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ORONO, Maine — After scoring just one goal in his first 25 games this season, junior left wing Mitch Fossier is coming alive at just the right time.
Fossier’s goal with 50.5 seconds left in overtime, his sixth in his last seven games, gave the University of Maine a 2-1 Hockey East victory over Boston College on Saturday night at Alfond Arena.
UMaine (14-14-4 overall, 10-8-4 Hockey East) extended its unbeaten streak to five games (4-0-1), while Boston College (10-18-3, 9-9-3 HE) suffered its sixth straight loss and has now been held to one goal less 11 times.
The Black Bears, 2-1 winners on Friday night, swept the three-game series with the Eagles.
David Cotton’s first-period power-play goal gave BC a 1-0 lead, but Brendan Robbins tied it up with 47 seconds left in the middle period.
Jeremy Swayman made 36 saves for UMaine, and he now has a blistering 0.956 save percentage over his last six games. Fourteen of his saves were of the Grade-A (high percentage) variety.
It was Swayman’s 50th consecutive start.
Joe Woll finished with 33 stops for Boston, including 11 Grade-A’s.
Fossier’s goal came off a pass from Chase Pearson, who was along the left wing boards near the top of the left faceoff circle.
“Chase was able to make a nice, short pass to me and I was able to cut to the middle,” Fossier said. “I was looking for a defenseman but I didn’t see anything so I tried to get everything on the backhand and throw it toward the net. [Eduards Tralmaks] had a great screen. I don’t think he [Woll] ever saw it.
“By no means was it a snipe,” Fossier said with a chuckle. “I think it literally hit close to the middle of the net. Without [Tralmaks’] screen, it’s an easy save.”
Tralmaks also picked up an assist.
BC outshot UMaine 15-2 in the first period and took a well-deserved lead on Cotton’s 18th goal of the season with 7:48 left in the first period.
Former UMaine commit Oliver Wahlstrom of Yarmouth, son of former Black Bears forward Joakim Wahlstrom, stickhandled across the high slot and took a wrister that was redirected off Cotton’s stick past Swayman.
The Black Bears turned the tables on BC in the second period, outshooting the Eagles 23-8, although Swayman was called upon to make three rapid-fire saves on Chris Grando’s breakaway, Logan Hutsko’s rebound and Michael Karow’s follow-up as he blasted a one-timer after skating in from the point.
Swayman lost his goal stick after making the save off Hutsko.
“I went out to challenge [Karow] and got my elbow on it,” Swayman said.
“It’s nice when your best player is your goaltender,” Fossier said. “He absolutely was tonight. He was the star of the weekend for us.”
“He has kept us in a lot of games, sometimes when we don’t deserve to be,” Robbins said. “You could say the same about Woll in the second period. It was a goalie battle tonight.”
Woll came up with 22 saves in the second period including seven Grade-A’s.
But Robbins scored his seventh goal of the season when Jakub Sirota took a nifty backhand pass from Brady Keeper at the midpoint and took a wrister that deflected off Robbins past Woll.
“I was driving the net looking for a rebound. Tim [Doherty] took his [Woll’s] eyes away and [Jacob] Schmidt-Svejstrup was also out front. It hit off my skate and went in,” Robbins said. “You get rewarded for going to the net.”
Both teams had good chances in the evenly-played third period, but Woll and Swayman came up with a number of quality saves to send the game to overtime.
“It was a great character win,” UMaine coach Red Gendron said. “We didn’t start off well but then we woke up after the first period and tilted the ice big time in the second. We battled, battled and battled. That’s a signature of this team.”
“They were all over us in the first period,” Robbins said. “They outworked us. But we refocused between the first and the second periods. We had to follow the process and bring our compete level up.”
“BC definitely came out ready to play, but we weathered the storm and I really liked our response [in the second period],” Swayman said. “Whatever it takes to get back into the game is what we’re going to do.”
“It was a good game,” BC coach Jerry York said. “The goaltending was strong on both sides. We had some fabulous chances and just couldn’t bury the puck. Scoring goals has been a challenge for us. Swayman played very well and Joe played very well for us.”
York said after a strong first period by his team, UMaine “had a push in the second period and the third period was up for grabs.”
UMaine will visit league leader University of Massachusetts for a game on Saturday night, while Boston College plays a home-and-home series with neighbor Northeastern University on Friday and Saturday nights.
On Friday night, Fossier had a goal and an assist, Tralmaks got what proved to be the game-winner in the second period and Swayman made 31 saves as UMaine triumphed.
Aapeli Rasanen scored an extra attacker-power play with with 1:33 left but the Black Bears hung on. Woll had 22 stops.