Minutemen Fall In 3OT Heartbreaker, 2-1
March 20, 2004
BOSTON, Mass. - The University of Massachusetts hockey team lost a triple-overtime heartbreaker to the University of Maine this evening, 2-1, in the Hockey East Championship game. The game lasted 109:27,making the game the fourth-longest game in NCAA history. Ben Murphy of Maine scored the winning goal.
UMass started strong and after a mini-flurry by Maine, that included two stops by UMass goalie Gabe Winer (Stoughton, Mass.), the Minutemen had an excellent opportunity to take an early lead. Thomas Pöck (Klagenfurt, Austria) received a Stephen Werner (Chevy Chase, Md.) feed alone in front of the net, but his shot from inside the circles was into Maine goalie Jimmy Howard's body to keep UMass off the board. Moments later, Kevin Jarman (Aurora, Ontario) came in along the left side on a partial breakaway that Howard snared with his glove at the last second. UMass went on the game's first power play eight minutes into the first period. UMass appeared to score on the goal when Greg Mauldin (Holliston, Mass.) sniped a one-timer from the left slot of a feed from Pöck that trickled past Howard into the net. However, the goal was disallowed after a lengthy discussion when a UMass player was called in the crease. UMass would go on its second power play, shortly thereafter, but it was Maine that nearly took advantage. Greg Moore had a shorthanded breakaway that Winer stoned with his glove from the left doorstop to keep Maine off the board and send the two teams into the locker rooms scoreless.
Maine went on the second period's first power play just over five minutes into the frame. However, the Minutemen killed the Maine attack off with only one shot on goal and no damage done. UMass had a flurry in front of Howard with about six minutes to play, but a Marvin Degon (Millbury, Mass.) slapshot went wide and Josh Hanson (Medford, Mass.) couldn't get a stick on a centering pass in front of Howard to keep the game scoreless. Maine went on its second power play of the contest, and converted when Michel Léveillé broke a stick on a one-timer, causing the puck to flutter. Dustin Penner picked up the loose puck in front of Winer and flipped in a shot to the top right corner at the 16:24 mark for a 1-0 advantage. UMass would go on its third power play of the contest late in the second period, but couldn't get set up and the Maine penalty-kill unit would kill off the UMass attack and Maine headed into the second intermission with a 1-0 advantage.
With Maine holding a 1-0 lead, the Black Bears were content to play a defensive style in the third period, and UMass struggled early on to find seams in the defense. The Minutemen dodged a huge bullet six minutes in, when Colin Shields ripped a shot through Winer's five-hole for an apparent 2-0 lead. However, the goal was waved off, as behind the play Marvin Degon lost his helmet before the goal was scored. The Minutemen also had a power-play opportunity as Mauldin drew a penalty with 13:30 to play, but a minor fracus erupted in front of the Maine bench, waving off the potential UMass power play. Moments later, the Minutemen drew another penalty on a flurry in front of the Maine net, and again the Minutemen lost a power-play chance after a scuffle broke out in front of Howard. With 12:24 left, Maine went on another power play, and Winer robbed Prestin Ryan of a goal with 11:37 to play. The Minutemen stood tall and killed off the chance. UMass had one more power play in the third period, starting with 6:59 to play. The Minutemen capitalized, sending the near sellout crowd of 16,743 into a frenzy. Mauldin received a pass, waited patiently while the defense shifted. Mauldin then sniped a shot past Howard's glove into the top right corner through a screen at the 13:47 mark to knot the score at 1-1 on Mauldin's 15th goal of the season. Degon and Pöck assisted on the power-play netter. The goal gave Mauldin goals in five straight games, a new school record. The Minutemen withstood a late Maine flurry and the two teams went to overtime.
Maine was the aggressor in overtime, firing several shots on Winer, but the sophomore goalie stayed calm and gobbled up every Maine shot. UMass also had several good looks at Howard, but the two goalies were waging a battle amongst themselves. The Hobey Baker candidate nearly ended the game with five minutes to play, but Howard made two amazing saves, including one from his back to stave off Pöck's bid for the game-winner. Pöck's second bid was UMass' 50th shot of the game. UMass continued to attack and had an excellent opportunity to end the game several times in the last minute, but Howard, who had 55 saves through the first overtime, stopped every UMass bid to send the contest into double overtime for the second straight season.
The two goalies then made their respective "saves of the game" with six minutes gone in the second overtime. Josh Hanson (Medford, Mass.) fired a shot from a near-impossible angle that deflected off Howard's skate behind him that he gloved barely in front of the goal-line. Shortly after, Winer made several key saves in a span of two minutes, including a great stop on a breakaway by Penner to keep the two teams squared at 1-1. The Black Bears dominated territorially in the last 10 minutes, but neither team could push a goal across, and the game was headed into an unprecedented third overtime. The game passed the longest Hockey East Tournament game in Hockey East history in the second overtime, surpassing the old record of 96:26 when Providence defeated Boston University in a quarterfinal matchup in 2001.
Winer made two good saves on Maine's only real threat in the third overtime's first six minutes to keep the game tied. Tim Vitek (Dresden, Ontario) had a great opportunity seven minutes into the frame on a wrap-around, beating Howard, but sending his shot just wide of the right post. Winer again came up huge midway through the third overtime, stopping a close-range slapshot which rebounded out front and was batted away by Pöck.
The game-winner was scored by Murphy to the right of Winer, as he put a rebound back into the net past Winer's glove.
Three Minutemen were named to the Hockey East All-Tournament team. Mike Warner (Waltham, Mass.), who scored four goals in four games, Pöck (2 g, 5 a, 7 pts.) and Mauldin (4 g, 0 a , 4 pts). were all selected to the six-person squad. UMass, which fell to 19-12-6 overall, awaits word on a possible NCAA Tournament berth. The selection show is on ESPNews at 2:30 p.m. EST on Sunday.