BURLINGTON, Vt. — Athletes always hear that bad bounces even out over the course of a season.

Something fluky may go against you one night, but somewhere down the line a bizarre play works in your favor.

The Maine hockey team got some immediate payback Saturday, courtesy of Connor Leen’s shoulder. The senior forward’s second goal of the night proved to be the winner in a 4-2 victory over Vermont at Gutterson Fieldhouse.

“They say the hockey gods are on your side when you’re starting to play well, so it was only a matter of time until we got a bounce our way,” Leen said after helping the Black Bears tie their Hockey East playoff series at one game apiece. The decisive Game 3 will be at 7 p.m. Sunday.

Maine (14-21-3) lost an eighth consecutive game to Vermont on Friday, 4-2, with the Catamounts scoring the tying goal on a deflection and a weird hop over Maine goaltender Matt Morris.

On Saturday, Leen was going to the net in heavy traffic when a Bill Norman shot was tipped off his shoulder, then fluttered skyward and fell to the ice behind Vermont goaltender Mike Santaguida, who was sliding backward in the crease. The puck slithered into the net off Santaguida’s left skate to put Maine ahead 3-2 at 16:16 of the second period.

“We got the member’s bounce, you’d call it in golf,” Leen said. “We’ll take those any night.”

Maine, the 10th seed, scored in the opening minute of the first and second periods and never trailed. Cedric Lacroix redirected a Steven Swavely shot 55 seconds into the game for a 1-0 lead. After seventh-seeded Vermont (19-13-4) tied the score on a five-on-three power play, the Black Bears struck again 36 seconds into the second period.

Cam Brown had the puck in the right corner and fired it to Leen streaking toward the goal for the tap-in.

“He’s just a really creative guy, and if you get open the chances are he’s going to find you with the puck,” Leen said of Brown, who later added a team-leading 22nd assist.

“Just finding open ice for them to get you the puck is a big thing. He did a great job of finding me there.”

A Maine defensive breakdown allowed the Catamounts to tie the score 2-2. Brendan Bradley found a free path to Maine goaltender Sean Romeo and blasted a shot past his stick.

Leen’s fortuitous goal put the Black Bears back in front heading to the third period. It was the fifth one-goal lead of the weekend for Maine, which faltered in that spot in Friday’s loss.

This time, Maine built on the lead thanks to a nifty Swavely pass out front to Brian Morgan, who lifted the puck over Santaguida for a 4-2 lead at 11:41 of the third.

Vermont pulled Santaguida with three minutes left, but Romeo, a freshman in his first playoff game, was equal to the challenge, coming up with 21 saves to extend the season.

“They were lights-out tonight. They made it so easy for me,” Romeo said of his defensemen.

He found out at the team’s Saturday morning skate that he’d be starting and was excited about the opportunity. Early in the game, Romeo snared a slap shot with his glove, and he said that helped settle any nerves.

Maine Coach Red Gendron wouldn’t commit to Romeo for Game 3, saying he thought Romeo and Morris both were solid this weekend.

“When you’re on the road and you’re playing with the lead or you’re tied, it’s much more comfortable,” he pointed out.

The season is on the line for both teams Sunday.

“We haven’t done anything yet,” Romeo said. “We’ve won half of what we’re trying to do.”