University of Maine first-year head hockey coach Ben Barr notched his first ever road win, and it came where he had spent the previous five years.
Sophomore winger Donavan Houle scored 1:03 into the three-on-three overtime to give the Black Bears a 3-2 victory over defending national champion the University of Massachusetts at the Mullins Center in Amherst, Massachusetts, on Friday night.
Just seconds after UMaine goalie Victor Ostman made a save off Bobby Trivigno, Lynden Breen retrieved the puck and made a long diagonal pass to Houle from deep in his own zone.
Houle split a pair of Minutemen and burst down the right wing before snapping a wrist shot past Matt Murray from the inner half of the right faceoff circle.
Barr was the associate head coach/recruiting coordinator at UMass for five seasons and played an important role in the team’s first-ever NCAA championship a year ago.
UMaine had been 0-9-1 on the road this season and had been outscored 43-16.
“It was an interesting night,” Barr said. “It was surreal when that puck went in.”
It was a nice bounce back after 4-0 and 5-0 losses at Boston University and Merrimack last weekend, the coach added.
“It was good to see us play with some passion. The guys played extremely hard, they played smart, we took their [pressure] and didn’t panic and Victor played great. He made a huge save in the third period,” Barr said.
“When everyone is in, our team is capable of beating good teams. But it has been a roller-coaster ride, especially after last weekend. This was a good way to turn things around.”
The Black Bears improved to 5-14-4 overall and 3-10-2 in Hockey East.
No. 9 UMass fell to 15-9-2 and 10-5-2.
The teams will play again on Saturday night at 7 p.m.
Breen opened the scoring for the Black Bears on the power play 8:56 into the game.
It was UMaine’s first, first-period goal in five road games.
Breen’s goal was his fifth of the season.
Garrett Wait equalized for the Minutemen just 2:12 later with that goal also coming on the power play. It was his eighth of the campaign.
Trivigno’s 15th goal just 22 seconds into the second period supplied UMass with a 2-1 lead but Ben Poisson’s breakaway goal tied it up later in the period. It was his fifth.
Sophomore Ostman finished with 25 saves for the Black Bears while graduate student Murray made 22 stops for UMass.
Breen began the scoring with a shot from the top of the slot that glanced in off the crossbar and Murray’s back.
Wait tied it by converting a Ryan Ufko with a net drive and shot to the far corner.
Trivigno gave UMass its only lead of the game with a nifty move in front of the net before depositing the puck behind Ostman.
Poisson answered by firing the puck past Murray after breaking in alone with a Breen pass.
Breen had two assists to go with his goal and UMass’ Trivigno had one to accompany his goal.