ORONO, Maine — In two hours, Maine’s playoff fate went out of its own hands and into Providence’s.
Despite scoring the game’s last two goals, Maine (17-8-6, 9-8-4 Hockey East) was defeated 3-2 by Boston College (19-10-4, 16-4-1) Sunday afternoon in its regular season finale at the Alfond Arena.
“There is enough pressure on those players without telling them they have to win, they know that,” said Maine coach Guy Perron. “We talked about it during the second and third period and said that we should go out there and try to win it.”
The loss meant Maine had to sweat out the Providence-UConn result over the next couple hours. The Friars’ 5-2 come-from-behind win put Maine in a semifinal pairing with No. 1 New Hampshire. Had UConn won, Maine’s season would have ended today.
BC jumped out to a 3-0 lead six minutes into the second period, and Maine did not get going until a power play goal 10 minutes later. On the score, a centering pass from senior Cheryl White found the stick of Jenna Cowan for a one-timer. Then with 12:20 left to play, a blast from Julie Poulin was redirected by Patricia Gagnon to cut the deficit to 3-2.
“We just have to wait for Connecticut and Providence and this might the first time I might be saying ‘Go Providence,’” Gagnon said after the game. “I want to be in the playoffs and in hockey with something like that you never know, it’s the beauty of the game.”
For the rest of the period, Maine frantically placed shots on net and attempted to orchestrate opportunities. With 2:35 left in the period, Perron pulled goalie Genevieve Turgeon to give Maine the extra attacker advantage.
Maine’s chances of tying the game increased with a late power play. With the six-on-four advantage, the Black Bears worked the puck around but could not convert past BC goalie Alison Quandt.
“We still took a bunch of penalties but we found a way to still score goals,” Quandt said. “We killed some penalties which was big for us because when we play 5-on-5, we are hard to play against.”
The Eagles took the pressure off Quandt when top scorer Deb Spillane found the net just 2:38 into the game.
Similar to the first period goal, BC did not waste any time getting on the board, scoring on a power play goal within the first three minutes of play to take a 2-0 lead. The goal came when Erin Blood was a part of a three-man rush that capitalized on a short-handed chance.
“Credit to our kids they were ready to play from the get-go especially after what happened yesterday,” said BC coach Tom Mutch. “We started off 1-0 and once we built our lead we just continued to try and score goals.
“I think all around our kids played hard, just like Guy’s did.”
Just over three minutes later, BC extended its lead on another power play chance. The Eagles moved the puck around until Shannon Webster beat Turgeon for the 3-0 lead.
Before the game, three Maine seniors along with BC’s four seniors were honored.
“We did not get the result we wanted and its hard having your fate in someone else’s hands, but you have to hope for the best,” said White, one of Maine’s seniors. “If things take care of themselves, hopefully we get what we deserve.”