CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – The University of Maine men’s hockey team couldn’t overcome a two-goal deficit in the final game of the regular season on Saturday night, falling to No. 20/RV Boston College, 2-1, at the Conte Forum.
Maine finishes the regular season with an overall record of 16-14-4 and 10-11-3 in Hockey East play while the Eagles wrap up at 18-13-3 overall and 18-6-0 in league play. Maine will be the No. 6 seed in the conference tournament.
Maine will draw No. 11 New Hampshire (10-18-6, 5-13-5 HEA) in the opening round, best-of-three series on Friday, March 3. Maine and New Hampshire have never met in the opening round and Maine owns a 5-1-0 record over New Hampshire in four previous Hockey East Tournament series. The two have not met in the postseason since 2004. The Black Bears went 1-0-2 against the Wildcats in the regular season.
After over 11 minutes of scoreless hockey in which neither team created much offense, it would be the Eagles that struck first when David Cotton came around the back of the net to Jeremy Swayman‘s glove side and popped the puck up and over the pad.
While BC and Maine continued to go evenly through 5-on-5 play and with five minutes left in the first, the Eagles held a 9-4 edge in shots on goal thanks to two early penalties on the Black Bears. A nice look from Nolan Vesey streaking through the slot late in the period proved to be Maine’s best of the opening frame.
Swayman had two key saves at each post early in the second, shouldering a puck away on one and then using the left pad on the other. But BC capitalized on a power-play opportunity 4:52 into the middle frame to make it 2-0. Aapeli Rasanen chipped the puck to Christopher Brown in the slot for a funky lofted shot into the net’s left corner.
Midway through the second, Eduards Tralmaks turned on the jets and created a breakaway for himself, only to have his stick hooked before he could shoot to earn a penalty shot. However, Joseph Woll would turn away Tralmaks forehand deke with his left pad.
Two rushes from Tim Doherty created looks for Maine late in the second and while his centering pass was deflected wide and he was held up on another to earn a key power-play. With Brady Keepercarried the puck over the blue line and left a drop pass for Mitchell Fossier through his legs. Fossier threaded a pass to Rob Michel at the right dot and the defenseman fired it five-hole for his fifth of the year.
The Black Bears kept pushing for the equalizer throughout the third period, with the Maine defensemen doing well to generate shots from the point.
With Swayman pulled in the final minute, Maine had a 6-on-4 opportunity for 33.9 seconds but some clearances by BC iced it for the Eagles.
BC held the final edge in shots on goal at 30-25. Swayman finished with 28 saves to Woll’s 24.