ORONO, Maine — The University of Maine hockey team scored four goals in a period for the first time this season to send the Black Bears on their way to 6-3 Hockey East win over the University of New Hampshire at a lively Alfond Arena on Friday night.
But it was a second-period goal by UMaine’s Ben Poisson that will always be remembered.
With UMaine leading 5-2, UNH was on a five-minute power play resulting from Keenan Suthers’ infraction for contact to the head.
Three of the four Black Bears killing the penalty broke their sticks and had to drop them.
The puck was flipped down the ice toward UNH back-up goalie David Fessenden.
Poisson, the only Black Bear with a stick, was going to have a breakaway but Fessenden raced out to beat him to the puck. However, Fessenden shot it into Poisson’s chest and Poisson pounced on the puck and fired it into the empty net from a difficult angle.
“I’ve never been a part of such a crazy play,” Poisson said. “I was the [UMaine player] on the ice with a stick and they had five sticks. The goalie shot it into my chest and he gave me the empty net. It was pretty cool.”
“That’s one of those situations you may never encounter again,” said UMaine head coach Ben Barr. “I’ve never seen anything like it. Credit to Ben for sticking with it.”
UNH coach Mike Souza and his assistants also felt it may be a once-in-a-lifetime occurrence.
“I’ve seen three-on-five shorthanded goals but I’ve never seen a one-on-five,” Souza said. “That was a poor job by us managing the power play. We were shouting from the bench that they only had one stick.”
The early goals came from Lynden Breen, Jacob Schmidt-Svejstrup, Adam Dawe and A.J. Drobot in the first period.
“The guys were ready to go and we caught them a little flat-footed and found a way to grind it out,” Barr said. “We got to the net and got some greasy goals. Obviously it wasn’t a 4-0 period. We just scored and their kid [goalie Mike Robinson] didn’t come up with the saves and [UMaine goalie Victor Ostman] did. I give our guys credit for being ready and coming out on their toes.”
Ostman finished with 30 saves.
The coach added that the loud and energized crowd of 4,670 was “amazing” and played a significant role.
“It could have been a 1-0 or 2-0 game in the first period but it’s four because our guys are feeding off adrenaline,” Barr said.
UMaine improved to 6-17-4 overall, 4-13-2 in Hockey East, while UNH fell to 13-15-1 and 7-12-1.
The teams will play again Saturday night at 7 p.m.
Breen said jumping out to the 4-0 lead was “huge.”
“The crowd and the students had a big play in it,” he added.
Breen scored another goal in the second period and Poisson’s shorthanded goal was UMaine’s first of the season.
Filip Engaras and Nick Cafarelli scored second-period goals for UNH and Tyler Ward added a third-period goal on the power play.
Robinson made 12 saves in the first period for UNH before being replaced by Fessenden, who made 11 over the final two periods.
Breen scored just 42 seconds into the game.
Donavan Houle broke down the left wing and got off a close-in backhander that Robinson sticked aside.
Houle chased down the puck and made a backhand pass from behind the net to Breen, who was left alone at the edge of the crease and slid it between’s Robinson’s pads for his sixth goal of the season.
Schmidt-Svejstrup was credited with his fourth 5:07 later.
Dawe wheeled out of the corner with the puck and slipped it over to an open Dawson Bruneski inside the far circle. Bruneski’s wrist shot glanced off Schmidt-Svejstrup’s skate and went between Robinson’s pads.
Dawe scored his fifth of the season on a breakaway.
A UNH player made an errant diagonal pass in the UMaine zone that hit the boards and deflected into center ice.
Dawe had just come onto the ice on a line change and broke in alone on Robinson before snapping a wrist shot over Robinson’s glove.
Drobot made it 4-0 1:42 later.
Nolan Renwick took a shot from the left circle that hit Keenan Suthers’ skate at the top of the crease. Drobot swatted the loose puck past Robinson for his second of the year.
UNH came out with a sense of urgency in the second period and got one back when Engaras was set up nicely in front by Cafarelli and flipped a short wrister past Ostman.
But Breen prevented the Wildcats from gaining any momentum by scoring 34 seconds later.
He took a pass from Houle, skated down the right side and beat Fessenden with a wrist shot from the inner half of the right circle.
“I put it short side,” said Breen, who credited linemate Houle for making a great play on it.
Caffarelli swatted the puck past Ostman to make it 5-2 and then Suthers was assessed his major penalty and game disqualification.
But Poisson restored some valuable breathing room with his improbable goal.