ORONO, Maine — In front of a packed Alfond Arena in Orono, Maine, the University of Maine Black Bears achieved the weekend sweep of the Northeastern University Huskies.
One night after a come from behind 4-2 victory over the Huskies, the Black Bears erased a one-goal deficit twice, defeating the Huskies 4-2.
The Black Bears improve their record to 6-1-3, while Northeastern falls to 1-7-2.
For the second straight night, the Black Bears controlled the majority of the scoring chances, outshooting the Huskies 40-19.
“We did a good job limiting their shots,” freshman goalie Dan Sullivan said. “The shots were 2-1 us, so it makes an easy night for me.”
Sullivan won the decision, going undefeated in his last five starts.
The Black Bears got the first power play of the game three minutes into the first period when Northeastern center Garrett Vermeersch was called for hooking. The Black Bears had ample opportunity on the man advantage, but goalie Chris Rawlings and the Huskies’ defense denied all chances.
The Huskies took their turn with shots in front of the Black Bears net, but the quick onslaught was taken care of by Sullivan.
With a little over seven minutes gone by in the period, the Huskies found their way to the scoreboard first, as Huskies’ captain, forward Tyler McNeely, scored his third goal of the season, off a pass from linemate Wade MacLeod. It was the second straight night that the Huskies scored the first and only goal in the opening period.
Northeastern was able to fend off three power plays while capitalizing on their lone man-advantage.
Early in the second period, Northeastern center Mike McLaughlin was sent off with a crushing neutral ice hit to senior center Robby Dee. McLaughlin was issued a game misconduct and the Huskies had to deal with a five-minute contact to the head major.
Three minutes into the power play, junior forward Spencer Abbott tallied his team-leading eighth goal of the season. From right inside the blue line, Abbott slapped the puck past Rawlings to tie the score at one.
“The puck came up in my hand and I cut to the middle,” Abbott said. “Robby [Dee] had a great screen in front of the net and I just shot it through the screen and got lucky.”
Each team alternated power plays, with neither able to capitalize on the man advantage.
With two minutes remaining, junior forward Brian Flynn came within inches of giving the Black Bears the lead, as his one-timer deflected off the post. On the ensuing attack, the Huskies took the lead back, as MacLeod grabbed a goal to go along with his assist, giving the Huskies the 2-1 lead right before the final intermission.
The third period was all Maine, as they quickly erased the one-goal deficit. With four skaters for each team, sophomore forward Joey Diamond tied it up with less than five minutes played in the final period.
“I wound up with the puck behind the net, and just took it right to the net and shoved it in,” Diamond said.
“I think Joey’s [Diamond] style of play really gets the team going,” junior defender Ryan Hegarty said. “The way he gets behind the team’s defense and the way he wears them down, he gives us a lot of momentum and energy.”
Just over two minutes later, the Black Bears continued their offensive onslaught and took their first lead of the night when junior defender Ryan Hegarty connected on his first goal of the season.
When asked if it was the biggest goal he’s scored in a while, Hegarty said with a smirk, “It’s the only goal I’ve scored in a while.”
Midway through the third period, the Black Bears succeeded on a vital penalty kill, stifling any chances the Huskies attempted.
With just under eight minutes remaining in the game, the Black Bears sealed it up, scoring their fourth goal of the game and third in the final period. Sophomore center Klas Leidermark found the net, giving him his first goal of the season as well.
“We came out a little lazy for some reason,” Abbott said. “We had a game-plan to get the puck deep and do our thing down low. Not many teams can handle us down low and we did that well in the second and even better in the third.
The Black Bears hit the ice again next week in Boston, when they take on Boston College in a two-game series.
The Huskies hit the ice next weekend in a home-and-home against Providence College.