Thursday, December 5, 2013
By DALE DUFF Special to the Press Herald
ORONO - Sometimes a second of time can last forever. In the case of UMaine's exhibition hockey game Sunday against the University of New Brunswick, one second took about four minutes.
WHO: Maine vs. Notre Dame
WHEN: 7 p.m. Friday
WHERE: Kansas City, Mo.
That was the amount of time officials needed for a replay review to make sure a possible winning goal by New Brunswick's Chad Denny came after time expired in overtime. It did, and the teams settled for a 2-2 tie.
"Man, that last goal gave me a heart attack," said UMaine freshman goalie Matt Morris. "I thought I heard the horn, but you can never be too positive."
"I wish we had just a little second more," said UNB Coach Gardiner MacDougall.
New Brunswick peppered Maine goalie Martin Ouellette with 10 shots in the first 11 minutes. The early pressure resulted in a goal on terrific passing -- Colby Pridham to Thomas Nesbitt to Cam Critchlow, who beat Ouellette 7:48 into the game.
A couple of minutes later, Maine freshman Steven Swavely drove to the net, and after goalie Dan LaCosta made the save a scuffle broke out, sending two players from each team to the penalty box.
The skirmish seemed to ignite the Black Bears. Devin Shore and Conor Leen had point-blank shots stopped by LaCosta, but Maine tied it with 5:12 left in the period when Shore passed to an open Kyle Beattie about 15 feet in front of the net.
Late in the period, UNB's Bryce Swan picked up a major and game misconduct for hitting from behind, and Maine made the visitors pay. Just 1:11 into the second period, Shore was camped out to the right of the net and Adam Shemansky found him for a goal that gave Maine a 2-1 lead.
"It's funny, you think about it all summer and then when you're in the game you don't think about it," Shore said of his first goal in a Maine uniform, though it won't count in his stats because it wasn't an official game.
"It was good to get it out of the way early. Shemansky made a great pass."
Freshman goalie Matt Morris made a glove save on UNB's Antoine Houde-Caron with 11 seconds left in the second period to preserve the lead. Morris replaced Ouellette midway through the period.
Two minutes into the third, however, UNB tied it on a blast from the left point by Denny.
Then came the 5-minute overtime, and UNB controlled most of the play. It didn't help that Bruce O'Connor was called for goalie interference with 1:57 to go. UNB took plenty of time to set up its offense, and just as the horn sounded, Denny ripped a shot from the right faceoff circle that beat Morris. But officials said it came too late, and replay confirmed it.
A 2-2 tie never felt so good for the 3,458 fans at Alfond. Maine, coming off a 2-1 loss to Quinnipiac in its season opener Saturday night, outshot UNB 33-29.
"When you look at the two games this weekend, it's really going to help us," said Maine Coach Tim Whitehead. "To play two really good teams, with veteran players and good goalies, it's going to help, even this weekend in Kansas City (at the Ice Breaker Tournament)."