BURLINGTON, Vt. — The Maine Black Bears held strong through three periods Friday night, defeating the Vermont Catamounts, 6-3, in a Hockey East tilt at Gutterson Fieldhouse.
Sophomore Gustav Nyquist, sophomore Brian Flynn, junior captain Tanner House,
freshman Kyle Beattie, junior assistant captain Jeff Dimmen, and freshman Klas Leidermark scored for Maine while junior Wahsontiio Stacey, junior Justin Milo, and freshman Sebastian Stalberg tallied for Vermont.
We got beat by a much better hockey team tonight, theres no question about it, Vermont head coach Kevin Sneddon said.
Maine took the lead in the first period and never gave it back. After junior co-captain Kevan Miller turned over the puck in the defensive zone, Nyquist picked up the puck, got it into the slot and fired it past Madore at 6:22.
The Catamounts tried to avenge the goal quickly when they went on the power play at 8:06 after the Black Bears picked up a delay of game penalty. Vermont players pressured Darling and crowded around the net, getting the puck close to the goal line but Darling stopped the puck before it crossed over.
Unlike the Catamounts, Maine was able to take advantage of their own power play opportunity soon after when Vermont sophomore Drew MacKenzie went to the box for tripping. Freshman Adam Shemansky fed the puck to Flynn in front of the net and Flynn shot a one-timer past Madore on the blocker side, giving Maine the 2-0 lead at 13:38.
It looked like the period was over with only 5.1 seconds left to go, but the Black Bears were not quite finished. House scored Maines second power-play goal, getting the puck around Madore from beside the crease.
Staceys goal got the Catamounts on the board at 4:29 in the second period, while on the power play. Milo slid the puck to Stacey, who was waiting beside the net and Stacey shot the puck past Darling on the blocker side.
Maine did not let the Vermont goal rattle them though, increasing their lead at 15:46 when Beattie picked up the puck deep in the Vermont end and slid it past Madore.
Maine scored again to wrap up the period at 18:57 when Dimmen found the back of the net.
The second period was marked by penalties, largely from the Black Bears who went to the box eight times in the period. The Catamounts had their share as well though, serving four penalties.
With 2:22 left to go in the second, there was a combined five players in the two penalty boxes. Two were from Vermont and three from Maine. The number increased to six when Vermont junior Kyle Medvec joined for contact to the head-elbowing at 18:18.
I liked how our guys handled all the different situations that came of tonight, I thought that was a positive force, Maine head coach Tim Whitehead said.
Sometimes that happens, the game just tends to drift one way or another, in this case there were quite a few penalties so thats the way it was.
Vermont started to surge back into the game in the beginning of the third period, scoring two goals within a few minutes of each other.
Milo scored first at 1:52, shooting the puck from the slot past Darling as Darling dove to the ice.
Stalberg scored next on the power play as Maine served yet another penalty. He collected the puck between the two circles and fired it past Darling at 7:37.
That was a big goal there for them, put them right in striking distance. They had all the momentum going, Whitehead said. Thought about a timeout but we decided not to, wanted to recapture some momentum just one shift at a time, and we did that. Then we decided lets hold off on the timeout so I was proud of how the guys refocused after that goal.
Maine refocused well, cutting the comeback short for Vermont. The Black Bears would not relinquish another goal in the game. Instead, they would add another power-play goal as the period was winding down at 17:36. Avoiding the Vermont defense, Leidermark got the puck in the offensive zone and scored the final goal of the contest from in front of the net.
As in all three periods of the game, the Black Bears did not give up until the end, scoring in the final seconds of the first, and the final few minutes of the second and third.
The teams will meet again at Gutterson tomorrow night, giving the Catamounts another chance to defeat the Black Bears this season.
Any time you get the first win of a weekend thats big, especially on the road, Whitehead said. But tomorrow nights going to be even tougher.