The University of Maine men’s hockey team hadn’t played since Jan. 23 due to COVID-19 issues, but gave an impressive account of itself Friday night against top-ranked Boston College.
Alex Newhook scored a power-play goal with 9:55 remaining to snap a tie and helped the Eagles earn a 4-2 Hockey East triumph at Conte Forum in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts.
BC (14-3-1) snapped a five-game losing streak at the hands of the Black Bears, who fell to 2-8-1.
Hockey East teams are playing strictly league games this season.
The teams play again at 5 p.m. Saturday.
“The kids played their tails off,” UMaine head coach Red Gendron said. “We gave ourselves a real good chance to win after scoring on the power play midway through the third period. But they recaptured the lead with a power-play goal.”
UMaine was without two of its leading scorers in Eduards Tralmaks and Jacob Schmidt-Svejstrup, each of whom has nine points to share the scoring lead with Adam Dawe. Gendron would not reveal why they are sidelined, but said neither would play on Saturday.
UMaine had tied the game 2-2 at the 8:21 mark of the third period on Brad Morrissey’s 5-on-3 power-play goal.
Dawe carried the puck from left to right across the high slot and passed it back to Morrissey in the left circle. Morrissey took a stride and his wrist shot snuck between Knight’s pads for his third goal of the season.
However, BC responded 94 seconds later, only six seconds after UMaine’s Donavan Houle was assessed a hooking penalty. Newhook, a first-round draft pick of the Colorado Avalanche, was set up nicely off a faceoff.
Jack St. Ivany passed the puck from the point to the left circle where Marc McLaughlin one-touched it over to Newhook. He took a stride and ripped a slap shot past UMaine goalie Matt Thiessen, off the far post and into the net.
“That was pretty difficult but I was proud of the kids and the way they competed,” Gendron said.
The Black Bears nearly tied it later during a wild scramble as the puck rolled down the back of goalie Spencer Knight’s left pad, but BC’s Harrison Roy and Marshall Warren were able to tuck it under his body.
BC’s Matt Boldy added an empty-net power-play goal with 58 seconds left.
Boldy opened the scoring in the second period, finishing off a nifty move from his rush down the left wing. He did a 360-degree spin and fired a backhander that hit a UMaine defenseman’s leg and sailed over Thiessen’s glove. It was his seventh goal of the season and the seventh shorthanded tally of the season for BC, which leads the nation.
Boldy’s father, Todd, played one year of football at UMaine before transferring to American International College.
Tristan Poissant tied it for UMaine with his second goal of the season. J.D. Greenway stole the puck in the neutral zone, burst into the zone and fed a pass to A.J. Drobot. He got off a shot that was kicked out by Knight, but Poissant stuffed home a backhander.
McLaughlin broke the tie off a turnover by Simon Butala, who didn’t get enough zip on a pass behind the UMaine net. It was stolen by Casey Carreau, whose wraparound shot was saved by Thiessen. But the puck popped in the air and fell at the feet of McLaughlin, who backhanded it into the net for his ninth of the year.
Knight finished with 24 saves while Thiessen stopped 28 shots.
“Matt played extremely well,” Gendron said.