ORONO – The University of Maine power play was ranked 58th among 59 NCAA Division I men’s hockey teams entering Friday night’s game against No. 8 Boston College.
But the Bears scored a pair of power-play goals for just the second time this season, the second one coming off the stick of junior defenseman Simon Danis-Pepin with 10:04 remaining to give the Bears a 3-3 overtime tie with the Eagles at Alfond Arena.
The two teams will play again tonight at 7 after having tied their first two meetings.
The Bears were on the power play when BC’s Nathan Gerbe got involved in a confrontation with Maine goalie Ben Bishop. A scuffled ensued and Gerbe received the extra penalty, giving Maine a two-man advantage for 45 seconds.
Gerbe denied any wrongdoing, saying he was tackled “by five Black Bears” after skating in front of Bishop.
BC coach Jerry York benched Gerbe for the rest of the period after he served his double minor.
The Bears didn’t capitalize on the two-man advantage, but seven seconds later, they did score with the one-man advantage. Bret Tyler fed the puck to Danis-Pepin at the top of the slot, and the 6-foot-7 defenseman beat BC freshman goalie John Muse with a wrist shot over his glove.
“I saw [Rob Bellamy] cutting to the front of the net, so there was a screen and I just ripped it,” said Danis-Pepin.
“It’s always nice to get two power-play goals against a great team like BC,” said Tyler, who had two assists to go with his goal. “We had a nice comeback in the third period. We played with confidence.”
BC coach Jerry York said his team “did a lot of things very well, but we didn’t hold our composure in a key part of the game.”
Moments earlier, BC had a golden opportunity to take a 4-2 lead while killing the first Maine power play when Matt Greene generated a breakaway.
But Bishop held his ground and kicked out Greene’s shot with his right pad.
“I looked at his eyes and I knew he was going to try to go five-hole,” said Bishop.
Both teams had chances to win it in regulation and overtime, but both goalies came up with timely stops.
Tanner House had a great chance in overtime when he was set up in the low slot by Bellamy, but he pushed his shot inches wide of the far post.
“It was a great pass by [Bellamy]. It was so close. I should have scored,” said House.
Maine is now 8-10-3 overall and 4-7-3 in Hockey East. BC is 11-5-7 and 7-3-6, respectively.
BC outshot Maine 35-20.
Maine senior center Keenan Hopson, who had missed the previous three games with a separated shoulder, reinjured the shoulder in the second period and did not return.
Bellamy staked the Black Bears to a 1-0 lead while Maine was enjoying a four-on-three power play, but Greene equalized.
Tyler scored a fluke goal early in the second period from center ice, but Matt Price tied it and Dan Bertram broke the deadlock on the power play.
Bellamy opened the scoring when he swept the rebound of an Andrew Sweetland one-timer through Muse’s pads. Tyler had made a diagonal pass to Sweetland for the one-timer from the top of the right circle.
Greene tied it 7:42 later while falling to the ice. Pat Gannon threw the pass in front from the right corner and Greene deflected it over Bishop’s shoulder into the upper short side corner.
“That was a great tip,” said Bishop.
Just 13 seconds into the second period, Tyler took a slap shot from beyond the blue line near the left wing boards and Muse casually tried to flick it to the corner with his stick only to have it deflect behind him into the net.
“I’ve tried that a couple of times. I was just trying to catch him by surprise. I was hoping to generate a rebound,” said Tyler.
Price answered 1:30 later when he took a pass from Matt Lombardi and broke through the neutral zone on a two-on-one.
Maine’s Mike Banwell and Vince Laise collided at center ice and that gave Price a free lane to the net. He made a few moves on Bishop before tucking it nicely into the net.
Bertram snapped Maine’s streak of 34 consecutive penalty kills when he cut across the slot, accepted a pass from Joe Whitney and fired a rising wrister over Bishop’s glove.
“I never saw it,” said Bishop.
Carl Sneep nearly expanded the lead moments later when a wild scramble resulted in the puck squirting to him at the top of the right circle.
With Bishop way out of the net, Sneep’s low wrister hit the far post.
Maine coach Time Whitehead said he liked the fact his team didn’t get flustered when they fell behind “and stuck to the game plan. We were able to come back and the crowd was great.”
Maine went 2-for-5 on the power play while BC went 1-for-6.
BLACK BEARS 3, EAGLES 3 (OT)
Boston College (11-5-7) 1 2 0 0 – 3
Maine (8-10-3) 1 1 1 0 – 3
First period – 1. Maine, Bellamy 4 (Sweetland, Tyler), 8:36 (pp); 2. BC, Greene 6 (Gannon, Price), 16:18. Penalties: Maine, Ramsey, interference, 1:17; BC, Whitney, hit after whistle, 7:27; Maine, Orsini, hit after whistle, 7:27; BC, Brennan, interference, 8:17.
Second period – 3. Maine, Tyler 6 (Ramsey, House), :13; 4. BC, Price 2 (Lombardi) 1:43; 5. BC, Bertram 5 (Whitney, Smith) 8:39 (pp). Penalties: Maine, Dimmen, holding, 2:14; Maine, Bellamy, contact to the head-elbowing, 8:12; Maine, Randall, hit after whistle, 9:05; BC, Brennan, hit after whistle, 9:05; Maine, Orsini, hit after whistle, 9:05; BC, Petrecki, hit after whistle, 9:05; BC, Ferriero, roughing, 11:36; Maine, Randall, charging, 14:49; BC, Whitney, slashing, 18:25.
Third period – 6. Maine, Danis-Pepin 2 (Tyler, Bellamy), 9:54 (pp). Penalties: Maine, too many on ice, :59; BC, Filangieri, hooking 7:47; Maine, Bishop, hit after whistle, 9:02; BC, Ferriero, hit after whistle, 9:02; Maine, Laise, hit after whistle, 9:02; BC, Gerbe, hit after whistle, 9:02; BC, Gerbe, roughing, 9:02; Maine, Marshall, contact to the head-elbowing, 10:09; BC, Gannon, slashing, 17:01; Maine, Bellamy, slashing, 17:01.
Overtime – No scoring. Penalties: none.
Shots on goal: Boston College 8-11-15-1-35; Maine 7-3-8-2-20
Goaltenders: Boston College, Muse (20 shots-17 saves); Maine, Bishop (35-32)
Power-play opportunities: Boston College 1 of 6; Maine 2 of 5
High-percentage scoring chances: Boston College 9-4-9-1-23; Maine 5-4-3-2-14
Tickets issued: 5,365