BOSTON – The Maine men’s hockey team paid for a couple of defensive lapses and lost 4-3 to Northeastern on Saturday at Matthews Arena.

The victory allowed the Huskies to leapfrog the Black Bears into third place in Hockey East with two games remaining.

Northeastern (18-10-4, 10-6-2 Hockey East) took a quick 2-0 lead. Kevin Roy fed Zach Aston-Reese from behind the net and he slammed the puck past Martin Ouellette at 3:41 of the first period. Three minutes later, Aston-Reese took a shot from a sharp angle below the right circle that Mike Szmatula tipped into the net.

Maine (15-11-4, 9-6-3) was on its heels for much of the period, until Ben Hutton changed the tenor of the game on a power play late in the frame. Hutton first sent Szmatula heels over head and onto the ice with a collision near the red line. Szmatula was tended to for an apparent knee injury and left under his owner power. Then, Hutton skated slowly from the blue line into the left circle, finding a clean path to the net and rifling a wrist shot past Clay Witt at 16:46 to cut the Huskies’ lead to 2-1.

The Black Bears carried that momentum into the second period with a goal by Devin Shore that was similar to Hutton’s. Shore took the puck from the right boards, found himself with plenty of time and space, and walked it into the circle for a wrist shot to tie the score 2-2 at 3:18.’

By Northeastern capitalized on a power play and a Maine defensive gaffe at 14:41. Braden Pimm took a pass alone in front of Ouellette and lifted the puck into the net for a 3-2 lead.

Aston-Reese scored again at 10:56 of the third when he gathered a rebound in front of Ouellette and had plenty of time to make a move on the goaltender and put the puck past him for a 4-2 lead.

Maine pulled Ouellette with 2:47 remaining and Hutton needed only 6 seconds to sneak another wrist shot past Witt to cut the margin to 4-3. Ouellette vacated the net again with 54 seconds remaining and the Huskies took a penalty with 19.9 seconds left, giving man a six-on-four advantage to close the game. Hutton sent another shot through heavy traffic that nearly found the net, but Northeastern held on to win.

Maine concludes the regular season with a home series against Providence next Friday and Saturday.

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