Chippy play reigned as the Maine Black Bears and Boston College Eagles skated to a 3-3 tie at Alfond Arena. The teams combined to total 61 penalty minutes for the game, 41 of which came in the second period alone.
Tony Voce, coming back from six stitches over his right eye, scored his second goal of the night to tie the game with only 2:48 left in the third period, stealing a point for the Eagles.
“We’ll take the tie at this place,” Voce said.
“That’s a good point for us to get,” Boston College coach Jerry York said. He went on to use a golf analogy in describing the tie.
“There are good pars, and that’s a good par for us. We got up and down from the sand trap.”
The game-tying goal came off of some sloppy play by Maine’s defense in its own zone. A poor clearing attempt let John Adams keep the puck in the zone, and he got it to Ryan Shannon near the left circle along the boards. Both defenseman committed to him, allowing Voce to get open in the slot. Shannon feathered the puck to him, and he beat goalie Matt Yeats with a forehander through his wickets.
The play of BC netminder Tim Kelleher down the stretch and in overtime allowed the Eagles to come out with the tie. After giving up three goals on 13 shots in the first two periods, Kelleher made 13 saves without surrendering a goal in the third and overtime, including two sprawling saves, where he stuck his glove in the air while stacking the pads down the stretch.
“Those games are a struggle to get into,” Kelleher said. “I knew that I had to have a big [third] period. Coach always said that, up here, there is always a storm that you have to weather. They hadn’t had one yet, and I knew it was coming in the third, so I was pretty well prepared.”
“[Kelleher] played exceptionally well,” said Maine interim head coach Tim Whitehead. “He clearly kept them in striking distance, and the result was that they tied the score.”
“Kelleher played unbelievable,” Voce said. “[Maine] had a couple good chances [in the third period] and he stopped them. That’s why we got the tie.”
The game started innocently enough. Referee Jeff Bunyon only whistled four penalties in the first period, and Maine’s Robert Liscak scored the only goal of the period, his seventh on the year.
Gray Shaneberger dug the puck off the boards, near the BC blue line. Todd Jackson streaked in from behind the play to pick up the puck and break down the left wing. Both BC defenders committed to him, leaving Liscak wide-open. Jackson beat both defensemen, and then deked, making Kelleher commit. He then backhanded the puck to Liscak, who redirected it in at 11:38, putting Maine up 1-0.
The start of the second saw the game get chippy. Preston Ryan was called for holding only 1:43 into the period, but a Dave Spina hooking call evened things up only 21 seconds later. As the Ryan penalty expired, Shannon made a great individual effort to tie the score.
He got the puck from Ryan Murphy at the faceoff circle, sending him in alone on Yeats. He pulled the puck to his backhand, moved it around Yeats, and then stuffed inside the post at 3:43.
Voce put BC up only 14 seconds later with a shorthanded goal. A Ben Eaves pass sent him in alone on Yeats.
“He got it and I just went to the net,” Voce said. “I went one way, Yeats went the other.”
Voce beat him with a backhander through the five-hole to give BC its first lead of the weekend.
That was when the game got ugly.
Immediately after scoring the goal, Ryan drilled Voce into the boards, opening the cut over his eye that required stitches. A shoving match ensued, resulting in a 5-minute major for instigating to Ryan, as well as hitting after the whistle minors to two players from each team.
Rough play continued throughout the period. Maine was able to use that to its advantage, scoring twice on the power play.
Colin Shields netted his 16th of the season on a slapshot from the top of the circle that Kelleher got a piece of. It trickled by him at 12:29, tying things at two.
Michael Schutte put Maine on top again at 16:12. Martin Kariya moved the puck to the front of the net from behind.
“Marty fed it to me in the circle,” Schutte said. “I took a quick shot, but the goalie saved that one. There was a rebound, a got tripped up and I was on my knees, but I chipped over the goalie.”
BC killed off three penalties in the third period, which were crucial to the tie.
Schutte feels that Maine beat itself.
“We wanted four [points] this weekend. We took too many penalties. That’s not Maine hockey. We need to look at ourselves in the mirror and fix that problem.”
Whitehead still kept things in perspective.
“It was a frustrating tie, but we did get three out of four points against a good team. We wanted the four points, but we took too many penalties. They gave us an opportunity to steal two more points, and we gave it right back to them.”
The two teams are now in a third-place tie in Hockey East with idle Boston University. Both teams will not play again until after Christmas. Maine (8-5-3, 4-2-1 HEA) will next play Ohio State in the first round of the Florida Everblades College Classic in Estero, Fla. on Dec. 29. BC (8-6-2, 4-4-1 HEA) will take on the Miami RedHawks in Minnesota-Duluth’s Silverado Shootout on Dec. 28.