ORONO — When chaos popped off all around him, University of Maine goalie Albin Boija was an oasis of calm.

Making his second straight start and coming off his first career shutout last Saturday, the Black Bears freshman keeper made 27 saves, including 11 in the third period, to help No. 7 Maine take a 2-1 win over No. 10 Providence on Friday in front of a sellout crowd of 5,043 at Alfond Arena.

Maine (18-5-2, 10-4-1 Hockey East) and Providence (15-9-2, 8-6-2) will play again Saturday night in Orono. Friday’s win kept the Black Bears in third place in the Hockey East standings, and put some distance between them and the fourth-place Friars. Maine now has 31 points in league play to Providence’s 26.

“It wasn’t pretty. We knew it wasn’t going to be pretty,” Maine Coach Ben Barr said. “They pushed hard in the third period. We’ve got to find a way, when teams do that to us, to simplify our game and push back. We haven’t done a great job of that this year, and it’s part of the growth we have to go through… They’re a hard and heavy team, and those are the teams that have given us a lot of trouble this year.”

Boija’s best saves came with eight minutes left in the game, when he stopped Tanner Adams twice in the matter of seconds when Adams was alone in front of the net. First, Adams got a mini breakaway when Maine defenseman Liam Lesakowski fell. Boija made the initial stop, then another save when Adams tried to score on a rebound shot from behind the net.

“He almost fooled me. I thought he was going to shoot (sooner), but then I was able to get back,” Boija said. “(Providence) always play one guy in front, and try and fling it to the back post. Just surprise shots, a wraparound… We grinded it out. That’s all that matters.”


Providence Coach Nate Leeman pointed at opportunities his team missed. The Friars hit three posts, came away empty on three breakaway chances, and went 0 for 4 on the power play while surrendering a power-play goal.

“We lost the special teams. You’re not going to go on the road and win a game when you lose on the special teams,” Leeman said.

All the scoring came in the second period.

Maine scored first, at 4:49 of the second period. On the power play, Josh Nadeau got off a high shot just under the crossbar to beat Providence goalie Philip Svedeback. Bradly Nadeau and Ben Poisson assisted on the goal.

The Black Bears made it 2-0 at 10:28 of the second, when freshman Anthony Calafiore notched his first career goal, tapping home a pass from Grayson Arnott.

“I was in the right place at the right time. Good things happen when you go to the net,” Calafiore said.


Barr praised Calafiore’s effort since the freshman cracked the lineup for the first time against Colgate last month.

“He keeps doing his thing. He’s not scared. He has a lot of poise and composure, and he wants to be in the big moments,” Barr said.

The Friars made it 2-1 at 12:47 when Luke Keys poked a rebound past Boija.

Maine controlled play throughout most of the scoreless first period. The Black Bears fired off 27 shots in the period, with only 11 going on goal. The Friars blocked 11 shots in the first, and Maine’s best scoring chance went for naught when Josh Nadeau’s one-timer rang off the post with just over three minutes left in the period.

Svedeback, a fourth-round pick of the Boston Bruins in 2021, made 21 saves for the Friars.

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