BOSTON – On a night where the Northeastern Huskies (17-10-4) were without captain Josh Manson, Matt Benning, Dalen Hedges and Cody Ferriero, a late third-period goal by Braden Pimm helped the Huskies salvage a Hockey East point as they tied Maine (15-10-4), 4-4, at Matthews Arena.
The Black Bears sit at third in Hockey East, just one point ahead of the fourth-place Huskies.
Maine was first to get on the board Friday night at 17:05 in the period when Connor Leen slipped a shot past Northeastern goaltender Clay Witt.
Just 24 seconds into the second period, Steven Swavely got his eighth goal on the year, assisted by Conor Riley and Devin Shore, to put the Black Bears ahead 2-0.
Northeastern’s Colton Saucerman answered seven minutes later, scoring his fifth of the year to get the Huskies within one.
At 10:07 in the second period, just three seconds after a Northeastern goal was waved off by the officials, sophomore Kevin Roy lit the lamp with his 17th of the year to tie the game at two. That tie would quickly be broken, as just 4:17 later Northeastern’s John Stevens crashed the net and jammed the puck past Black Bears goalie Martin Ouellette to give the Huskies their first lead of the night.
The Black Bears quickly answered, as 1:36 later, Blaine Byron beat Clay Witt glove side to once again tie the game heading into the second intermission.
A back and forth third, featuring several scoring opportunities for each team, remained scoreless until 13:57 of the period when Mark Anthoine gave the Black Bears the late 4-3 lead. The Huskies however, would not roll over, as with just over a minute left in the game senior Braden Pimm received a Mike Szmatula pass that he put top shelf to send the game to overtime.
Clay Witt ended the game with 23 saves on 27 shots for the Huskies, while Ouellette stopped 27 shots for the Black Bears.
Maine coach Red Gendron enjoyed the excitement of the game, but was not satisfied picking up only one point.
“It was a great college hockey game; it was exciting,” Gendron said. “I’m never satisfied unless we win, so tonight’s no different than any other time this season when we’ve tied or we lost.”
Gendron said he was happy with the way his team fought through adversity together, something the Black Bears have done all year long.
“I don’t know how good we are,” Gendron said of this team. “But I do know how much character the team has. I do know how much they play for each other.”
Northeastern coach Jim Madigan was pleased with the way his team responded after falling behind 2-0 early.
“I like the way we battled back,” Madigan said. “We got down 2-0 early in the second and I liked the way we bounced back, and I think we’ve shown some pretty good resolve this year.”
The two teams will meet again Saturday night at Matthews Arena with two huge Hockey East points at stake.