ORONO – They still have the brassy band, the rowdy students and the supportive home crowd.
What the University of Maine Black Bears still don’t have is an entirely successful night at Alfond Arena.
Maine and Vermont skated to a 2-2 tie in a Hockey East game before a crowd of 3,787 Saturday night.
“Obviously not the result we wanted,” said Coach Tim Whitehead, “but there were a lot of positives that we can build off of.”
Maine (2-10-2, 1-6-2 Hockey East) picked up a point but remained in the league basement. Vermont is 3-7-3, 3-5-3.
After dropping a 2-1 decision to Vermont on Friday night — which included an apparent tying goal in the final seven seconds overturned by video review — the Black Bears took to the ice for the eighth time at Alfond this season, still seeking their first home victory.
They had chances right away, as Vermont was called for three penalties in the first 15 minutes. A power-play unit that had been showing signs of life — with goals in three of the previous four games — came up empty, however.
The Black Bears soon found themselves with two minutes of a five-on-three disadvantage because of consecutive penalties to Kyle Beattie (cross-checking) and Mike Cornell (tripping), but managed to kill them off and escape the first period without a score.
Each team scored in the second. Vermont took a 1-0 lead when Matt White pounced on the rebound of a shot from the point by Nick Luukko and lifted a short backhander past Maine goalie Martin Ouellette.
The Black Bears tied it on the second goal of the season by freshman Ben Hutton, whose shot from the left circle trickled in off the pads of Vermont goalie Brody Hoffman. Adam Shemansky, whose rebound caromed to Hutton, was credited with an assist.
“I thought our effort was pretty good,” Hutton said. “It’s still not a (victory). They’re going to feel good when they come.”
After several good chances to take the lead, the Black Bears fell behind 2-1 when UVM senior Tobias Nilsson-Roos buried the second rebound of a flurry against Ouellette with only five seconds remaining before the break.
Maine tied it early in the third. The nettlesome Joey Diamond goaded a Vermont defenseman into a high-sticking penalty, then scored on the power play. Diamond gathered the rebound of his own shot and poked it past Hoffman. It was his third goal of the season, tying him for the team lead.
“He outwaited me there,” Hoffman said of Diamond.
A slashing penalty on Shemansky with 49 seconds left in regulation gave Vermont its only power play of the period, but the Black Bears held on to force overtime.
After killing off the remainder of the penalty, the Black Bears needed a stellar save by Ouellette off Robert Polesello — left alone in the low slot — to preserve the tie.
Staff Writer Glenn Jordan can be contacted at 791-6425 or at: