FREDERICTON, New Brunswick – Penalty-killing was a strength of the University of Maine Black Bears in Friday night’s men’s hockey exhibition win over the University of New Brunswick, but it was a liability on Saturday night.
The Varsity Reds scored three power-play goals in the third period to erase a 6-3 deficit and earn a 6-6 tie with the Black Bears at the Aitken University Centre.
The teams did not play overtime at UNB’s request, according to Maine coach Tim Whitehead, so they went straight to a shootout and UNB won 1-0 on Justin DaCosta’s goal.
A UNB player was injured late in the third period and there was a lengthy delay.
“The positives are that we were able to get to their net and we were pretty smart with the puck. The negatives were we took too many penalties and didn’t kill them off,” said Whitehead, whose team allowed five power-play goals in 12 UNB attempts.
UNB scored a pair of five-on-three goals.
Maine went 1-for-6 on the power play.
On Friday, Maine had gone 3-for-4 on the power play and held UNB scoreless in seven tries.
Kyle Bailey tied the game on the power play with 2:32 remaining. He had initiated the three-goal flurry at the 10:42 mark and Hunter Trembley pulled UNB within 6-5 at the 16:42 mark.
Sophomore center Keif Orsini and freshman winger Theo Andersson scored a pair of goals apiece for the Black Bears with Chris Hahn and Jeff Dimmen scoring the others.
Daine Todd, Tremblay and Dustin Friesen had the other UNB goals.
“We won the special teams Friday night and they won them tonight,” said Whitehead, whose team was assessed a two-minute protocol minor for leaving the ice too early after the conclusion of a period.
Maine freshman goalie Scott Darling played the first 45:43, making 26 saves on 29 shots before suffering leg cramps.
Junior Dave Wilson replaced him and allowed the final three goals on 11 shots.
“Scott played really well. It was tough for [Wilson] coming off the bench. This was a good lesson for him that he has to be focused [when he doesn’t start] because he may have to come in,” said Whitehead.
Andersson opened the scoring in the first period before Orsini’s two goals expanded the lead to 3-0.
Todd got one back late in the period.
Tremblay and Friesen tied it in the second period before Hahn, Dimmen and Andersson re-established the three-goal bulge later in the middle period.
“This was a good lesson for us,” said Maine senior defenseman and co-captain Simon Danis-Pepin. “We have to stick to the game plan all the time.”
Danis-Pepin said the Bears got too fancy with the puck instead of getting it to safe space and that led to penalties and UNB goals.
“But it was good to see us score 11 goals on the weekend. And I was really impressed with Darling,” said Danis-Pepin.
Orsini had shoulder surgery at the beginning of the summer and said scoring a pair of goals “helps your confidence.”
He also said the fact a lot of different players produced points bodes well for the future.
Anderson had an assist to go with his two goals. Brett Carriere had three assists.
Maine opens against Alaska-Anchorage in Fairbanks, Alaska, on Friday night.