GORHAM — Angelo Vrachnas will take bloodied over beaten any day.

Vrachnas picked up a small gash and a butterfly stitch on his chin Tuesday night, and his University of Southern Maine hockey team picked up an impressive 3-1 win over Bowdoin at the USM Ice Arena.

“I play a pretty physical game,” said Vrachnas, a 6-foot-2, 200-pound forward. “But I got (the cut) when I gave (Ryan Seward) a big hug on the empty-netter. I got a little overexcited, I guess.”

Vrachnas’ power-play goal 4:58 into the third period made it 1-1, and he assisted on John Grandinetti’s winning goal at 17:58 as USM (4-4) rallied for a third straight win after opening the season with a win and four consecutive losses.

USM goaltender Braely Torris was the star of the game, making 23 saves, including a handful on breakaways.

“We had our chances but that’s what a goalie can do, make a difference like that,” said Bowdoin Coach Terry Meagher. “He’s a pretty good one.”

Hand it to the Huskies. Despite playing with seven freshmen and a number of players in new positions, they kept their composure and took control in the third period.

“It was a great team win,” said USM Coach Jeff Beaney. “We started the year with a lot of young guys and we moved some of them around. Our goalie is pretty good, makes a lot of key saves. I think we’re starting to mature.”

One major change was to move Dan Rautenberg of Cape Elizabeth, a career forward, to defense.

“Whole point is to create more offense from the defense,” Rautenberg said. “Being in the back, I rush the puck up. It’s not bad; I get the puck a lot more and I have a lot more responsibility. I’ll do whatever it takes.”

The Huskies came off wins last weekend over UMass-Boston 4-3 and Babson, 6-0.  USM doesn’t play again until Dec. 31 against SUNY-Potsdam in the Middlebury (Vt.) Holiday Classic.

The Polar Bears (3-3-1) were out to regain their footing after a staggering home loss to NESCAC rival Colby on Saturday night. After rubbing out the Mules 6-2 on Friday night in Waterville, Bowdoin led 3-0 before giving up four goals in a 4-3 setback.

“A hangover? No, I don’t think there was a hangover from Saturday night,” Meagher said. “I do think it was a Tuesday night, late-semester game where you have to generate your own energy, your own drive.

“Our goal is to be a better team; we’re getting pretty close. We saw a couple of young kids did well, gave them reps, now we have an indication of what they can do. We’re a work in progress.”

Bowdoin took a 1-0 lead on a power-play goal 3:03 into the first period. With Troy Thibodeau off for crosschecking, John McGinnis sent a pass back to Ollie Koo high in the slot. Koo sent a wrist shot over Torris’ left shoulder for his first goal of the season. Tim Coffey also assisted.

“After the second period,” Beaney said, “I said, ‘You’ve positioned yourself where you can win. Don’t stray from the system. Play disciplined, play defense. Then you only have to score two goals.’ ”

After Vrachnas tied it, back-and-forth play continued, even after USM took a 2-1 lead when Vrachnas fed Grandinetti.

With Bowdoin goalie Richard Nerland (19 saves) on the bench for an extra skater in the final minute, Seward wrestled a Bowdoin defender as the puck drifted toward the crease. Seward dived at the goal, knocking the puck into the empty net.

“When I hugged (Seward),” Vrachnas said, “my cage backed into me and caught my chin. I don’t mind. Totally worth it.”