Adam Dawe remembered last year’s 4-0 loss to Northeastern University well because it would be his last game of the season.
Dawe suffered a concussion on an elbow to the head delivered by Northeastern’s Brandon Hawkins with just 47 seconds left in the Jan. 12 game. Hawkins received a five-minute major and game misconduct.
The University of Maine sophomore right wing got a measure of revenge on Friday night, scoring the go-ahead goal with 2:06 left in the second period to help lead the Black Bears to a 4-2 victory over the No. 12 Huskies at Alfond Arena in Orono.
The victory snapped an eight-game losing streak to the Huskies dating back to a 5-4 UMaine win on Feb. 25, 2017.
It also extended UMaine’s winning streak to five games and pushed its Alfond Arena unbeaten streak to 15 games (13-0-2) dating back to last season.
“[Defenseman Simon Butala] and I were talking while we were driving over to the game and I realized the last time I played them at home ended my season,” Dawe said. “That lit a fire under me. I knew I had to come out strong and it worked out.”
Dawe’s goal gave UMaine its first lead of the game at 2-1 and the Black Bears never relinquished it.
UMaine (15-9-4 overall, 9-7-2 HE) outshot Northeastern 36-22 including a 27-13 edge over the final two periods.
“Everyone was buzzing for three periods. It couldn’t have been much better,” said UMaine’s Patrick Shea, who earned a win over younger brother Neil, whose team triumphed in the two November meetings in Boston.
Zach Solow’s power-play goal staked NU (15-8-2, 8-7-1 HE) to a 1-0 lead in an evenly-played first period. But the Black Bears took control of the game in the second period with their relentless physical play and tied it up on Patrick Shea’s power-play goal.
Dawe’s goal epitomized the effectiveness of UMaine’s gritty and punishing forecheck. UMaine kept Northeastern pinned in its own end for an extended period, as it did for long stretches of the final two periods.
“There was a little scrum in the corner. We liked to work [the puck] down low. I kicked the puck to Jacob [Schmidt-Svejstrup] and I started to go to the net and he made a nice backhand pass to me,” said Dawe, who darted across the low slot and flipped a backhander past NU goalie Craig Pantano (32 saves), who couldn’t slide across in time.
“Our physicality was the big difference in the game,” UMaine coach Red Gendron said. “We played with emotion and we bumped them all over the ice.”
Ryan Smith made it 3-1 with 8:33 remaining in the third period off a 2-on-1 with Eduards Tralmaks and NU’s Biagio Lerario received a five-minute major and game misconduct for cross-checking seconds after the goal was scored.
Schmidt-Svejstrup slashed the stick out of a NU player’s hands to earn a two-minute minor and Matt Demelis scored on the 4-on-4 with 6:28 remaining to slice the lead to 3-2.
But Tralmaks answered for UMaine just 16 seconds later and junior goalie Jeremy Swayman (20 saves) stopped a couple of breakaways as UMaine closed out the game.
“[A.J. Drobot] chipped the puck out of the zone and it bounced over their defenseman’s stick,” said Smith. “I won a race for the puck, [Tralmaks] came in to support me. He cut across, I poked it to him and he set me up pretty good for a tap-in.”
Demelis made things interesting with a 20-foot wrist shot past Swayman’s blocker, but Tralmaks’ goal gave UMaine some breathing room as he converted the rebound of a Mitch Fossier wrist shot from the midpoint.
“The puck hit the goalie in the stomach and he spilled the rebound. It was just me and the goalie,” Tralmaks said.
Solow had opened the scoring with a nifty short-side tip-in off a Tyler Madden feed.
Shea tied it by converting from a goalmouth scramble.
“We made some mistakes in our own end and they capitalized,” said NU coach Jim Madigan, who felt the referees impacted the game by not calling enough penalties.
“If you’re going to call the game like it is 1980, that is going to go in their favor because they’re bigger and stronger than we are,” he said. “I thought the game had progressed a little more from an officiating standpoint the last 10 to 15 years,” Madigan said.
Schmidt-Svejstrup provided two assists for UMaine while Madden and Ryan Shea had two each for NU.
UMaine junior center Jack Quinlivan led the hit parade with a half-dozen crunching body checks.
UMaine hosts the University of Connecticut on Feb. 14 and 15.