ORONO, Maine — Maine defenseman Peter Metcalf scored with 1:33 remaining in overtime to give the Black Bears 3-2 victory over New Hampshire at Alfond Arena on Sunday afternoon.
“I shot it, and it came right back to me,” said Metcalf of the winning goal. “[Kevin] Clausen chipped it, but there was a lot of traffic and the guy in front of me laid his stick down, so I went high.”
Metcalf’s wrist shot beat Wildcat goaltender Ty Conklin (32 saves) below the glove to the short side.
“There were a lot of bodies [in front],” said Conklin.
With the victory, Maine moves into fifth place in Hockey East, improving its record to 11-9-6 (6-6-4 Hockey East). UNH drops to 16-8-6 (7-6-5 HEA).
The game went into overtime courtesy of Black Bear forward Chris Heisten. Heisten’s second goal of the night and fourth of the season at the 10:33 mark of the third period tied the score at two.
“That play was all [Lucas] Lawson,” said Heisten. “He left me a little drop in perfect position. I just went high with a wrist shot.”
“I thought we played a relentless game,” said Maine head coach Shawn Walsh. “We kept coming and in the second and third period, we really played well.”
New Hampshire head coach Dick Umile agreed.
“You’ve got to give Maine credit,” Umile said. “We played well, they just kept after us the whole night.”
Coming into the contest, the Black Bears were 0-7-1 when trailing after two periods and had not won an overtime contest all year.
Despite dominating the second period Maine went into the break trailing, 2-1.
Darren Haydar put the visitors on top at 5:48 of the first period. The UNH junior camped on the left side of the Maine net, took a feed from Colin Hemingway from behind the net and beat Matt Yeats (19 saves) through the pads.
“He had a few whacks at it,” said Yeats. “He just kept shooting and he finally found the five-hole.”
The second period began with promise for Maine, as Heisten knotted the score, 1-1, just three minutes in, following up a Brendan Donovan attempt in front. Heisten took a Niko Dimitrakos feed in the left circle and flipped a perfect pass to the far side of the net to a waiting Donovan.
“I just followed the pass,” said Heisten. “The puck was just sitting there and I flipped it high.”
Heisten’s flip in a maze of players found its way over Conklin’s blocker to tie the score.
But with just over two minutes remaining in the period, Hemingway made an outstanding individual play to give UNH its second lead of the night. Hemingway took a tip pass from Abbott, skated out of the corner, deked Maine defenseman Francis Nault, and beat Yeats high to the glove side.
“Metcalf flipped it around the boards,” said Hemingway. “Josh Prudden and Jim Abbott did a good job keeping people occupied.”
“We were a little disappointed with the way the second period turned out,” said Walsh. “They only had one legitimate opportunity to score, and Hemingway made a great play.”
The Black Bears pointed to a raucous sellout crowd as fuel for their third period rally.
“The crowd was really into it,” said Metcalf. “They got us going.”
Sophomore Martin Kariya agreed.
“We just played badly last weekend at BC,” said Kariya about a sweep that included a 7-2 loss. “They knew that, but they were loyal and helped us win.”
“This win is huge for us,” said Dimitrakos. “Coming down to the last eight games and we can feed off this during the final stretch.”
The loss was especially frustrating for the Wildcats, who are winless in their last five games (0-4-1).
“We’re playing pretty well,” said Conklin. “Things just aren’t falling our way.”