BOSTON – It could have been deflating for the University of Maine Black Bears. Boston University tied the game after a controversial non-call in the third period.

But then Maine sophomore Mark Anthoine of Lewiston scored a power-play goal at 7:43. The lead held up, and Joey Diamond added an empty-netter for a 5-3 win Friday night in the Hockey East semifinals at the TD Garden.

Maine (23-12-3) will play Boston College (28-10-1) at 8 p.m. tonight for the title. The Black Bears may be without Hockey East Player of the Year Spencer Abbott, who left Friday’s game after taking a vicious hit to the head in the third period. No penalty was called on the play.

“It was an elbow to the head. That’s not a good thing,” said Maine Coach Tim Whitehead, who was skeptical of Abbott’s availability tonight.

Whitehead was not pleased about the play. As he entertained another question, he spotted Hockey East Commissioner Joe Bertagna in the back of the interview room.

“Yes Joe,” Whitehead said, “it was an elbow to the head.”

No penalty was called on BU’s Sean Escobedo and, as Abbott was down on the ice, the Terriers rushed up the ice and scored, tying the game 3-3 at 4:03.

“When a guy goes down like that, everybody is going to step up,” said Maine captain and defenseman Will O’Neill. “Everyone tried to regroup and feed off it.”

Anthoine replaced Abbott on the first power-play unit. He stole a puck in the slot and beat goalie Kieran Millan for the winning goal.

“I was looking to pass, but no one was around,” Anthoine said. “Joey (Diamond) had the screen and I shot it.”

Maine was 4 for 6 on the power play.

“I can’t describe how disappointed I am in my team’s play,” BU Coach Jack Parker said. “Maine didn’t have to play that hard to beat us.”

Maine got two goals apiece from Diamond and O’Neill, who only had one goal during the season, back in October.

“I’ve been trying to shoot more in the playoffs,” O’Neill said.

Abbott and Matt Mangene each had two assists. Dan Sullivan made 28 saves.

The victory practically assures Maine a spot in next week’s NCAA tournament. BU (23-14-1) had already secured a berth with its high ranking.

In the first period, BU got several odd-man rushes early on Maine, and scored on its first one with a strange goal for a 1-0 lead.

The puck came out to BU’s Alex Chiasson in the neutral zone. Chiasson got past Maine defenseman Ryan Hegarty and skated in on Sullivan.

Chiasson lost control of the puck outside the crease, but it rolled right through Sullivan’s pads as he was sliding across the crease.

But Sullivan, playing in his first Hockey East semifinal, rebounded and made several key stops on BU rushes.

Maine failed to score on its one full power play in the period, and carried over 1:50 of its second power play into the second period.

The Black Bears scored 46 seconds into the second. Abbott sent the puck into a crowd. Both Mangene and Diamond got their stick on it, with Diamond stuffing it in for a 1-1 tie.

BU’s first power play lasted eight seconds as the Terriers’ Matt Nieto scored at 6:16.

Maine tied it again at 11:22. O’Neill faked, skated into the slot and wristed in a score, with Anthoine screening Millan.

The Black Bears went on their third power play and got a four-on-three rush. Abbott skated into the right circle, and two teammates were covered in front, so Abbott sent it out to O’Neill, who fired a wrist shot over Millan’s blocker for a 3-2 lead at 18:25.

Down 4-3 late in the game, BU pulled Millan. Mangene had a breakaway but was pulled down for another power play. Millan still came off the ice. Sullivan survived a late flurry, then Diamond scored the empty-netter at 19:31.

NOTES: In the first semifinal, Boston College beat Providence, 4-2. The Friars took a 2-1 lead at 4:33 of the first period. But BC tied it four minutes later and took the lead for good with a power-play goal in the second period.

Staff Writer Kevin Thomas can be reached at 791-6411 or:

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Twitter: KevinThomasPPH