Senior right wing Brendan Robbins scored his second straight game-winning goal and the University of Maine men’s hockey team overcame a pair of one-goal deficits and 10 Merrimack College power plays to pull out a 4-2 Hockey East victory on Saturday night at Lawler Arena in North Andover, Mass.
The Black Bears, who rallied for a 3-3 tie with Merrimack on Friday night, are now 12-14-4 overall and 8-8-4 in Hockey East and pulled into a sixth-place tie with Boston University. Merrimack (7-21-2, 4-15-1 HE) has been eliminated from playoff contention.
Only the top eight teams earn playoff berths this season.
UMaine is now 3-1-1 over its last five games.
The game was tied 2-2 after one period as Ryan Smith answered a power-play goal by Merrimack’s Alex Carle which opened the scoring. And after Derek Petti restored the lead for the Warriors, Sam Becker knotted it up 1:30 later.
Mitch Fossier added an empty-net goal with two seconds left.
Robbins’ game-winner came off a 2-on-1 with Emil Westerlund with 7:13 left in the middle period.
“Emil gave me a great saucer pass over their player’s stick and I got some wood on it,” Robbins said. “Luckily for me, the goalie (Logan Halladay) didn’t get over in time.”
Robbins had the shorthanded game-winner in the 3-1 win over Providence last Saturday night.
The Black Bears survived four Merrimack power plays in the third period, including a five-minute major on Patrick Shea for kneeing, and a slashing penalty on Brady Keeper with 1:39 left.
For the second straight game, the Black Bears were without junior center, co-captain and leading goal scorer Chase Pearson, who is out with an undisclosed injury.
“It was a huge win for our team,” said UMaine coach Red Gendron.
“We played gritty. We made plays when we had opportunities,” he added.
“It was a man’s game out there. Merrimack came to battle. They’re a physical team,” said Robbins.
Sophomore Jeremy Swayman finished with 39 saves for UMaine while Craig Pantano and Halladay combined for 26 stops for Merrimack.
Fossier had an assist to go with his goal and Westerlund and Shea each picked up two assists.
UMaine went 0-for-5 on the power play while Merrimack went 1-for-10. UMaine has now killed off 22 of the opponents’ last 24 power plays.
UMaine entertains Boston College next Friday and Saturday.