PORTLAND – It was a contrast in styles: a smaller, quicker team that feeds off transition opportunities against a big, physical club that gets the puck deep and uses its strength to cycle the puck and create chances.
Cornell University’s aptly named Big Red rallied for a pair of second-period goals to tie the University of Maine’s Black Bears 2-2 before 6,667 at the Cumberland County Civic Center Tuesday night.
Maine is now 13-2-3 and has extended its non-conference unbeaten streak to 20 games (17-0-3). Cornell is now 4-7-1 and snaped a five-game losing streak.
Dan Kerluke and Ben Guite staked Maine to a 2-0 lead in the first period with Guite’s goal coming on the power play.
The Big Red equalized in the second period on Mark McRae’s power-play goal at the 1:18 mark and Ryan Moynihan’s even-strength goal 6:23 later.
“Our guys worked their tails off,” said Maine coach Shawn Walsh. “It was our third game in five days and I was happy to come out of this stretch without a loss (2-0-1), especially considering we were without Barrett Heisten and Doug Janik [who were with the U.S. team at the World Junior championships].”
Maine junior left winger Kerluke said Cornell was a really good team.
” I’m not trying to make excuses but we were a little tired and when you play three games in five days and third game is against a big, physical team, it takes a lot out of you,” he said.
“We played well. We made a couple of mistakes and they capitalized. We had a lot of chances but we didn’t convert them,” added Kerluke.
Kerluke opened the scoring by converting off a productive forecheck deep in the Cornell zone.
Kerluke was laying on the ice and as he scrambled to his feet, he flipped a backhander into the far corner from a near-impossible angle to the left of Cornell goalie Matt Underhill.
Maine, which flew into Portland from Denver on Monday, had the better chances in the period and caught a break when Andrew McNiven’s slap shot from the right circle appeared to hit the back of the net and come right out.
The goal light did not come on and referee John Gravallese told Cornell coach Mike Schafer it hit the crossbar.
Five minutes later, Guite finished off a well-orchestrated passing play when Niko Dimitrakos slipped the puck from behind the net to Cory Larose, who fed a cross-ice to Guite.
Guite one-timed it into the short side.
Cornell gained momentum at the outset of the second period when Doug Stienstra, positioned behind the net, set up the wide open McRae in front.
McRae one-timed a wrist shot over Mike Morrison’s glove from 15 feet out.
A similar play resulted in the equalizer when David Hovey found Moynihan cruising the low slot and Moynihan finished with a 12-footer.
Maine began to take the game over in the third period but Morrison was forced to save Doug Murray’s blast off a shorthanded two-on-one from the left circle. The slap shot went between his legs but Morrison got enough of it to have it richochet out the short side.
Morrison made a good chest save on Stienstra’s 15-footer from the slot and Cornell’s Krzysztod Wieckowski hit the crossbar from the right circle.
In the waning moments of regulation, Underhill stopped Peter Metcalf’s shot from the top of the circle and Dimitrakos’ followup.
Anders Lundback had the best chance in overtime as he broke in alone down the left wing but shot wide.
Maine outshot Cornell 40-22.
Black Bears 2, Big Red 2
Cornell 0 2 0 0 – 2 Maine 2 0 0 0 – 2
First period – 1. Maine, Kerluke 7 (Larose, Dimitrakos), 2:47; 2. Maine, Guite 7 (Larose, Dimitrakos), 15:49 (pp); Penalties: Maine, Kerluke, hitting after the whistle, 5:15; Cornell, Powell, interference and hitting after the whistle, 5:15; Maine, too many men on the ice (served by Liscak), 6:37; Cornell, Francis, holding, 14:59; Cornell, Pierce, interference, 16:12
Second period – 3. Cornell, McRae 2 (Stienstra, Ladouceur), 1:18 (pp); 4. Cornell, Moynihan 4 (Hovey, Rutter), 7:41; Penalties: Maine, Schutte, holding, :56; Cornell, Baby, holding, 8:41; Cornell, Pierce, interference, 13:40
Third period – No scoring; Penalties: Cornell, Pierce, interference, 4:29; Maine, Liscak, 10-minute misconduct, 4:29; Maine, Metcalf, minor, 20:00; Cornell, Baby, minor, 20:00
Shots on goal: Cornell 9-8-5-0-22; Maine 11-16-130-40
High-percentage scoring chances: Cornell 2-10-3-0-15; Maine 10-13-10-2-35
Power-play Opportunities: Cornell 1 of 2; Maine 1 of 6
Goaltenders: Cornell, Underhill (38 shots-36 saves); Maine, Morrison (20-18)