In this March 2021 file photo, University of Maine players follow the action from the bench during the Hockey East playoff game against the University of New Hampshire at Alfond Arena in Orono. Credit: Courtesy of UMaine Athletics

The University of Nebraska Omaha scored three third-period goals to spoil the head coaching debut of Ben Barr and deal the University of Maine’s Black Bears a 4-1 setback at Baxter Arena Friday night.

Nebraska Omaha improved to 2-1.

The teams will complete their two-game series on Saturday night at 8:07 p.m..

Senior Taylor Ward, whose 13 goals last season made him the only Maverick to reach double figures in goals, snapped a 1-1 tie with a power play goal 8:58 into the third period.

Jack Randl expanded the lead to 3-1 4:50 later and just seconds after the Black Bears had killed off a too many men on the ice penalty.

Randl added an empty-net goal.

Cameron Berg’s breakaway staked UNO to a 1-0 lead goal 3:06 into the second period.

Ben Poisson tied it off an Adam Dawe feed 9:25 later.

Junior Isaiah Saville, the National Collegiate Hockey Conference’s Goalie of the Week, made 22 saves for the Mavericks while sophomore Victor Ostman turned aside 24 shots for the Black Bears.

Ward broke the 1-1 tie with assists from Brannon McManus and Chayse Primeau. Primeau is the brother of former Northeastern University goalie Cayden Primeau.

Ward batted the puck out of the air past Ostman.

Randl, off assists from Kirby Proctor and Davis Pennington, padded the lead with a shot into the short side corner from the faceoff circle.

Proctor had set up the game-opening goal with a pass to Berg that sent him in alone on Ostman.

Poisson answered when he swept home a cross-ice pass from Dawe. Jakub Sirota also picked up an assist.

UNO went one-for-seven on the power play while UMaine was 0-for-4.

“We played hard. You can’t fault the effort or the compete level. But you can’t take five third-period penalties and expect to win,” said the 39-year-old Barr, who was the associate head coach for NCAA champion UMass a year ago.

UMaine had lost an exhibition game to  Quinnpiac six days ago 7-0 at Phillips Exeter Academy in Exeter, N.H.