UMass hockey: Maine tallies late in the third period to knock off Minutemen 2-1

UMass’ Dans Locmelis goes in for a shot against Vermont earlier this season. 

UMass’ Dans Locmelis goes in for a shot against Vermont earlier this season.  CHRIS TUCCI/UMASS ATHLETICS

Staff Reports

Published: 03-08-2024 10:55 PM

The Massachusetts hockey team survived Maine’s first power play of the third period. 

When the Black Bears went back on the power play just 47 seconds after the initial UMass kill, it was a different story. 

Tied 1-1, Aydar Suniev was whistled for a tripping penalty with 4 minutes, 46 seconds to go, sending Maine back to the power play after the Minutemen had just killed off Samuli Niinisaari’s holding penalty.

Just 29 seconds into the power play, Maine’s Sully Scholle put a shot on net that was deflected in by Thomas Freel — who was posted up in front of UMass goalie Michael Hrabel — to give the hosts a 2-1 lead with 4:17 to go. 

The Minutemen were unable to find the equalizer late, as the Black Bears pulled out a 2-1 victory in At Alfond Arena in Orono on Friday. 

The win locked Maine (21-10-2, 13-9-1 Hockey East) into the No. 3 spot in the upcoming Hockey East playoffs. UMass (19-11-3, 12-9-2) and Providence (18-12-3, 11-9-3) are tied for fourth place, and the Minutemen will square off with the Black Bears once again on Saturday while the Friars close their regular season on Saturday at home against Northeastern. The top four teams will host quarterfinal round games next Saturday, March 16.

UMass fell to No. 14 in the PairWise Rankings with the loss.

Michael Cameron put the Minutemen on the board just 2:54 into the game, using his speed to retrieve a long pass from Ryan Ufko and finishing the shot to give UMass the early lead. Lucas Vanroboys was also credited with an assist on the play. 

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The Black Bears knotted the score with 4:10 to go in the opening period. On a 3-on-1 rush, Bradly Nadeau passed it to Josh Nadeau, who sent it back to Bradly Nadeau in the left circle. He blasted a shot past Hrabel to knot the score.

Maine outshot UMass 29-26. Hrabel stopped 27 shots while Albin Boija made 26 saves for the Black Bears. 

The Minutemen and Maine will square off at 7 p.m. on Saturday in Orono to close out each squads’ regular season.