The University of Maine men’s hockey team picked up its first win of the season in a bizarre Saturday matinee against the University of Vermont at Gutterson Fieldhouse in Burlington, Vermont.
The Black Bears built a pair of three-goal leads and withstood a furious third-period rally to beat the Catamounts 4-3 and salvage a split of their Hockey East series.
UMaine (1-4-1), which had not led by more than one goal in a game this season, snapped a four-game losing streak. Vermont, which won Friday’s game 5-4, slipped to 1-5-2.
The Catamounts appeared to have tied the game during a wild flurry in the final seconds, but officials ruled the shot had crossed the goal line after time had expired.
Earlier in the period, another potential game-tying goal was wiped out. It was ruled a Catamounts player in the crease had impeded UMaine freshman goalie Victor Ostman as the shot went in.
“Every time we play, there have been some good things, but not enough of them piled up and not enough came at the right time so we didn’t get the results we wanted,” UMaine coach Red Gendron said. “Today, although it wasn’t pretty, we ended up getting the result and that’s important for our confidence.”
Ostman finished with 30 saves to post his first career victory.
UMaine went 2-for-3 on the power play and now leads the nation with a 32.1 percent success rate. The Black Bears used power-play goals by Eduards Tralmaks and Jacob Schmidt-Svejstrup, and a flukey goal by Adam Dawe, to build a 3-0 lead in the first period.
Tralmaks opened the scoring at the 7:22 mark by shoveling home a Dawe rebound and Schmidt-Svejstrup expanded the lead 9:35 later when he swept a short pass from Emil Westerlund behind Tyler Harmon.
Dawe made it 3-0 with 1:04 left in the period when his seeming harmless wrist shot from the right point eluded Harmon.
“We did a really good job coming out and setting the tone in the first period,” Gendron said. “That’s something we can build on going forward.”
Simon Boyko pulled Vermont within 3-1 with the only goal of the second period when he snapped a 20-foot wrist shot through the left arm of Ostman.
Ostman preserved the two-goal lead by making 14 second-period saves as UVM outshot UMaine 15-5.
Gendron said the sluggish second period could be attributed to losing faceoffs and not attacking the Catamounts and pressuring them into mistakes.
Gendron said his Swedish netminder played an important role in the win.
Ostman allowed four goals on 17 shots in his debut, a 9-5 loss at UMass Lowell in which he was pulled after 22 minutes, 48 seconds.
“We needed that kind of performance today. It was terrific,” Gendron said. “He showed the kind of poise we knew he had.”
UMaine defenseman J.D. Greenway expanded the lead with another fortuitous goal 2:21 into the third with a rush down the left wing. He took a wrist shot from a difficult angle that snuck through freshman Gabe Carriere.
However, UVM senior defenseman Christian Evers scored goals 1:28 apart midway through the period to bring the Catamounts within a goal.
Evers registered two goals and an assist in Friday’s game after coming into the series with 10 goals in 93 career games.
Evers cut the deficit to 4-2 with 10:03 left in the game on a screened slap shot from the midpoint. He scored again from the point with a wrist shot through a maze of players.
Senior Harmon, who picked up his first career win on Friday, made 10 saves before he was replaced by Carriere at the outset of the second period. Carriere wound up with 14 saves.