Wednesday, June 19, 2013
ORONO - Kyle Beattie didn't want to miss out on Senior Weekend.
After missing six games with his season's third concussion, Beattie returned in style Friday, scoring the first of three unanswered goals in the third period to rally Maine past Northeastern 3-1 before 3,738 at Alfond Arena.
"He has a real nice presence on and off the ice," said Maine Coach Tim Whitehead. "He's a calming influence, and that can be important in games that get a little hectic."
Ben Hutton added the game-winner and Mark Anthoine an empty-netter for the Black Bears, who moved into a tie with the University of Massachusetts for the eighth and final playoff spot in Hockey East.
Maine (10-17-6 overall, 6-12-6 HE) won for only the second time at Alfond, which had a season-low attendance in large part because students began a two-week spring break Friday. The Black Bears dug themselves a 1-0 hole through two periods, and entered the third needing to kill most of a five-minute major penalty given to defenseman Jake Rutt for boarding after his check left Northeastern freshman Mike McMurtry prone on the ice for several minutes.
Surviving that Northeastern power play gave Maine the spark it had lacked, and Beattie's crazy-angle shortside goal from near the right boards swung the pendulum in favor of the Black Bears.
"We were nervous in the first, and really in the second we still weren't playing the way we could play," Whitehead said. "The turning point, oddly enough, was the five-minute major."
Within two minutes after Northeastern's long but fruitless power play, Beattie gathered in a pass near the red line from Mark Nemec and skated up the right wing. He had a teammate approaching the slot, but a defender blocking the passing lane.
"I didn't really have anything, so I thought I'd give it a shot," said Beattie, who knew from scouting reports that 6-foot-5 goalie Chris Rawlings sometimes had difficulty with low shots from odd angles. "I think it might have surprised him that I threw it in from that angle and it just worked out."
Four minutes later, Hutton scored from the low slot.
"You can't afford to have a mental lapse in a game where the margins are so fine," said Northeastern Coach Jim Madigan. "I thought we played very well for two periods."
Rawlings saw 34 shots while Maine's Martin Ouellette faced just 20.
"I think we've got to give credit to our whole team for killing off the five-minute (penalty)," Beattie said. "That immediately gave us all the momentum."
Northeastern had taken a 1-0 lead early in the second period when senior Vinny Saponari beat Ouellette blocker-side.
The Black Bears had three power plays later in the period, but came up empty each time. Not until killing off the long Northeastern power play did Maine come alive, thanks to Beattie, whose parents and grandmother were in attendance for this final home weekend of his college career.
"I would have been pretty upset if I hadn't been able to play," he said. "I'm glad to be back and help the team win, especially for Senior Weekend."
Glenn Jordan can be contacted at 791-6425 or at: