Saturday night’s 4-3 overtime victory over Alaska Anchorage wasn’t a masterpiece, University of Maine hockey coach Ben Barr said. But a win is a win.
Sophomore right wing Cole Hanson scored with 2:20 left in the extra session to give the Black Bears their eighth victory of the season, one more than all of last season. UMaine is 8-9-2 overall while Alaska Anchorage falls to 4-14-0 after the weekend sweep in Orono. Alaska Anchorage swept UMass Lowell 4-2 and 3-2 before coming north.
“Learning how to grind those games out and come away with a ‘W’ is important for us,” said Barr. “It was definitely not pretty. But we don’t have a lot of pretty games. I was proud of the guys.”
UMaine outshot Alaska Anchorage 44-20 but had to rally from a 2-1 deficit and then kill off a penalty in the last 1:53 of the game to force overtime after junior right wing Jarred White had tied the game for the Seawolves with 2:42 left in regulation.
Senior left wing Ben Poisson had given UMaine the lead just 1:24 earlier.
“It was a big deal to kill that penalty at the end of the game to get to the overtime and then win it,” said Barr. “That’s character stuff.”
UMaine killed the final seven seconds off the penalty in the overtime.
In the three-on-three, the Black Bears caught some good fortune when a Seawolf player broke his stick, enabling them to cycle the puck in the offensive zone.
Two Seawolves, including the player without a stick, went off the ice for a line change but defenseman Derek Hamelin was left on the ice. He had played the entire overtime and had the puck stripped from him by Poisson, who made the pass to Hanson.
“I knew (Hamelin) was gassed,” said Hanson, who broke in alone on freshman goalie Jared Whale and swept home his own rebound for his fifth goal of the season. “Benny is really fast and he pressured him and then gave the puck to me.”
UMaine took a 1-0 lead just 4:10 into the game when freshman defenseman Luke Antonacci’s screened wrist shot beat Whale short side.
Junior center Ben Almquist gave the Seawolves a 2-1 lead with goals at the 5:41 and 17:40 marks of the first period.
Almquist beat Victor Ostman with a snap shot from the middle of the slot after Thomas Freel’s clearing attempt hit Hanson in the back and deflected onto his stick. His second goal and fourth of the season came on a rebound off a William Gilson shot as he flipped it into a half-empty net.
Arizona State transfer Mike Mancinelli tied it in the second period with his first goal of the season as the puck took a crazy bounce off the boards to Aidan Carney and Carney alertly fed it across to him for an easy tap-in.
Poisson’s fourth of the season at the 15:54 mark of the third period came off a nice pass from Sam Duerr as the Seawolves were caught in a line change. Poisson sprinted around a stationary defenseman who had just come on the ice before slicing across the crease and tucking a backhander between Whale’s pads.
But the lead was short-lived as the Seawolves forced a turnover by David Breazeale and Caleb Hite passed across to White, whose wrist shot deflected off a stick and past Ostman for his first collegiate goal.
Ostman finished with 17 saves, while a busy Whale made 40.
Up next: UMaine will host UMass Lowell on Friday and Saturday nights at 7 p.m. as it begins its stretch of 16 Hockey East games to finish out the regular season.
Alaska Anchorage will play again on Jan. 27-28 against Alaska Fairbanks in a home-and-home series.