The University of Maine men’s hockey team was seemingly well on its way to ending a 13-month road winless drought Friday night when it jumped out to a 3-0 lead at Merrimack College in North Andover, Massachusetts.
But the Warriors received a second-period goal from Sami Tavernier and goals in the final 4:58 of regulation from Ludvig Larsson and Derek Petti to tie it and set the stage for Jace Hennig’s winner with 1:21 left in overtime as Merrimack triumphed 4-3 in a Hockey East game at Lawler Arena.
Petti’s goal came with 1:32 left after the Warriors had pulled goalie Collin Delia in favor of the extra attacker.
Merrimack scored two extra-attacker goals in their last meeting with UMaine, a 3-2 overtime win for for the Black Bears last season.
Merrimack (13-13-5, 7-7-5 HE) extended its unbeaten streak to seven games (5-0-2) while dealing the Black Bears their fifth straight setback.
UMaine (10-18-3, 4-14-1 HE) had its road winless streak extended to 19 games (0-16-3) dating back to a 5-4 win at UMass on Jan. 30, 2016.
The loss means UMaine can’t finish any higher than 11th in the Hockey East standings.
The teams play again on Saturday night at 7.
Daniel Perez’s first-period goal and second-period goals 20 seconds apart by Blaine Byron and Chase Pearson supplied the Black Bears with their 3-0 lead.
Byron’s goal made him the 55th player in school history to reach the 100-point plateau.
“We played great. But it wasn’t good enough,” said UMaine coach Red Gendron. “We didn’t finish the game. That’s what we have to do.”
Perez opened the scoring just 1:21 into the game by taking a pass from Ryan Smith in the circle and beating Delia with a wrist shot.
Byron made it 2-0 midway through the second period when he directed a Pearson shot past Delia and then Pearson scored with a shot off a faceoff.
Tavernier began comeback by tipping Johnathan Kovacevic’s shot under the crossbar at the 13:29 mark.
Larsson inched the Warriors closer with just 4:58 left in regulation when he converted a pass from Chris LeBlanc with a shot from the circle.
Petti tied it after a Marc Biega point shot missed the net. UMaine goalie Rob McGovern had lost his goal stick but was still able to make a save on Hennig’s shot.
However, the rebound spilled to Petti and he jammed it home through a crowded goalmouth.
Hennig won it 3:39 into the five-minute overtime after McGovern had made a save on a shot by Jonathan Lashyn. The puck sat in the middle of the low slot between McGovern and a UMaine defenseman and Hennig swooped in and flipped it home.
Pearson had two assists to go with his goal and Perez had an assist to go with his goal.
Delia finished with 35 saves for the Warriors while McGovern wound up with 40 stops.