ORONO —  The tone in Tim Whitehead’s voice was unmistakable. 

The typically mild-mannered University of Maine hockey coach unleashed a brief but impassioned tirade in the wake of his team’s 4-3 overtime loss to New Hampshire.

He voiced his frustration with his team’s inability to close the door on what seemed like a sure win over one of the nation’s top teams. He voiced his disgust with what he believed was a missed call by the officials.

And he voiced the obvious dissatisfaction with the outcome.

“I’m real disappointed in our team,” Whitehead said. “We had a chance to make it 4-1. We had them down 3-1. We had chances to finish it off and we didn’t get it done. And again, I’m disappointed in the officials, too. They missed a call on (Phil DeSimone) in the end, holding (Mike) Cornell when we’re trying to clear the puck. I didn’t feel they were at their best and I don’t care about saying it.

“But mostly, I’m disappointed in our team. We had a chance. We were up 3-1 and we had a chance to go up 4-1 and we didn’t make it happen. That’s inexcusable, in a big game like this, not to have their composure.”

As he stormed away from the postgame media scrum, Whitehead continued to express his disgust, kicking a wall inside the Black Bears locker room as he walked away.

The loss didn’t sit well at all with the No. 6 Black Bears, some of whom considered Friday’s game to be a “statement game,” against New Hampshire, not only a traditional rival but the No. 3 team in the country.

“It’s a tough loss,” said junior forward Brian Flynn, who scored a second-period goal. “To have a 3-1 lead going into the third, and lose the game is unacceptable.”

Jeff Silengo, who had yet to score a goal in 13 games entering Friday night’s Hockey East game at Alfond Arena, scored twice, including the winner 1:26 into overtime to help the Wildcats (10-2-4, 8-1-2 Hockey East) rally for their fourth consecutive win.

Silengo cut Maine’s lead to 3-2 at 8:24 of the third period before Dalton Speelman tied the game with 18.3 seconds left in regulation, ending a stretch of nearly a minute in which UNH pulled goalie Matt DiGirolamo (27 saves) for a sixth skater.

“We stayed positive,” said Silengo, whose shot from the right circle in overtime beat Maine goalie Martin Ouellette. “We didn’t let the crowd get to us and we just tried to move forward in everything. I was just trying to play how I always play, play good defense and not turn the puck over. I wasn’t looking to get a goal. I was looking not to get scored on.”

UNH took a 1-0 lead at 5:22 on Paul Thompson’s power-play goal, but less than two minutes later, Robby Dee tied the game on the Black Bears’ first shot of the game, Dee’s wrist shot from the left circle that beat DiGirolamo.

Flynn and Gustav Nyquist gave Maine (7-4-4, 5-3-2) a 3-1 lead six minutes into the second period.

Flynn streaked in to pick up a rebound off Josh Van Dyk’s shot from the left point and fired from the right circle past DiGirolamo at 1:03 of the second. Nyquist blocked defenseman Matt Campanale’s shot at the top of Maine’s defensive zone, then picked up the turnover and took the puck down the ice to beat DiGirolamo uncontested.

But Mark Anthoine was ejected from the game at 6:37 after he checked Austin Block into the end boards, awarding UNH a five-minute power play.

In that time, the Black Bears allowed just three shots on Ouellette (21 saves), and referees waved off DeSimone’s apparent goal at 9:30 after video review determined that the puck did not cross the goal line.

Staff Writer Rachel Lenzi can be contacted at 791-6415 or at:

[email protected]