ORONO  — The University of Maine’s men’s hockey season ended Wednesday night with a 4-2 loss to Vermont in a Hockey East opening-round game.

Vermont outscored the Black Bears 2-1 in the final two periods in front of a packed house at the Alfond Arena.

Vermont (11-19-5) will play Boston University in the quarterfinals on Saturday.

The Black Bears (15-16-5) inadvertently scored into their own net in the third period.

“We flat-out got beat,” said Maine Coach Ben Barr. “They beat us tonight. Kudos to (Vermont). They played hard; they played smart. I don’t know, from the start of the game, we just looked a little overwhelmed by the moment for some reason. Part of that is on me, maybe my messaging was wrong.

“I don’t know if we really had anybody with their A-games tonight. Just a lot of the details (were missing). We weren’t getting pucks in; we were turning pucks over. It was tough. It’s a tough pill to swallow.”


With six minutes remaining in regulation, Vermont had a power play. Maine goalie Victor Ostman left his net to retrieve the puck. However, Andrei Buyalsky got to the puck first and poked it out front, where Maine defenseman Dawson Bruneski inadvertently pushed it just past the goal line.

“It was a rebound, the goalie tried to grab it, and I just decided to push (the puck),” Buyalski said. “The defender just (knocked it in) I guess.”

Lynden Breen scored both goals for the Black Bears to finish the season with a team-high 21.

Maine started strongly and took a 1-0 lead in the first period when Breen buried a backhand past Vermont goaltender Gabe Carriere with 6:01 left in the period. Maine outshot the Catamounts 16-4 in the first period.

Vermont took advantage of ill-timed penalties from Maine in the second period. The Catamounts tied the game 1-1 early in the period on a power-play goal from forward Timofei Spitserov.

Maine jumped back ahead early in the third when Breen scored again with assists from Jakub Sirota and Grayson Arnott.


Vermont answered minutes later on the goal credited to Buyalsky, which tied the game 2-2. Minutes later, Isak Walther scored on a power-play goal to give Vermont the 3-2 lead.

“I thought Maine gave us everything,” Vermont Coach Todd Woodcroft said. “That first period, I thought the ice was totally tilted in their favor. We got a couple of lucky bounces, obviously that (Buyalsky goal). Then at the end it gets to six-on-four and it gets tight. I’m just glad that (empty-net goal) rolled all the way, because (Maine) has a dangerous power play.”

William Lemay scored an empty-net goal in the final 40 seconds to secure the victory.

Ostman had 26 saves for the Black Bears. Vermont outshot the Black Bears 26-14 in the final two periods.

Vermont had lost twice to Maine during the regular season: 3-1 on Dec. 2 and 5-1 on Dec. 3.

“The weekend we played them (in the regular season), that really opened our eyes to the team that they are,” Woodcroft said. “In some way, we want to play like Maine, if that makes sense. We think the blueprint that they have, what Ben Barr has done with this team, I think he’s coach of the year in my opinion. That was an eye-opening weekend for us. We knew we had to at least match their work ethic (on Wednesday night).”

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