Maine defeated Vermont 3-2 in overtime in Hockey East action at a sold-out Gutterson Fieldhouse.
Junior Abbott Spencer scored the game-winning goal for Maine while seniors Tanner House and Robby Dee also recorded goals for the Black Bears.
Seniors Wahsontiio Stacey and Jack Downing scored the two goals for Vermont.
“I think we competed well tonight,” Maine coach Tim Whitehead said. “It was a real good hockey game.”
“I thought it was a good college hockey game again,” Vermont coach Kevin Sneddon said. “I mean obviously we’re frustrated; we’ve played in a lot of overtimes without coming away with any feel of victory. I feel bad for our guys, for our staff, but again we’re built for the marathon, not for the sprint, a lot of lessons to be learned from these tough moments but the compete level was great, the physicality was great.”
Maine outshot Vermont 15-8 in the opening period and had some quality chances to score.
One opportunity came early in the period when sophomore Kyle Beattie got close to the Vermont net and took a shot from the right circle. Junior goaltender Rob Madore made the stop though, preserving the scoreless tie.
Chances for the Black Bears continued later in the period when junior Will O’Neill made a hard shot from the slot. Madore made the initial save and then made another save just seconds later when Dee tried to knock in the rebound.
When Vermont senior captain Kevan Miller was called for a roughing penalty at 5:12, the Black Bears took advantage and successfully got the puck past Madore for the game’s first goal. House received a pass from junior Gustav Nyquist near the crease and sent the puck over the shoulder of Madore and into the net at 6:26.
Senior Dan Lawson tried to even the score for the Catamounts following a Maine timeout later in the period. Lawson shot a hard wrister, but freshman goalie Dan Sullivan made the stop.
Lawson’s teammate, Stacey, did tie the game at 15:46 though on a power play. Madore was pulled in favor of extra offensive support when Maine sophomore Mark Nemec was whistled for a holding penalty at 14:40. Stacey came on the ice in place of Madore and sent a rebound into the net.
Vermont picked up a late tripping penalty at 19:55. The Black Bears grabbed the chance to end the period strong and Dee sent a wrist shot into the Vermont net, putting Maine up 2-1 as the clock ran out on the second period.
Maine continued to decisively outshoot Vermont in the second period, 11-5.
“We lost momentum there a little bit in the second period, got a little bit sloppy,” Sneddon said. “I thought our guys did a nice job in the third period of you know, really coming out and playing hard.”
Vermont had a five-on-three opportunity at 7:17 in the third when Maine sophomore Joey Diamond went to the box for high sticking and junior Ryan Hegarty joined him at the same time for tripping. Downing was able to capitalize at 8:37 when he tipped in a shot that junior Drew MacKenzie took from the point, scoring the power-play goal.
The third period came to a close in a 2-2 tie and the game continued into overtime.
The Black Bears had the last word of the game at 2:16 when Abbott picked up a pass from senior Josh Van Dyk and carried the puck down the ice, where he backhanded it into the net, ending the overtime and cementing the 3-2 Maine victory.
“He [Abbott] really like willed himself through there,” Whitehead said. “You know, at the end, I was happy for him. He’s just such a great player for us; it was a very impressive play by Abbott.”