University of Maine's Luke Antonacci skates with the puck in first period action of the hockey game against UMass Lowell at Alfond Arena on Friday night. Credit: Linda Coan O'Kresik / BDN

ORONO, Maine —  The University of Maine men’s hockey team jumped out to a 3-0 lead and held off the nationally ranked University of Massachusetts Lowell for a 5-3 Hockey East victory at Alfond Arena Saturday night.

UMaine improved to 9-10-2 overall and 3-6-1 in Hockey East while UMass Lowell fell to 12-9-1 and 6-5-1.

UMass Lowell had won Friday’s game 2-1 and was seeking just its third sweep of the Black Bears at Alfond Arena with the other two occurring in 1985 and 2011.

The Black Bears snapped a string of seven straight UMass-Lowell victories at their expense.

“Our details were better tonight,” said UMaine head coach Ben Barr. “We finished more hits, we blocked more shots and our penalty killing was really good, even though we did give up one power play goal.

“The guys paid the price to get the win tonight,” Barr added.

UMaine killed four of five River Hawk power plays and limited the River Hawks to four shots on goal in the five attempts.

UMaine went 1-for-4 with the man advantage and that included a five-minute power play in the third period.

UMaine played one of its best periods of the season in the opening period and took a deserved 3-1 lead into the intermission. The Black Bears outshot UMass Lowell 16-3 over the first 20 minutes.

David Breazeale, Brandon Holt and Aidan Carney staked UMaine to a 3-0 lead before Brian Chambers pulled one back for UMass-Lowell with 4:54 left in the period.

Chambers scored again in the second period to cut the lead to 3-2 before Lynden Breen restored the two-goal lead at the 7:16 mark.

But Matt Crasa scored a power play goal with 2:07 remaining in the middle period to set the stage for a dramatic third period that was capped by Ben Poisson’s empty-net goal to sew up the win.

“You dig a 3-0 hole against any team in Hockey East, you aren’t going to have to many opportunities to come back,” said UMass Lowell coach Norm Bazin. “That was the cast tonight. We didn’t start the way we wanted.  Give credit where credit is due. [UMaine] competed hard and got to a lot of first pucks. That was the difference between tonight and last night.

“The hungrier team won,” he added.  

Breazeale’s goal, his first of the season, was initially waved off.

Barr challenged the call and, upon video review, the call was reversed and the goal stood.

UMaine had a sustained forecheck, and a UMass Lowell player pushed Michael Mancinelli into UML goalie Gustavs Davis Grigals and the goalie was knocked down to the ice.

The puck rolled into the slot, and Breazeale swept it past Grigals, who was laying on the ice.

Freshman defenseman Holt’s fourth goal of the season snapped UMaine’s 0-for-15 power play drought.

He took a pass from Luke Antonacci and wristed a shot from the right faceoff circle through Grigals’ pads.

Freshman left wing Carney, son of former UMaine All-American defenseman and long-time National Hockey Leaguer Keith Carney, made it 3-0 by shoving home the puck after Felix Trudeau slid it across the crease to the far post off a three-on-one.

Senior center Chambers scored with a one-timer from the high slot off pass from out of the corner by Ben Meehan. It was his fourth of the season.

Chambers’ second-period goal came off a high wrister from the point that sailed by Ostman’s glove.  

Junior center Breen collected his team-leading eighth of the season and second game-winner after Didrik Henbrant passed it across to him at the far post. He just had to direct it into the empty net.

“I was at the end of a shift and I just planted myself in front of the net,” said Breen. “I didn’t even see [Henbrant] pass it. I had my stick on the ice and it hit it. But I’ll take it. If I wasn’t in the right spot, it wouldn’t have gone in.”

Sophomore right wing Crasa scored his second of the season when he came out of the corner to the right of Ostman and beat Ostman to the short side from a tight angle.

UMaine captain Jakub Sirota received a five-minute major with 15 seconds left in the middle period but the Black Bears were able to kill it off with the help of a two-minute minor penalty on UMass Lowell’s Scout Truman.

After struggling in the first two periods, Ostman was immense in the third period as he stopped all 16 shots he faced to finish with 25 saves for the game.

“He got better. He had a shaky start but he made some big saves in the third,” said Barr.

Grigals wound up with 30 stops.


“Last night left a sour taste in our mouths,” said Holt. “We knew we had better in us. We came out ready to go tonight. We jumped on them early. They fought back but we dug deep.  We kept playing through all the penalties. We did it for each other.”

He said they were much more physical than Friday night.

“That’s part of our identity, finishing every check and being hard to play against. We did that tonight and it showed,” Holt said.

Up next: UMaine will visit nationally-ranked Boston University for a series on Friday and Saturday nights and 7 and 6, respectively. UMass Lowell will host New Hampshire on Friday at 7:15 before going to UNH on Saturday for a 7:00 game.