ORONO, Maine — Friday night’s Hockey East game at Alfond Arena between Maine and Northeastern had just about everything. Fantastic goals, heavy hits, some controversy, and, to top things off, a 10-minute delay to clean up ammonia leaking from a broken pipe under the ice around the Northeastern net in the third period. After the Zamboni cleaned it, play was stopped three more times to squeegee the area.
“Bruce [Crowder] and I had a good laugh afterwards, because this game had a lot of stoppages and crazy calls,” Maine coach Tim Whitehead said.
But while hockey was played, the Maine Black Bears used a two-goal, two-assist performance by Michael Schutte to defeat the Northeastern Huskies 8-4.
“This game was really important for us,” Schutte said. “The guys worked really hard and executed the game plan.”
“It’s important to get Schutter playing well,” Whitehead said. “He was grittier on loose pucks and he moved his feet well. We need him healthy and playing at his best.”
Due to injury to Todd Jackson, Colin Shields moved up to play with Schutte and Martin Kariya, something Schutte thought was important,
“Those guys can only make you better,” he said. It showed early on.
Schutte scored the first goal of the game only 4:15 in. Defenseman Paul Lynch took a slap shot from the left point that was deflected to the front. Schutte was skating through the slot unattended and found the puck on his stick. He moved to his backhand and beat Mike Gilhooly easily to the glove side to make it 1-0 Maine.
Chris Lynch tied the game 11:21 when he poked in a loose rebound. Matt Yeats stopped Jim Fahey’s wraparound attempt, but was run into by a few players. As he tried to reach for the loose rebound, Lynch whacked at it and knocked it in.
Paul Lynch put the Black Bears back on top just under four minutes later on a soft goal. He dug out a Kariya pass along the boards and threw a high shot toward the net. Gilhooly leaped for it and it deflected off his left arm and into the goal at 15:12. It was Lynch’s first collegiate goal.
At the start of the second period, Northeastern coach Bruce Crowder lifted Gilhooly in favor of Jason Braun, the second consecutive start that Gilhooly has been pulled.
The move appeared to ignite the Huskies as they tied things at 4:10 of the second. Joe Mastronardi took a feed from Jaron Harriman on the doorstep and beat Yeats with a one-timer.
Maine quickly took the lead back as another freshman scored his first career goal. Jon Jankus picked up a turnover just beyond the Northeastern blue line. He skated to the top of the right faceoff circle and ripped a slapper that beat Braun high to the glove side at 5:16.
The tying goal came with some controversy. Early in a Northeastern power play, Kariya was forechecking Mastronardi in front of the net when Braun took down Kariya. Referee Jim Fitzgerald let the play go on, allowing Mastronardi to hit Harriman with a break-out pass, sending him in alone on Yeats. He got his right pad on it, but the forehander still got through at 9:15, sending the Maine fans and players into a tirade.
The Black Bears were promptly given a two-man advantage less than two minutes later, but could not score. After the kill, the Huskies took their first lead of the game, and it looked like momentum had swung their way.
Tim Judy got a slapshot on Yeats that he couldn’t hang onto. Ryan Dudgeon collected the rebound, but his shot deflected off Yeats over to a waiting Eric Ortlip, who buried the puck in the open net at 14:34, giving Northeastern the 4-3 lead.
Maine’s tying goal came on some controversy as well. Bruan made a save on a Shields shot, but left a rebound to his left in the low slot. Schutte pounced on it as he was being held by a defenseman. His shot beat Braun and just snuck inside the far post as the net came off the mooring. The goal light came on and Fitzgerald emphatically ruled the play a goal, so things were tied at four with 4:11 left in the second.
A rare Fahey turnover only seconds later led to a breakaway for Maine and a chance to retake the lead.
“I poked it from Fahey, and my momentum carried me down to the goal,” said Robert Liscak, the recipient of the turnover. He faked to his backhand to bring Braun down and then pulled it back to his forehand to score the game-winner at 16:12.
“I kept my head up and read the goalie,” Liscak said. “I saw him going down across [the slot], so I knew that I had to stop and cut in.”
Maine scored another early in the third off a Northeastern miscue. A Lucas Lawson shot trickled past Braun, and as it was lying in the crease, Arik Engbrecht tried to clear the puck away, but instead, knocked into his own net 1:31 into the third, giving Maine a 6-4 lead.
At 4:07 of the period, the game was stopped because of the leaking ammonia. To avoid any advantage, Fitzgerald had the teams switch ends halfway through the period.
Late in the period, Maine killed off two penalties and a row to seal things. Yeats made some great stops, and his defense cleared his rebounds.
“I gave up a couple bad rebounds,” said Yeats, who bounced back from his nine-save effort against Sacred Heart on Sunday with 29 saves. “[The defense] was there boxing everyone out. They did a fantastic job tonight.”
Gray Shaneberger scored in an empty net at 18:49 to put the game away and then Niko Dimitrakos scored one for good measure at 19:05 to give Maine the 8-4 victory.
Yeats was happy to recover from his troubled play. “Tonight’s game was a huge confidence booster for me. I’ve had a tough start, but I had fun out there tonight. I got into the flow quickly. Everyone played really well.”
Whitehead was also pleased with the play of Yeats. “He was solid. He looked pretty composed in the net.”
Crowder, on the other hand, felt his team needs to get better goaltending.
“We let in some goals that we shouldn’t have,” Crowder said. “We’ve got three goalies in the locker room and I told them that we need to have better goaltending. It’s just an area that we need to get better in. It’s been our Achilles heel so far.”
Northeastern (3-6-2, 2-4-1 Hockey East) is off until next Friday, when it hosts Clarkson at Matthews Arena. Maine (4-4-2, 2-1-0) will play Quinnipiac in nonconference action at Alfond Arena on Sunday afternoon at 4 p.m.