ORONO, Maine -- Robby Dee (Plymouth, Minn.) scored his ninth goal of the season just 44 seconds into the third period to break at 2-2 tie as the #16 University of Maine men's ice hockey team overcame a 2-0 deficit to defeat rival #13 New Hampshire 3-2 on Friday night at Alfond Arena in Orono, Maine. The Black Bears improve to 13-9-3 on the season and 10-6-2 in Hockey East play. New Hampshire falls to 13-9-4, 12-4-3 in conference play.
New Hampshire jumped out to a 1-0 lead after Mike Sislo scored a shorthanded goal five minutes into the first period off a blocked shot. Sislo picked up the puck and unleashed a perfectly placed wrist shot that beat Maine goalie Scott Darling (Lemont, Ill.) to give the Wildcats the early lead.
Maine had several chances in the first period, with a great opportunity coming when Gustav Nyquist (Malmo, Sweden) put a fake on a New Hampshire defenseman and flicked the puck through the middle to a patiently waiting Brian Flynn (Lynnfield, Mass.). However, New Hampshire goaltender Brian Foster would get his right pad back across the crease in time to make save and the Wildcats would enter the first intermission up by a score of 1-0.
The Wildcats extended their lead to 2-0 when Phil DeSimone beat Darling for his seventh goal on the season at 4:15 of the second period. DeSimone carried the puck into the Black Bear zone on a 2-on-1 advantage, made a quick fake with the puck, pulling it back and letting go a wrist shot past Darling.
However, Maine would cut the lead in half when Tanner House (Cochrane, Alberta) put the Black Bears on the board while skating on the man advantage 11:55 into the second period. Will O’Neill (Salem, Mass.) began the play by dumping the puck in behind the Wildcat net. Nyquist would control the puck behind Foster and fire a pass into the middle of the New Hampshire zone. Nyquist's pass found House right in the slot as House deposited the puck into the back of the net to bring Maine within one goal, 2-1. For House, it was his 12th goal of the season.
The Wildcats would have a great chance when their leading scorer Bobby Butler intercepted a pass and skated in all alone on Darling. Butler would put a move on Darling, but Darling made a spectacular diving save to keep Maine within one goal.
The Black Bears would fight back to knot the score with just 21-seconds remaining in the second period. Flynn found Nyquist in the right circle who unleashed a wrist shot on Foster. Foster made the save but the rebound came directly back to the circle where Jeff Dimmen (Colorado Spring, Colo.) controlled the puck and beat Foster. For Dimmen, it was his fifth goal of the season.
The Black Bears would waste no time in grabbing their first lead of the game when Robby Dee notched his ninth goal of the year just 44-seconds into the third period. The Black Bears would get a draw in their own zone which David deKastrozza (Toms River, N.J.) won straight back to Dee. Dee immediately fired a shot that beat Foster to put the Black Bears up 3-2.
The Black Bears would then play solid defense behind Darling who made many top-notch saves down the stretch. New Hampshire would gain a two-man advantage with 2:24 remaining in the contest. After a successful penalty kill by Maine, the Wildcats would still hold a man advantage as they pulled Foster with 1:15 remaining in the contest. Darling and the Black Bear defense would come up huge throughout the final minute to secure the lead and earn the 3-2 win.
Maine finished the game with a 34-30 edge in shots. The Black Bears were 1-for-5 on the power play, while New Hampshire was scoreless in three opportunities.
Darling, who earned the first star of the game, finished with 28 saves, including many spectacular ones. He improves to 13-3-3 on the season. Brian Foster made 31 saves for New Hampshire. He falls to 12-9-4.
The Black Bears return to action on Saturday, Feb. 6 when they host New Hampshire at Alfond Arena at 7 PM. Tickets remain for the game and can be purchased during the men's basketball game starting at noon on Saturday or at the door on Saturday night.