Maine wins in OT
Vesey's OT Goal Sends Men's Hockey Past UConn in Season Opener
10/6/2017 | Men's Ice Hockey | Box Score
ORONO, Maine - Senior Nolan Vesey scored just 28 seconds into overtime to power the University of Maine men's hockey team to a 4-3 victory over UConn on Friday night at Alfond Arena in the regular season opener. In all, nine different Black Bears registered a point in the Hockey East battle.
UMaine (1-0-0, 1-0-0 HEA) jumped out to an early lead thanks to sophomore Tim Doherty's first career goal, and then after the Huskies had answered back, Rob Michel grabbed the lead again just four minutes later with a power-play tally. UConn (0-1-0, 0-1-0 HEA) even the scored just one minute, 15 seconds into the second period. However, Cedric Lacroix took advantage of a turnover in the neutral zone to feed Peter Housakos for a slapper that trickled in to make it 3-2 near the midway point of the game.
The score remained in UMaine's favor until there were 12 seconds left on the clock, as UConn pulled Adam Huska in favor of an extra attacker and it paid off in the form of Jeff Wight's game-tying tally.
Vesey and the Black Bears did not go quietly into the night, though, as the team rallied to refocus heading into overtime and get the game-winner with just 28 seconds ticked off the clock.
Rob McGovern was strong in goal for UMaine, finishing with 35 saves, including huge stop on a Kasperi Ojantakanen midway through the third period. The junior turned away 13 shots alone in the third period. His counterpart Huska finished with 29 saves. UConn held the final edge in shots (38-33) and both teams converted on the power-play, with the Black Bears going 1-for-5 and the Huskies 1-for-6. Chase Pearson had a game-high 16 face-off wins for the Black Bears.
(Maine 1): Mark Hamilton carried the puck up the left wing and dumped it into the neutral zone for Doherty. After Doherty handed the puck off to Robbins, he crashed the net and was hit back with the puck and finished past Huska.
(UConn 1): Benjamin Freeman and Johnny Austin worked the puck on the right circle and then Austin sent it to the far post for a tap in by Ojantakanen.
(Maine 2): After Pearson and Fossier worked the puck below the goal line, Fossier slide a pass through the slot to Michel. After delaying at the top of the right circle and dekeing down a defender, Michel wristed a shot into the top left corner of the net.
(UConn 2): Ojantakanen fed Spencer Naas behind the net and then Nass found Freeman at the right post for a high finish.
(Maine 3): After Lacroix pounced on a turnover in the neutral zone, he slowed as he went down the right circle and delayed long enough for Housakos to get open in the high slot. Housakos' shot was able to squeeze through Huska's pads.
(UConn 3): Karl El-Mir took a shot from the point that McGovern made the initial save on, but Jeff Wight was there to tap in the rebound.
(Maine 4 -GW): Hamilton rubbed out a UConn player on the boards which allowed Pearson to pick the puck up near the neutral zone. Pearson chipped it along the boards to Vesey, who skated into the zone down the left wing and rifled a shot post and in for the game-winner.
UMaine now has an edge of 4-3-3 in the all-time series with UConn.
The Black Bears are 23-16-2 all-time in regular season openers and 26-13-2 in home openers.
This was the second-straight game against UConn in which Nolan Vesey found the back of the net.
The Black Bears and Huskies return to action tomorrow afternoon, with the series finale puck drop set for 4:00 p.m.