ORONO, Maine — It was yet another frustrating evening at the Alfond Arena for the University of Maine men’s hockey team.
For their second straight game, the Black Bears completely dominated the game, outshooting Union College 52-13. But they settled for a 1-1 overtime tie as Union goalkeeper Connor Murphy finished with a terrific 51-save performance including a left pad save on Adam Dawe’s breakaway in overtime.
There wasn’t a shootout because it was a non-conference game. Union is from the ECAC while UMaine is in Hockey East. Union is 5-8-3. The teams will play again Saturday at 5 p.m.
UMaine is now 1-11-4 after playing in its seventh overtime game and third in a row. It has now also been involved in 10 games decided by one goal or ending in a tie.
UMaine junior defenseman Adrien Bisson staked the Black Bears to a 1-0 lead late in the first period but freshman center Collin Graf equalized early in the third period at the 4:41 mark.
On the tying goal, Tyler Watkins, who had missed the net with a glorious solo opportunity earlier in the period, circled out of the corner, and fed the puck to Ryan Sidorski in the high slot and he wristed the puck toward the net.
UMaine’s Matthew Thiessen made the save with his left pad, but the rebound spilled to the unattended Graf parked to Thiessen’s left. Graf had time to draw the puck back to his forehand and lift it over Thiessen.
Junior Thiessen finished with 12 saves but was denied his first career win as he is now 0-10-4.
Bisson’s goal came with 1:45 left in the first period and it was the first time UMaine scored a game-opening goal since Bisson scored in a 4-3 loss to UConn on Nov. 5.
That was nine games ago.
Lynden Breen set up the goal and Dawson Bruneski also picked up an assist.
Bruneski got the puck to Breen, who burst down the right wing deep into the Union zone. Breen curled back toward the top of the faceoff circle and slipped a diagonal pass to Bisson at the left point. Bisson’s shot through a crowded goalmouth glanced in off the far post.
UMaine’s Dawe came inches away from giving the Black Bears their first two-goal lead of the season early in the second period only to be robbed by senior defenseman Michael Ryan. He deflected a shot that fluttered over the shoulder of Murphy and dropped behind the goalie. The puck was about to roll across the goal line when the alert Ryan swatted it to the corner.
Late in the third period, two Union defenseman collided and UMaine had a three-on-zero break-in. Dawe was unable to convert again after a defenseman cleared it from the line.
“It’s frustrating. We’re getting chances,” Dawe said. “We deserved to score more goals tonight. We’re not getting the bounces.”
UMaine head coach Ben Barr shared Dawe’s frustration. His team has scored just two goals on 126 shots in the last three games. He praised his defensemen, but he said his forwards need more of a killer instinct around the net to score more goals and collect wins.
“We have found a standard work ethic and our defensemen have really improved. They’re getting the puck out of the (defensive) zone much quicker,” he said. “But now we’re light up front.”
Union coach Rick Bennett said it was “pretty obvious Maine deserved a better fate” than they got on Friday.
“But our goalie met the challenge,” he said. “Their goalie also played well.”
Correction: UMaine’s number of shots on goal were revised after the game.