ORONO, Maine — The University of Maine men’s hockey team snapped its five-game home losing streak, but the Black Bears didn’t get the result they wanted.
Junior defenseman Conor Allen’s goal with 1:08 remaining enabled Massachusetts to earn a well-deserved point by virtue of a 2-2 overtime tie.
Maine is now 2-9-1 overall and 1-5-1 in Hockey East, while UMass is 3-4-1 and 2-4-1.
UMass carried the play with its superior quickness and experience, spending significantly more time in Maine’s zone than Maine did in the Minuteman zone.
But the Black Bears did an efficient job limiting UMass’ second-chance opportunities and UMaine junior goalie Martin Ouellette turned in an outstanding performance.
Maine was able to create some chances off transition when the Minutemen got caught deep in the offensive zone, and the Black Bears also had occasional stints of sustained pressure.
Ouellette finished with 30 saves, including 15 of the Grade-A (high-percentage) variety. Counterpart Kevin Boyle also played well, winding up with 27 stops, including 11 Grade-A’s.
With Boyle on the bench in favor of the extra attacker, Allen notched the equalizer thanks to a pinpoint pass from behind the net by Rocco Carzo.
“Conor Sheary and I had a two-on-two and Conor dumped it behind the net. I went and got the puck and threw it in the slot. I figured somebody would be there. We had six skaters out there,” said Carzo.
“It was a lucky goal,” said Allen, who raced down the middle of the high slot and one-timed it past Ouellette. “The puck came to me and I put it low blocker side.”
Maine goalie Ouellette said, “I was screened a little. The shot hit my arm and went in.”
“It’s frustrating,” added Ouellette.
“We’re pretty happy to get a point,” said Allen.
First-period goals by defensemen Mark Nemec and Jake Rutt staked Maine to just its second two-goal lead of the season, but UMass’ Steven Guzzo got one back on the power play in the second period.
Nemec supplied the Black Bears with a 1-0 lead against the run of play and Rutt extended it just 1:42 later with a four-on-three power-play goal.
It was sophomore Rutt’s first career goal.
With both teams playing a man short, Nemec scored directly off a faceoff win by Devin Shore.
Shore won the left-circle draw over to Nemec, whose snap shot along the ice squeezed through Boyle’s pads.
Guzzo took a high-sticking penalty 44 seconds later and Rutt made the Minutemen pay.
Rutt was able to stickhandle unattended from right to left across the middle of the slot before wristing the puck past the blocker of the screened Boyle.
Ben Hutton and Kyle Beattie had assists on the goal.
Ouellette made 10 saves in the first period as the Minutemen had a decided edge in play.
Ouellette continued his stellar play in the second period, but the Minutemen finally broke through with 5:06 remaining.
Maine’s Beattie lost the puck trying to make a play in the offensive zone and the Minutemen broke up the ice quickly.
The Minutemen drove the net and the puck pinballed around until Guzzo tipped it behind Ouellette from the edge of the crease.
Patrick Kiley and Troy Power picked up assists on the play.
Ouellette finished with eight Grade-A (high-percentage) saves in the second period to go with his four in the first period, while Boyle had five to accompany his four in the initial period.
“It was a point lost,” said Rutt. “When you have a 2-0 lead at Alfond Arena, you should be able to win. But they had the better scoring chances. [Ouellette] kept us in it. They had an aggressive two-man forecheck and and we sometimes tried to do too much [in the defensive zone].”
“We let up that last minute and a half [of regulation],” said Maine senior right wing and tri-captain Joey Diamond. “We’ve got to play a full 60-minute game.”
UMass coach John Micheletto said his team didn’t play up to its potential, but he’ll take the point.
“After we fell behind, we let the scoreboard dictate our play,” said Micheletto. “But the guys came back [and played well] in the third.”
Maine squandered two power-play chances in the third, failing to extend the lead. Maine mustered just one shot on goal on the two power plays.
But the Minutemen received a power play in the final 1:08 of overtime when Rutt slashed Troy Power, who had a clean breakaway.
The Black Bears were able to kill the penalty to preserve the point.
Maine doesn’t play again until it hosts Vermont for a pair on Nov. 30/Dec. 1.
UMass entertains UMass Lowell on Sunday night.