Winning is contagious.
But so is losing.
The University of Maine’s men’s hockey team bounced back from a dismal performance in a 5-0 loss to Northeastern University on Friday night with a much better effort that produced a 2-0 lead on Saturday night.
But the Huskies rallied for three goals including the game-winner on a seemingly harmless center-ice dump-in that was misplayed by sophomore goalie Victor Ostman as Northeastern emerged with a 3-2 victory at Matthews Arena in Boston.
UMaine fell to 0-5-1 overall and 0-2 in Hockey East while Northeastern improved to 5-3 and 2-2.
Ben Poisson’s first-period goal and Adam Dawe’s second-period tally staked UMaine to a 2-0 lead.
Justin Hryckowian began the NU comeback with 2:10 left in the second period and Gunnarwolfe Fontaine tied it 4:59 into the third period.
Jayden Struble was credited with the game-winner 5:48 later when he flipped the puck into the UMaine zone from center ice and it evaded Ostman and wound up in the net.
“We got what we deserved,” said first-year UMaine coach Ben Barr. “We were better than we were Friday night but we weren’t good enough to win.”
He said his team deviated from the style of play it had parlayed into the 2-0 lead.
The Black Bears became conservative and tried to sit on the lead instead of looking to dump the puck into the NU zone, establish the forecheck and try to add to the lead.
“Nobody wanted the puck on their sticks,” he said. “It’s a mindset that we have to change.”
He said he wasn’t sure what happened on the game-winning flip-in.
Poisson opened the scoring with a goal off a forecheck.
Keenan Suthers had the puck behind the net and tried to get it in front.
The bouncing puck squirted out and Poisson lifted it past Devon Levi, who entered the game with four shutouts this season.
Simon Butala also picked up an assist.
Dawe added to the lead right after UMaine killed off an NU power play.
Dawe was able to break free and go in on Levi before making a fake and depositing it into the net. Adrian Bisson and Jack Quinlivan assisted.
Hyrckowian gave the Huskies some valuable momentum as he was set up in the slot by Sam Colangelo and Tyler Spott and roofed the puck.
Fontaine pulled the Huskies even on a rebound.
Ty Jackson took a shot that hit the crossbar and the rebound came out front to Fontaine, who directed it past Ostman.
The Black Bears had a pair of power play opportunities in the third period sandwiching the goal by Fontaine.
But UMaine failed to convert and went 0-for-6 with the man advantage on the weekend and is now 1-22 on the season.
Levi finished with 19 saves while Ostman made 24.
UMaine will host UConn for a pair next weekend.