ORONO — It was the game of Danny Tirone’s young career, and it was all that kept the Maine men’s hockey team from extending its winning streak to five.

The Black Bears had to settle for a 3-3 tie with New Hampshire before a sellout crowd of 5,125 at Alfond Arena on Friday, despite throwing 53 shots at Tirone, the Wildcats’ sophomore goaltender.

Tirone made 50 saves, the most in his two seasons.

“He competed hard tonight. It’s the best he’s played this season,” New Hampshire Coach Dick Umile said. “He made some great saves.”

Maine (4-8-4, 2-4-1 Hockey East) scored three times in a span of 4:32 in the second period. It was a frenzy in front of Tirone at times, but he kept his composure and kept his team in the game.

New Hampshire (4-6-4, 1-1-4) took a 2-0 lead on power-play goals from Dan Correale and Andrew Poturalski. Poturalski’s goal was his 12th of the season. He leads the nation with 27 points.


That’s when the Black Bears had their flurry of goals.

Cedric Lacroix started it with a terrific deflection of a Mark Hamilton wrist shot from the point, finally getting a puck past Tirone at 10:23 of the second period.

Will Merchant followed with his team-leading sixth tally, rifling the puck past Tirone so quickly that officials initially let play continue, thinking it had hit the crossbar. The puck actually hit the pipe in the back of the net, which a video review revealed.

Brian Morgan gave Maine its first lead at 14:55 when he scooped up a rebound, carried it around a defenseman and got Tirone to drop to the ice before lifting the puck past him.

But New Hampshire tied the score at 18:20 of the frenetic period when Kyle Smith knocked a rebound past Maine goaltender Matt Morris from close range.

Morris finished with 33 saves.


By the third period, both teams seemed to be tiring and neither could solve the opposing goaltender. In overtime, each side mustered only one shot. Maine defenseman Dan Renouf helped Morris preserve the tie by knocking the puck away as it neared the goal line.

“We hung on and got a couple power-play goals and just competed in the third period. We’ll take the tie and get out of here,” a relieved Umile said.

“It was a heck of a game. I like the way we competed late in the game. Obviously, we weren’t feeling too good. In the second period, we were getting outplayed. The goalie kept us in there and gave us a chance to battle back.”

Maine Coach Red Gendron said neither he nor his players had time to speak to the media afterward. They were taking a bus down to Durham, New Hampshire, where the rivals will play again at 7 p.m. Saturday.

The tie snapped a four-game winning streak for the Black Bears. It was their third consecutive game with more than 40 shots.

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