ORONO, Maine — The 4,219 fans that made their way to the Alfond Arena for Wednesday’s game between Maine and Brown got their money’s worth. They saw an exciting 3-2 come-from-behind victory by the Black Bears.
Colin Shields ended the game 3:28 into overtime with a rare power-play goal in the extra frame, set up when Jason Wilson was called for hooking at 2:15. Wilson took down Maine defenseman Francis Nault in the slot in front of Maine netminder Matt Yeats. The hook caused a breakaway, forcing referee Jeff Bunyon to make the call.
Maine sustained pressure in the offensive zone during the power play. Peter Metcalf finally took a shot from the faceoff circle that beat Brown goalie Yann Danis, hit the cross bar an deflected out.
That’s when it went to Shields.
“At first, I thought the puck was in,” Shields said. “I wasn’t going to hit it, but then I figured I better make sure.”
He said that he realized the puck hadn’t gone in because of the sound it made.
“It made a different sound. The cross bar makes a different noise than the back bar.”
The puck bounced in the crease after hitting the cross bar. Shields was crashing the net when he found the puck and batted it in for his eleventh of the season.
“It’s unfortunate that the game ended on a power play in overtime,” said Brown coach Roger Grillo, “but the referee has to call what he sees, and we had a chance to kill it off, but we didn’t.”
Maine also had a power play at the end of regulation.
“I was a little upset with our guys,” said Grillo of the late penalties. “But we still had our chances.”
Brown killed the penalty off, mainly because of the fantastic play by Danis in net. He made two glove saves with less than a minute left. The first was on Shields from the slot. The second was about 15 seconds later on a Niko Dimitrakos shot from the point through traffic.
“He’s a good goaltender,” Grillo said, who played Danis for the first time all season in the game. “I was pleased what we he did tonight. He definitely solidified himself as a guy who will see some more playing time.”
Brown played a neutral zone trap all night that stifled the Black Bears attack. They plugged up passing lanes and kept Maine from completing the long breakout passes they are accustomed to.
Brown went on top early because of a good play off of the trap in the neutral zone. Wilson lifted the puck over Maine starter Mike Morrison, just under the cross bar, 2:49 into the game.
Maine tied things at 7:08 of the first off of a faceoff. Tom Reimann won the offensive zone draw back to Dimitrakos, who skated around a defenseman and let a slapper go from between the circles. The puck beat Danis between his body and right arm.
Chris Legg put Brown back in front 2:41 of the second. He took a Jarrett Robertson feed in the middle of the zone. Nault wrapped him up, but he still was able to move in on Morrison and put a shot on that beat the goalie low, through his pads.
It took until the 9:15 mark of the third period for Maine to tie things again. Gray Shaneberger was brought the puck to right corner, where he was met by two Brown defenders. Robert Liscak joined the battle, and got the puck loose. Shaneberger grabbed the puck behind the net.
“I just came around the net and jammed it in,” Shaneberger said. His wraparound went off Danis’ stick and went over him for the goal. “It was great feeling.”
Danis made 29 saves in the loss for Brown. Morrison made nine saves in the first 30:19 of the game. Yeats stopped 12 in the last 33:09.
Maine coach Tim Whitehead was pleased with the play of both goaltenders, who both played by design.
“Both goaltenders were outstanding,” Whitehead said. “Yeats was very focused off the bench, which is excellent. It allowed us to come back strong. I’m happy with both of them.
“It was a good, gutsy effort by our guys to come back. It was an ugly win, but we needed one of those.”
All of Maine’s win up to this point had been by lop-sided scores.
“Overall, I was pleased with our effort,” said Grillo. “We were able to do what we wanted to do against a really good club. It’s a sign that, for a team that struggled last year, we’re starting to turn around and play some good hockey.”