PROVIDENCE, R.I. — After a 1-0 game last night between Providence and Maine, many people expected another hard-fought, close game tonight. Those wishes were answered, as Maine overcame two, one-goal deficits in the third period to force a 3-3 tie on Saturday.
“You’ve got to give them credit,” said Providence captain Devin Rask. “They never quit no matter how many goals they are down; it almost feels like we could be up 5-0 and Maine would come back on us ”
Lucas Lawson, last night’s hero, lifted Maine (17-9-6, 11-5-4 HEA) to the tie, notching an extra-attacker goal with a little over a minute left in the third period.
“If ever there was such a thing as a good tie, this would be it,” said Maine coach Tim Whitehead. “Providence played very well and our guys just keep battling.”
Devin Rask had appeared to end the game in favor of the Friars (13-15-5, 8-10-3), stuffing a rebound past Maine goaltender Mike Morrison with a minute and a half left to play, but Lawson and the Black Bears would have the last word.
Rask’s goal, his third of the evening, marked the second time in his brief career that he’s scored a hat trick against Maine.
“I’m not quite sure what it is about these guys, but my luck seems to come when we play against them,” said Rask. “Last night we had a lot of trouble converting our chances and tonight I had two floaters go in the net in the first 10 minutes. I guess I just got the bounces, but it doesn’t make this tie any less frustrating.”
Despite Rask’s effort, Providence skated to its second 3-3 tie in its last four games; both of the draws were a result of surrendering an extra-attacker goal late in the third period.
“We had a timeout to regroup a little bit and that helps,” said Whitehead. “It was a question of winning the faceoff and getting the puck on net. You get the puck on net and sometimes a little luck can help it in; that’s what happened for us tonight.”
A little luck was certainly needed to get any rubber past the goaltenders this weekend. Nolan Schaefer and Mike Morrison impressed once again in net. Schaefer made 44 saves while a much less tested Morrison made 23 stops in the tie. On the weekend, the pair combined to stop 94 percent (117 of 124) of shots faced.
Providence entered the third frame with a 2-0 lead, but the Maine power play was able even the field, scoring two goals on two attempts in the final 20 minutes. Francis Nault notched both those tallies for Maine on feeds from the ever-dangerous Niko Dimitrakos.
Maine will look to continue its hot streak against UMass-Amherst while Providence will look to secure important league points next weekend against BU.