DURHAM, N.H. – The University of Maine men’s hockey team looked stunned as it left the ice Saturday night at the Whittemore Center.

It wasn’t just the fact that Paul Thompson’s winning goal stood after video review, but the Black Bears were stunned by the series of events that led to Thompson’s goal with 15.3 seconds left in New Hampshire’s 5-4 win over the Black Bears.

Thirty seconds after Gustav Nyquist’s shot on an open net hit the post and bounced back out, the Wildcats raced up the ice on their final rush and created their most pivotal scoring chance.

Thompson, a senior left wing who had been held without a point up to the final minute of the game, flicked a backhander on net and the shot dropped behind Maine goalie Shawn Sirman, who finished with 22 saves.

“I kind of fumbled with a pass and ended up going a little wider,” Thompson said. “Then I just threw the puck on net and I’m not sure how it got in.

“I saw the crowd go nuts and I knew it was in. I was just trying to throw it on net and see what would happen.”

As the referees reviewed the play, Thompson was still trying to sort out what had just transpired.

“I had no idea because I didn’t know how the puck went in,” Thompson said. “I didn’t know if they were reviewing mine or if they were just checking to see if the other one (Nyquist’s shot) went in.”

The video review did little to relieve the Black Bears (11-9-6, 8-7-4 Hockey East), who are winless in their last four games and in fifth place in the league standings with 20 points, five behind Boston University and Merrimack, who are tied for third, and one point ahead of sixth-place Northeastern.

“It was just bad feelings,” said Maine right wing Kyle Beattie, who scored two goals. “I think we knew that it was going to be a goal.

“It’s just that feeling that we’ve had over and over again this year, battling and playing so hard and playing so well and losing it in the last minute or giving it up in the last minute.

“We weren’t going to give up we knew we could win the game, but then we just kind of had a breakdown the last 30 seconds.”

John Henrion’s wrist shot from the top of the right circle gave UNH a 1-0 lead 5:26 into the game. The Black Bears (11-9-6, 8-7-4 Hockey East) took a 2-1 lead at 16:31 of the first on goals by Beattie and Nyquist before Henrion’s second goal tied the game with 39.5 seconds left in the period.

Nyquist missed his first empty-net opportunity at 7:35 of the second when, with UNH goalie Matt DiGirolamo prone after stopping Tanner House’s shot, Nyquist picked up the rebound, then fired high and wide.

Midway through the second, Kevin Goumas’ goal gave UNH a 3-2 lead, and leading up to Thompson’s winner, Maine and UNH (17-5-4, 15-2-2) combined for three goals in the third.

Beattie’s second tied the game at 3 at 8:13, followed by Mike Borisenok’s goal 1:31 later. Will O’Neill tied it for Maine again, 4-4, with 6:36 left, less than six minutes before Nyquist beat DiGirolamo to a loose puck in the slot and hit the post on an otherwise open net.

“This was the best game I’ve been in all year,” Sirman said. “It must have been exciting for the fans, but we couldn’t get the two points we wanted.”

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

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