ORONO – It was exactly the kind of pivotal play that’s expected out of Joey Diamond.

It was a play that not only resulted in a crucial third-period goal, but it changed the momentum in the University of Maine’s 4-2 hockey win over Northeastern on Saturday night.

Diamond’s goal tied the game at 2-2 and helped fuel the Black Bears to their second come-from-behind win in as many nights.

“That was such a huge goal,” Maine Coach Tim Whitehead said. “Dave Alexander, our goalie coach, said to me right before the third period, ‘We need a Joey Diamond goal.’ And it’s exactly what we needed. He willed that puck into the net. That was a big turning point.”

Less than five minutes into the third, Diamond picked up the puck off the boards behind the Northeastern goal and put a backhander between the pads of goalie Chris Rawlings.

The goal, Diamond’s sixth of the season, was one of two in a span of less than two and a half minutes. Ryan Hegarty’s goal at 6:27 of the third gave Maine its first lead.

Friday night, Diamond’s goal helped Maine avoid overtime and take a 4-2 win.

“It wasn’t just only Joey’s goal, but it’s his whole style of play,” Hegarty said. “He not only gives us momentum, but he gives us a lot of energy and he’s good for a goal a game, I think, if he plays this way.”

Hegarty’s first goal of the season helped Maine (6-1-3, 4-0-1 Hockey East) extend its unbeaten streak to six games.

A night after being outshot 34-19, Northeastern created more chances around the Maine net and took a 2-1 lead in the final minute of the second period on Wade MacLeod’s goal.

But the Huskies (1-7-2, 1-4-1) put only four shots on goal in the third — all in the final eight minutes.

“We were trying to transition and trying to force plays,” Hegarty said of Maine’s first- and second-period play. “We tried to go back to our game plan and just trust that it would work.”

Northeastern took a 1-0 lead at 7:23 of the first period when MacLeod’s pass from the corner found Tyler McNeely in the slot, and McNeely beat Maine goalie Dan Sullivan (17 saves).

Spencer Abbott’s power-play goal tied the game at 4:19 of the second, after Northeastern’s Mike McLaughlin was assessed a five-minute major and a game misconduct for contact to the head at 1:15. McLaughlin collided with Maine center Robby Dee at the top of Maine’s defensive zone, sending Dee to the ice and his helmet skidding in the opposite direction.

The penalty gave the Black Bears their best chance at the equalizer, and Abbott’s shot from above the right circle beat Rawlings (36 saves).

MacLeod gave Northeastern a 2-1 lead with less than two minutes left in the second, despite the Huskies being outshot 13-6 in the period.

After the goals by Diamond and Hegarty, Klas Leidermark added an insurance goal with 7:38 left.

“We knew it was going to be that kind of game,” Diamond said. “We knew it was going to be a game where everyone contributed. That’s what happened (Friday) and it’s kind of been the story of the year. Everyone’s contributed to our wins, and it’s a good feeling.

Staff Writer Rachel Lenzi can be reached at 791-6415 or at:

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