ORONO, Maine — A roller-coaster third period could not settle Saturday’s weekend finale between Boston College and Maine at Alfond Arena, and neither could five minutes of overtime. The teams each took a point away from a 3-3 tie in front of 4,709.
B.C. came away with three points on the weekend after a 4-3 win Friday. They improved to 5-3-2 overall and 4-3-2 in Hockey East play. Maine stands at 4-7-1 overall and 3-4-1 in Hockey East.
Maine fell behind 3-2 early in the third period despite leading 2-0 for the first 38:30. Junior center Robby Dee’s power play goal sent the game to overtime. Dee buried a rebound through traffic in front of B.C. junior goaltender John Muse with 13:12 remaining in regulation.
“(Maine sophomore right wing Gustav Nyquist) had thrown it on net and I just happened to be right there and I smacked it in,” Dee said of his third goal of the season.
Dee had a golden opportunity moments earlier, but his shot from the left circle banged off the inside of the far post.
“They came back and stole the lead from us, and it’s easy to get down when that happens,” Maine junior captain Tanner House said. “We were able to bounce back, and that goal just lifted us.”
Maine was given power play with 2:09 remaining in the overtime, but could not capitalize.
The advantage was cut short when Maine sophomore defenseman Will O’Neill was called for interference with 20 seconds left in the period.
“One goal separates the two teams over six periods of hockey,” B.C. coach Jerry York emphasized. “We were very impressed with Maine’s team.”
The Eagles took their first lead of the game 4:32 into the third period when senior right wing Ben Smith’s wrist shot from the right faceoff dot sailed off a Maine defender’s stick into the top right corner of the goal, over the shoulder of Maine sophomore goalie Scott Darling.
“I was just trying to put it on net and got a lucky bounce,” Smith said.
Senior defenseman Carl Sneep tied the game 2:11 into the third period on a power play when he one-timed a shot from the center-point into the top shelf.
Dee’s goal was Maine’s only power-play conversion of the weekend in 15 opportunities between the two games. They went one-for-nine with the man advantage Saturday while B.C. went one-for-five.
“That was big for us,” Smith said of B.C’s penalty killing effort. “They pop one or two more in and this is a completely different weekend for us.”
Darling and Muse were each forced to make critical saves. Muse stopped 26 shots and Darling turned away 28.
Muse was tested early as Maine earned six minutes on the power play in the first period. The nation’s fifth-ranked power play unit could not capitalize, despite putting 10 shots on goal in the frame to B.C.’s four.
“Johnny stepped in well for us tonight and made some big saves,” Smith said.
B.C. sophomore right wing Cam Atkinson broke away short-handed less than four minutes into the game, but was stoned by Darling.
The Eagles narrowed the shot margin to 18-17 after 40-minutes, but sophomore left wing Barry Almeida’s chance to equalize on a wrister at an open goal from the right faceoff circle was gloved by a diving Darling.
“Darling made some great saves,” Smith said.
House scored his third goal of the season 7:20 into the second period to break the stalemate. Sophomore left wing Spencer Abbott found him streaking through the right faceoff circle from the left point and House flicked it in at the near post.
Nyquist gave the Black Bears a 2-0 advantage on a four-on-four situation when he elected to take the puck himself on the rush and beat Muse with a wrister from the left faceoff circle.
B.C. freshman center Pat Mullane’s second goal of the weekend and of his career cut the Maine lead to 2-1 with 1:30 remaining in the second period. Senior right wing Ben Smith forced a turnover in the Maine zone and found Mullane unattended at the far post on a two-on-one.
“That was definitely a turning point in the game,” Smith said.