ORONO – The University of Maine men’s hockey team didn’t cling with desperation to a one-goal lead. Instead, the Black Bears protected it through the better part of a 3-1 win over Providence.
Saturday at Alfond Arena, junior defenseman Matt Mangene gave the Black Bears a 2-1 lead 23 seconds into the second period but from that point on, the Black Bears couldn’t find a way to beat Providence goalie Alex Beaudry.
Instead, the Black Bears had to defend their lead with poise and confidence.
“We played from the D-zone,” Mangene said. “We played smart and hard and made sure we got pucks out, and we stuck to our team systems, which is a big thing. We made sure we did that for a full 60 minutes.”
Mangene’s goal was one of five shots the Black Bears put on Beaudry (25 saves) in the second period, and Beaudry kept Maine from widening its lead in the first six minutes of the third, making eight saves.
The Black Bears (3-2-1, 3-1 Hockey East) killed off a pair of penalties in a stretch of seven minutes — an elbowing penalty against Will O’Neill at 7:34 and a tripping penalty against Adam Shemansky at 11:35.
Finally, the Black Bears withstood an offensive push by the Friars in the final three minutes of regulation, after Providence (2-3-1, 2-2) pulled Beaudry for a sixth skater.
An apparent goal by Andy Balysky with 54.1 seconds left was waved off, as officials ruled on the ice that the net had been dislodged, and Maine goalie Dan Sullivan (26 saves) made four saves in the final 1:16 before Klas Leidermark ensured the win with an empty-net goal with 1.2 seconds left in the game.
“He wasn’t rattled,” Maine Coach Tim Whitehead said of Sullivan. “He had a lot of confidence and I liked his presence in net.
“He was composed, strong and didn’t get rattled, and was good in scrambled. And he helped us out.”
Adam Shemansky gave Maine a 1-0 lead at 10:55 of the first. Less than two minutes later, Damian Cross caught Sullivan well out of position and shot from the left circle into an open net to tie the game on a power-play goal.
Mangene’s first goal of the season gave Maine a 2-1 lead 23 seconds into the second, and Maine was able to maintain its lead despite being outshot 13-11 in the third period.
“It was one of those nights where we were fighting the puck a lot, but I thought our guys did a good job of battling through it,” Providence Coach Nate Leaman said. “We had some chances in the third. “… It was a good sign for them to respond from a tough loss last night and come out like that.”
Staff Writer Rachel Lenzi can be reached at 791-6415 or at: