugly goals. The guys drove the net.”
Anthoine’s even-strength goal turned the tide as it snapped a Black Bear scoreless streak that spanned 147 minutes, 44 seconds and gave the Bears offensive momentum. The junior right wing from Lewiston had gone 59 games without an even-strength goal dating back to his freshman season.
He had 12 goals a year ago, 11 on the power play and one shorthanded.
“Finally (an even-strength goal)!” quipped Anthoine, who converted his own rebound.
“I grabbed the puck in the corner and there was no pressure on me so I took it to the net,” he said. “I tried to stuff it but [goalie Rob Tadazak] had the paddle (stick) down. I got lucky. I got my own rebound.”
Anthoine roofed the puck as he was falling to the ice.
Leidermark snapped a 24-game goal-less drought when he flipped home the rebound of a shot by Will Merchant, who tried to stuff the puck past Tadazak.
Higgins also converted a rebound.
“Joey bumped the puck up to Devin Shore and he went wide and flew by [a defenseman]. Devin got off a shot and I followed it up. I had a wide-open net, basically,” said Higgins, who broke his 16-game goal-less famine.
Heller scored 5:41 into the game when he swept home an Andy Starczewski rebound.
Jenkins expanded the lead 2:31 into the second period when he chased down his rebound and banked in shot from behind the extended goal line. The puck glanced in off Morris.
Morris made 10 Grade-A (high-percentage) saves among his 21 in his first varsity start.
Sophomore Tadazak was outstanding, making 24 Grade-A saves among his 50.
Maine hosts St. Lawrence for games Friday and Saturday nights at 7.