Courtesy Vermont Sports Information
BURLINGTON –– Maine’s Ryan Smith scored from the Catamount slot 1:54 into overtime to lift the Black Bears (5-7-1, 3-3-1 HEA) over Vermont (4-7-0, 1-6-0 HEA) Friday night at Gutterson Fieldhouse.
“Swayman was outstanding; Lekkas was outstanding,” head coach Kevin Sneddon said. “It was a really good college hockey game but it just hurts we’re on the losing end of a hard-fought battle. Our guys played really well tonight. We played our hearts out. Credit to Maine; obviously they made one final play.”
HOW IT HAPPENED
Maine scored on its first shot of the game at 4:11 of the first period off the stick of Brendan Robbins. He came down on a 2-on-1 and fired a short-side shot off the post and in for the early lead.
Conor O’Neil scored at 16:53 of the first with an assist from Vlad Dzhioshvili. O’Neil tried to split the defense on a rush but lost the puck just inside the Maine blue line, Dzhioshvili picked up the loose puck and cut to his right before finding O’Neil for the back-door equalizer.
The Black Bears took three consecutive penalties to start the second period, giving Vermont three full power play chances. Despite a 9-0 advantage in shots during that stretch, UVM could not break the deadlock.
A back-and-forth third period went scoreless, with Lekkas (22 saves) stopping seven Maine shots to Swayman’s 12 third period saves. Each team was 0-for-1 on the power play in the third period.
Less than two minutes into OT, Maine’s Mitchell Fossier moved the puck to Chase Pearson behind Lekkas and the Catamount net. Pearson moved to his left and snuck a pass through a UVM defenseman and Lekkas’ crease to Smith, who buried the game-winner for his third of the season.
The Catamounts and Black Bears take the ice tomorrow evening for a 5:00 p.m. start at Gutterson Fieldhouse. The annual ‘Teddy Bear Toss’ will take place tomorrow night during the second intermission. All toys will be donated to local children in need. Vermont will wear its lavender Rally Against Cancer jerseys during warm-ups and during the post-game ‘Skate with the Cats,’ where fans will be able to purchase them on the spot for $100.