BURLINGTON, Vt. – Nothing was going to stop Spencer Abbott.

Not the pair of defenders that met him at the blue line, and not the lone man that stood between Abbott and a guaranteed shot on goal.

Abbott’s goal with 2:44 left in overtime gave the University of Maine hockey team a 3-2 win over Vermont on Saturday night at Gutterson Field House.

Josh Van Dyk’s clearing attempt after a faceoff in the defensive zone ricocheted off the boards and into the neutral zone. Abbott picked up the puck and stepped between a pair of Vermont defensemen. He met goalie Rob Madore, and in a split-second went to his forehand to score the winning goal.

“He fires it off the boards and as soon as I see it, I’m gone,” said Abbott, describing one of Maine’s set plays. “The puck went off and as soon as we won the draw, I took off.”

Abbott’s goal capped a game that both Maine Coach Tim Whitehead and Vermont Coach Kevin Sneddon described as a quality college hockey game, complete with physicality (10 penalties), special teams play (two power-play goals for each team) and a back-and-forth swing in momentum.

“I love the way (the Catamounts) compete and I think we competed well, so it was a real good hockey game,” Whitehead said. “It had a little bit of everything. It had a lot of ingredients for a great college hockey game, with OT and the whole thing.”

Sneddon reflected on a season-opening stretch in which Vermont (0-2-2, 0-1-1 Hockey East) has yet to win.

“Obviously, we’re frustrated,” Sneddon said. “We’ve played in a lot of overtimes without any feel of victory and I feel bad for our guys, for our staff, but again, we’re built for the marathon, not for the sprint. There’s a lot of lessons to be learned from these tough moments.”

Sixth-ranked Maine (4-1-2, 2-0-0) outshot Vermont by more than a 2-1 margin. After a scoreless first period in which Maine outshot Vermont 15-8, the Black Bears took a 1-0 lead at 6:26 of the second.

Camped to the right of Madore (39 saves), Tanner House took a pass from Gustav Nyquist as Nyquist skated behind the net and beat Madore with a high shot.

With 4:14 left in the second and Madore off the ice as the Catamounts awaited a delayed penalty call, Wahsontiio Stacey tied the game on a shot from directly in front of Maine goalie Dan Sullivan (23 saves).

But the Black Bears were awarded a power play when Dan Lawson was called for tripping with 4.8 seconds left in the second, and Robby Dee gave Maine a 2-1 lead when a shot off the faceoff hit Madore and came back out to Dee, who scored with 0.8 seconds left in the period.

“We wanted to try to get something,” House said. “Our key was just to try to get to the net and, who knows, maybe get a late one.”

The Catamounts tied the game at 8:37 of the third on a five-on-three power play when Jack Downing tipped in Drew MacKenzie’s shot from the point. In overtime, Sullivan stopped Medvec and Sebastian Stalberg before Abbott got the winner.


Staff Writer Rachel Lenzi can be reached at 791-6415 or at: [email protected]