ESTERO, Fla. -- The University of Maine men's ice hockey team defeated #11 Cornell 6-4 on Saturday night to win the 2012 Florida College Classic Championship. Maine defends its title as the Black Bears also took the crown in 2011. Kyle Beattie (Avondale, Ariz.) was named tournament Most Valuable Player as he had a goal and two assists in the title game. Maine becomes the first team to ever win back-to-back titles in the 13 year of the tournament.
Beattie was named the Shawn Walsh Most Valuable Player, while Devin Shore (Ajax, Ontario) and goalie Matt Morris (Ridgewood, N.J.) were each named to the All-Tournament Team.
Cornell took a 1-0 lead just 1:09 into the first period when John Esposito got a step on the defense and beat Maine goalie Martin Ouellette (St.-Hippolyte, Quebec) on a breakaway. The Big Red added to their lead at 8:23 when Erik Axell notched his third goal of the season. Cornell extended its lead to 3-0 at 10:33 when John McCarron stuffed the puck between Ouellette's skate and the goal post.
Maine got on the board when Stu Higgins (Troy, Mich.) made a pass to Mike Cornell (Franklin, Mass.) on the blueline. He fired a shot that beat Cornell goalie Andy Iles. Jon Swavely (Reading, Pa.) also picked up an assist on the play. Maine pulled to within one goal at 8:31 of the second period when Connor Leen (Chester, N.Y.) fed a pass to Kyle Beattie just in front of the goal. He redirected it past Iles for his first goal of the season.
Maine wasted little time tying the game at 3-3. On the power play, Ben Hutton (Prescott, Ontario) passed to Cornell also on the blueline. Cornell fired a shot that Mark Anthoine (Lewiston, Maine) redirected into the back of the goal.
Maine took the lead at 16:54 of the second period on a goal in transition. Beattie fed the puck to Devin Shore who beat Iles with an impressive play in front of the goal. Leen also picked up an assist on the play.
Leen scored what turned out to be the game-winning goal at 18:35 of the third period from Jake Rutt (Scarborough, Maine) and Beattie.
Cornell pulled Iles in favor of an extra attacker and Cornell was able to answer back just 22 seconds later when Greg Miller beat Matt Morris, who had replaced Ouellette.
Maine iced the game at 19:17 when Ryan Lomberg (Richmond Hill, Ontario) fired the puck into the empty net on a pass from Steven Swavely (Reading, Pa.).
Maine finished the game with a 32-29 edge in shots on goal. The Black Bears were 2-for-4 on the power play, while Cornell was scoreless in three opportunities.
Maine goalie Martin Ouellette allowed three goals in 10:33. Matt Morris replaced Ouellette and made 22 saves in 49:27. He improves to 2-0-0 on the season.
Iles made 26 saves for Cornell and falls to 7-4-2.
Maine improves to 4-11-2 on the season, while Cornell falls to 7-4-2.
Maine returns to action on Friday, Jan. 4 when it hosts Mercyhurst at the Cumberland County Civic Center in Portland, Maine.