The University of Maine men’s hockey team received second-period goals 5:30 apart from Brady Gaudette, Jack Quinlivan and J.D. Greenway to build a three-goal lead and hung on to snap a five-game losing streak with a 6-4 Hockey East victory Friday over the University of Connecticut at the Freitas Ice Forum in Storrs, Connecticut.
Freshman Victor Ostman made 40 saves on 43 shots for UMaine (3-9-1) before leaving with leg cramps with 6:28 left. Matt Thiessen finished up and made eight saves on nine shots.
Tomas Vomacka wound up with 13 saves for the 8-10-2 Huskies, who absorbed their fourth straight loss. UConn outshot UMaine 52-19, including a 23-2 edge in the third period.
The teams play again at 4 p.m. Saturday.
Friday’s game featured a rarity with two penalty shots being awarded, one for each team, and each team converted.
The six goals were UMaine’s best output of the season despite again being without second-leading scorers Eduards Tralmaks and Jacob Schmidt-Svejstrup. UMaine head coach Red Gendron would not divulge why they aren’t playing.
UMaine went into the game having scored only seven goals in its previous five games.
“It was a battle,” Gendron said. “We kept fighting. We were down 1-0 and 2-1. We had a great second period and we finished the game.
“This was a great win. We needed that,” he added.
Gaudette snapped a 2-2 tie with his second goal of the season at the 2:22 mark of the middle period. Vomacka got tangled up with a Black Bear while playing the puck behind his own net.
There was an ensuing scramble in front of the net and the puck eventually squirted over the right circle. Gaudette fired a wrister through a posse of bodies and past Vomacka for his second of the season.
Only 26 seconds later, Quinlivan expanded the lead by converting a penalty shot after he was interfered with on a breakaway to end a 13-game drought without a goal.
The UMaine captain skated slowly down the left wing, cut across the slot and wristed the puck over Vomacka’s blocker into the short-side corner.
Greenway capped the scoring spurt at the 7:52 mark, making it 5-2 with his second goal of the year. His shot from the point deflected in the air and dropped behind Vomacka.
Jonny Evans scored in the third period to pull UConn within 5-3 but A.J. Drobot iced it with an empty-net goal, his second of the contest.
Marc Gatcomb added a late goal for the hosts.
Gatcomb had opened the scoring at the 7:03 mark of the first period with a short-handed effort. He picked the pocket of UMaine defenseman Veli-Matti Tiuraniemi at the edge of the crease and swatted the puck past Ostman for his fifth goal of the season.
Drobot tied it up 4:05 later as he converted a breakaway off a Jakub Sirota pass, snapping a 17-game goalless drought by tucking the puck between Vomacka’s pads.
Another UMaine turnover on the power play led to Hudson Schandor’s penalty-shot goal after he was impeded on a breakaway. He stuffed a shot between Ostman’s right skate and the post.
UMaine continued on the power play and Poisson equalized when he took a drop pass from Adrien Bisson at the top of the right circle and snapped a wrist shot past Vomacka’s glove.
Gendron lamented UMaine’s puck management in the first period, but said it improved as the game progressed.
Gendron said the offensive output was the highlight of the game.
“We scored goals in all different sorts of ways. That speaks to the kind of confidence the kids have in the offensive part of their game,” he said.
Gendron said Ostman played a good game.
“A lot of the shots he had to take were self-inflicted on our part because of puck mismanagement. The other team was shooting from bad angles and was reflective of the strategy they had trying to create rebounds in front of the net,” Gendron said.
UMaine freshman right wing Brad Morrissey suffered an undisclosed injury in the second period and didn’t return.