Sophomore center Ben Poisson scored two goals, the second of which snapped a 2-2 tie with 6:08 left in the game, to lift the University of Maine men’s hockey team to a 4-3 Hockey East victory over 16th-ranked Providence College on Friday evening.
The Black Bears ended a 10-year winless drought at Schneider Arena in Providence, Rhode Island.
Jacob Schmidt-Svejstrup added an empty-net goal for UMaine (2-4-1), which had lost its last 14 games in Providence.
The teams will play again at 4:40 p.m. Saturday.
“We blocked a lot of shots, won a bunch of battles and scored timely goals,” UMaine head coach Red Gendron said. “We got down 1-0 and 2-1 but as this team does, it just kept battling and found a way to win the hockey game.
“It was a nice, gritty road win,” he added.
Poisson gave UMaine its first lead of the game when Adam Dawe fed him the puck in the high slot and he beat Jaxson Stauber to the far side, past his glove.
Stauber is the son of 1988 Hobey Baker-winning goaltender Robb Stauber, who played at the University of Minnesota.
Schmidt-Svejstup extended the lead with 1:40 left and it proved to be important because Uula Ruikka countered with a goal for Providence with 20 seconds left in the contest.
Mike Callahan hit the post on a shot with two seconds remaining as the Black Bears hung on.
Freshman goaltender Victor Ostman made 37 saves in an outstanding performance for UMaine. Stauber wound up with 26 stops for the Friars (4-5-2).
Providence defenseman Max Crozier, a fourth-round draft pick of the defending Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lighting, scored the only goal of the first period.
The sophomore scored his second goal of the season at the 11:16 mark of the initial period. Freshman left wing Nick Poisson, brother of UMaine’s Ben Poisson, took a pass from Brett Berard in the low slot. He wheeled around and wristed the puck toward the net. It deflected across to the oncoming Crozier at the far post and he swept a backhander under the right pad of Ostman.
Ben Poisson equalized 4:43 into the second period during a wild scramble. The Black Bears swarmed the net and generated a number of chances before the puck squirted into the crease where Poisson spied it and tapped it home.
Eduards Tralmaks and Veli-Matti Tiuraniemi picked up assists.
“[Ben] Poisson is a perfect kind of player for a game like this against a hard-nosed team like the one we played tonight. His first goal is a gritty, bang-in-a-rebound goal those types of players get. His second one was a rocket that showcased his skill,” Gendron said.
However, UMaine’s goal seemed to jumpstart the Friars, who carried the play for an extended stretch.
Defenseman Mike Callahan restored the Providence lead with a strange goal 4:34 later. He located the puck along the left-wing boards near the extended goal line and shot the puck toward the net from a near impossible angle.
It somehow evaded Ostman. Max Tugnutt earned an assist.
Both teams had a number of glittering scoring chances over the final 10 minutes of the second period but Ostman and Stauber each came up with some terrific saves. The teams combined for 29 second-period shots.
UMaine sophomore Brady Gaudette tallied his first collegiate goal at the 9:52 mark of the third period to tie the game. John Mulera intercepted a Friar pass at the defensive blue line and broke down the ice with two teammates and a pair of Friars chasing him.
Mulera had the puck knocked off his stick by a defender and Nick Poisson tried to sweep it to the corner, but it wound up on the stick of Gaudette, who flipped it into the open net.
It was an evenly played first period with UMaine holding a 9-8 edge in shots on goal, but Providence generated a pair of 2-on-1s and hit the post once.
Ostman made a nice save on Parker Ford, who broke free down the right wing and took a wrist shot from the bottom of the right circle that Ostman kicked out.
UMaine’s power play, which went into the game ranked second in the country at 32.1 percent, created some good chances off its only power play of the period but couldn’t convert.
Gendron said Poisson’s performance came as no surprise to him.
“(Ben) Poisson is a perfect kind of player for a game like this against a hard-nosed team like the one we played tonight. His first goal is a gritty bang-in-a-rebound goal those types of players get. His second one was a rocket that showcased his skill,” Gendron said.
He said Ostman turned in a good performance.