Freshman center Ben Poisson scored his first collegiate goal and set up Jacob Schmidt-Svejustrup for what proved to be the game-winner with 10:05 to go in the third period as the University of Maine earned a hard-fought 4-2 Hockey East victory over Boston University Terriers at Alfond Arena Friday night.
Jeremy Swayman made 39 saves for the Black Bears, who improved to 5-2 overall and 2-1 in Hockey East.
BU fell to 2-2-2 and 1-1-1.
The teams will play again on Saturday night at 6.
Poisson’s goal point staked UMaine to a 1-0 lead early in the first period and senior left wing Sam Rennaker made it 2-0 later in the period before BU freshman left wing Jamie Armstrong scored midway through the second period.
It was also Armstrong’s first career goal and point.
BU had a 13-1 edge in shots on goal in the third period but Swayman kept them at bay until Poisson fought off a checker on a three-on-two rush and slid the puck across to the far post to Schmidt-Svejstrup, who lifted a 12-footer into the short side corner past BU goalie Sam Tucker.
“One of their defensemen took Ben and another took [Patrick Shea], who drove the net, so I was open. Ben made a great pass and I had an open net,” said Schmidt-Svejstrup, whose goal was his fifth in three games.
The Terriers made things interesting when Patrick Curry pounced on a loose puck in front and shovelled it into the net for his seventh goal of the season after BU coach Albie O’Connell pulled Tucker in favor of the extra attacker.
But Tim Doherty sewed up the win when he flipped the puck 160 feet into the empty net 33 seconds later.
Tucker made 31 saves for BU.
Poisson scored UMaine’s fifth power play goal in its last 11 chances spanning three-plus games by finishing off a perfect cross-ice pass from Jacob Schmidt-Svejstrup that left him facing a wide open net from the bottom half of the right faceoff circle.
Jakub Sirota also picked up an assist on the goal, which came 4:19 into the game.
Niagara University transfer Sam Rennaker made it 2-0 with 3:08 left in the period of a drop pass from Ryan Smith.
Rennaker took the pass in the left faceoff circle and beat Tucker from a tight angle into the far corner.
Tucker kept the Terriers within two goals with a couple of gems spanning the first and second period including one off an Eduards Tralmaks redirection off a Mitch Fossier wrister from the point.
Armstrong cut the lead in half with 9:06 remaining in the middle period.
A Patrick Shea turnover in the BU zone quickly turned into a transition two-on-one.
Armstrong skated down the left wing with the puck, maneuvered to the inner half of the left circle and beat Swayman with a rising wrist shot.
“We played really well,” said UMaine coach Red Gendron. “It was pretty even through two periods and then they came at us for a while in the third but we held the fort and then made it 3-1.
“It was a solid performance against a very good team,” added Gendron. “We had a good power play (1-for-5) and we were very good on the penalty kill (5-or-5). We got very good goaltending and we made plays when we had to.”
Poisson said he has been happy with the way he has played but admitted that it was nice to finally dent the score sheet.
“The coaches kept telling me to keep playing the right way [and the points would come],” said Poisson who called the win “awesome, especially in front of our fans.”
“[Poisson] is definitely a key player for us,” said Swayman. “I think he’s going to have a great year.”
Swayman turned in another outstanding performance as he finished with 20 Grade-A [high-percentage] saves among his 39.
“I felt good. My defenseman did a great job keeping shots to the outside and when they god inside, I did my job,” Swayman said.
BU coach O’Connell thought some of his players turned in stellar performances but he said “we missed some open nets and we had too many [players who underperformed].”
He felt his team was at its best when it kept things simple instead of trying to make fancy plays.
“Maine is a good team and you can’t do that up here against them,” O’Connell said.
He praised Tucker for his performance.
Tucker wound up with 19 Grade-A stops among his 31