The University of Maine hockey team’s wait for its first win continues.
Junior defenseman Harrison Rees shoveled home a rebound with 21.2 seconds left in overtime to give the University of Connecticut’s Huskies a 3-2 victory over the Black Bears on Saturday night.
It was Rees’ second goal of the game. They were just his fourth and fifth career goals in his 64th game.
Ryan Tverberg scored the other UConn goal while sophomore right wing Donovan Houle scored both goals for the Black Bears.
UConn is now 6-3 overall and 4-1 in Hockey East play, while UMaine fell to 0-7-1 and 0-4.
UMaine appeared to be en route to at least earning a tie when they had a faceoff in the UConn zone with 35.5 seconds left in the five-minute, three-on-three overtime period.
UMaine first-year head coach Ben Barr called a time-out before the faceoff.
But UConn won the face-off and the Huskies were able to carry the puck down the ice into the UMaine zone.
Hudson Schandor passed to Marc Gatcomb in the high slot and he fired a shot that hit Victor Ostman’s glove and dropped in front.
Rees beat UMaine’s Keenan Suthers to the puck and lifted it into the open short side corner.
“The [Gatcomb] shot knuckled. I had trouble picking it up,” Ostman said.
UConn senior center and captain Jachym Kondelik said having Rees score the winner was special.
“It was just great. The last time we were here, we lost in overtime and he tripped and fell at the blue line and they scored. For him to have a game like this is amazing,” Kondelik said.
“Individual breakdowns cost us on that last goal. That one hurt,” Barr said. “We didn’t deserve to win the game. We didn’t execute for the full 65 minutes.”
Darion Hanson made 23 saves for UConn and Ostman finished with 41 including a gem in overtime on Tverberg, who broke in down the middle only to have Ostman thwart him.
Houle’s first two goals of his 24-game college career enabled the Black Bears to erase a pair of one-goal deficits. He also hit the post with a screened shot in the third period.
Tverberg staked UConn to a 1-0 lead with his third goal of the weekend series.
That came with a minute left in the first period.
Houle tied it 1:27 into the second period, kicking off a flurry of three goals in 2:36.
Rees responded just 2:03 later but Houle tied it up 33 seconds after that.
Tverberg scored just one second after a UConn power play had elapsed.
UMaine captain Jack Quinlivan was about to clear the puck but got hauled down from behind.
The puck went to Schandor who quickly passed it across to Tverberg at the top of the right circle.
Tverberg faked a slap shot to maneuver around a Black Bear and then wristed a 25-footer that squeezed between the pads of Ostman.
Houle equalized when a Johnny Mulera pass was directed over to him by the skate of Suthers. Houle took a stride and snapped a wrister past Hanson’s blocker.
Rees regained the lead for the Huskies when he took a pass from behind the net by Gatcomb in the high slot and beat Ostman to the glove side with a 35-foot wrister.
Houle answered after he took a pass from Mulera in a similar position as he was on his first goal down the right wing.
This time, instead of shooting quickly, he sliced across the low slot and roofed a backhander blocker side.
“We had pushback. [Houle] was really good. We had some other guys play well. Victor was solid,” Barr said. “It’s just tough when you can’t find a way to get over the hump. That was a rough one.”
Schandor had two assists for UConn while Suthers and Mulera had two each for UMaine on linemate Houle’s goals.
UMaine will entertain Merrimack next Friday night at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday at 5 p.m.