ORONO, Maine — In a wild game that came down to the last minute, Maine topped St. Lawrence 4-3 to gain a split for the weekend with the feisty Saints.
Tied at 3 late, the game looked to be headed to overtime, but Maine had other plans. With 38 seconds left, Maine forward Derek Damon won a draw in the St. Lawrence zone to Greg Moore. Moore one-timed the shot into the top corner, giving Maine a 4-3 win.
“I work on shots like that in the slot,” said Moore. “When you get in situations like that you aren’t nervous and feel comfortable.”
“I’m really pleased with the heart we showed,” said Maine coach Tim Whitehead, “we have a lot of stuff that we need to work on but that was a big win for us.”
Maine came out flying in Game 2 of the series, and the pressure soon caused Drew Bagnall to take a penalty that led to Maine’s first goal, midway through the first period on a power-play goal by Moore.
Tom Zabkowicz held the zone on an attempted clear and got the puck to John Jankus in the corner. Jankus played a pass to Moore, who streaked to the net from the boards and let a shot go that beat St. Lawrence goalie Mike McKenna on the blocker side for a 1-0 lead.
With the momentum in Maine’s favor, St. Lawrence responded with a goal of its own. Defensemen Jim Hakewell drew a penalty that would never be served, holding the puck for to John Zeiler along the boards. With the extra attacker on the ice, Zeiler got the puck to the high slot to a wide-open T.J. Trevelyan, who turned and fired a shot that bounced through a crowd in front before finding the back of the net.
Maine goaltender Jimmy Howard didn’t even see the puck until it was behind him and St. Lawrence tied things up at 1.
The first period was even, with both teams hurting themselves with penalties. Maine outshot St. Lawrence 7-6 in the period.
The second period was dominated by penalties. Early in the period St. Lawrence defenseman Paul Wallmann hit Maine forward Matt Greyeyes in the corner and received a five-minute major for hitting from behind, and a game misconduct to boot. St. Lawrence gained momentum for the time being but Maine would respond in a big way.
Midway through the second period, on a 4-on-4 Damon stole the puck behind the St. Lawrence net and played it to Billy Ryan. Ryan circled with the puck and found defensemen Brett Tyler breaking to the net. Tyler unleashed a powerful shot that hit the post and went in, giving Maine a 2-1 lead.
But as the 4-on-4 expired, Brent Shepheard — who was serving Maine’s infraction — broke out of the box. Maine defenseman Mike Lundin passed the puck around the boards to Moore, who fired a long pass to Shepheard cutting across the ice. Shepheard went in on a breakaway and fired past McKenna, giving Maine a 3-1 lead.
The period got rougher, and Maine took the hit from behind penalty this time. Shepheard buried a St. Lawrence forward along the far boards and was given a five-minute major for fighting and a game misconduct.
He was then hit by Hakewell, who earned a two-minute penalty as well. A minute later Maine defenseman Steve Mullin took another penalty, giving St. Lawrence a 5-on-3 advantage to end the period that the Saints could not convert. For the second period in a row Maine outshot St. Lawrence 7-6.
St. Lawrence dominated a majority of the third, beginning after Kyle Rank won a draw to Matt Macdonald. He fired a cannon of a shot past Howard to cut the lead to 3-2 at 2:55.
Just a few minutes later Bagnall took a tripping penalty for St. Lawrence, but on the penalty kill, Zieler stole the puck from the Maine defense and went in 2-on-2. On a give-and-go Zieler received the pass and tipped the shot by Howard for a shorthanded goal, tying the game at 3.
“Shorthanded goals are big; it’s just a back breaker,” said Whitehead. “That was a big goal for them.”
St. Lawrence, which couldn’t come up with the tying tally, outshot Maine 27-20 in the losing cause.
“I was very pleased, it was a great series,” said St. Lawrence coach Joe Marsh, “our kids didn’t leave a thing in the locker room, and we came up a little short, but I have never felt better about a road trip in a long time.”
The win improves Maine to 4-3 on the season; St. Lawrence falls to 2-3-1.
Maine heads to Massachusetts to start the Hockey East conference schedule by facing Massachusetts and Merrimack next weekend. St. Lawrence finally heads home to a two-game set with the CCHA’s Miami.