ORONO, Maine — Maine forward Joey Diamond scored two goals in the third period and Black Bears goaltender stopped Providence College forward Noel Acciari’s last second shot in overtime to secure a 2-2 tie at the Alfond Arena on Friday night.
“It was a good comeback, good to fight back and tie it up,” said Maine coach Tim Whitehead. “We had some chances to win it, and so did they; it was a hard-fought point. We’re pleased with how hard the guys fought for each other.”
“I thought even when we scored the second goal we had settled down a little bit and had a couple good chances to extend the lead; we were rattled a lot the first period, this is a tough environment,” said Providence coach Nate Leaman. “We took two bad penalties by upperclassmen and we let them back in the game. It’s a process to learn how to win, and I’m really disappointed we only got one point, because we had control of that game. The environment got to a couple of our upperclassmen. We need better leadership.”
At 11:07 of the first period, two Maine defenders were facing their own goal trying to hit the loose puck out of the path to the net, not noticing Providence forward Mark Jankowski trailing behind. Jankowski squeaked between the defenders to get control of the loose puck and shot one past Maine goaltender Martin Ouellette to give the Friars a 1-0 lead.
Two minutes later, Diamond started the Black Bears’ best chance to answer back when he had an open path to the net, but Providence goaltender Jon Gillies blocked Diamond’s shot and stopped an onslaught of rebound attempts before finally smothering the puck.
The start of the second period brought another unusual play that almost tied the game for the Black Bears. A deflection of an attempted clear hit a Providence player on the way out of the zone, making the puck slide backward. Gillies noticed just in time, smothering the puck before the goal line to keep the score at 1-0.
Providence extended its lead 6:55 into the third period when forward Derek Army took the puck from a faceoff on the right side of the net and scooped it past Ouellette to put the Friars up 2-0.
“It got stuck under my feet and it got poked forward; I just went in towards the net and it was laying there and nobody was grabbing me, so I just shot it toward the net,” Army said.
“A lot of people probably thought the game was over after they scored that second goal, but we kept working hard,” Ouellette said.
However, while short-handed, Diamond stole the puck and streaked down the left side of the rink with one defender to beat. He crossed over to the right side and scooped the puck underneath the glove of Gillies.
“We had the momentum going into the third,” Diamond said. “We believed in each other and that’s where we knew that if we did believe in each other and were fortunate enough, we’d be able to get two goals, and we did. I just read the play, poked the pass, and just went into the breakaway and scored. I put it over his pad and under his glove. It gave us a big boost [of momentum], and then we were able to get on the power play and score another.”
With Providence forward Tim Schaller sitting in the box, Diamond struck again with a special-teams goal, this time with Maine having the one man advantage. With 17:00 gone in the third, Maine forwards Devin Shore and Cerretani assisted Diamond with the game-tying goal, giving Maine a momentum advantage going into overtime.
In the closing seconds of overtime, Friars forward Nock Acciari stole the puck and raced down the ice in a race with the clock, firing a shot with two seconds left, but Ouellette made the save to preserve the 2-2 tie.
“I went into the net hard; unfortunately, I couldn’t put it in for the team,” Acciari said.
“He kind of surprised me, he shot it pretty quickly; I was able to be patient and make the save,” Ouellette said.
“I love the way played tonight, no qualms with the effort or execution,” Whitehead said. “I thought we were a little tentative in the first [period], a little nervous, but I thought as the game went on we played with more poise and the hard work was there from the beginning. But the first period, offensively we played a little tentative.”