PORTLAND — A late power-play goal from Ryan Lomberg at the 13:54 mark of the third period provided the University of Maine men’s ice hockey team the edge it needed to earn its third consecutive win with a 2-1 victory over the Mercyhurst Lakers in front of 4,650 fans at Cumberland County Civic Center on Friday night.
Maine improves to 5-11-2 (1-7-2 in Hockey East) on the season. Mercyhurst falls to 8-7-1 (7-3-0 in Atlantic Hockey) overall.
Kyle Beattie and Mike Cornell each earned an assist on the goal.
Cornell stick-handled in the right corner and pushed the puck below the net off of the boards to Beattie who rested on the far side post. Beattie pushed the puck into the slot where Lomberg picked up the puck and waited for Tibbett to provide an opening before firing the puck over his right shoulder.
“I had a lot of the net open and I snuck it in there,” said Lomberg. “This was a battle right down to the buzzer though, but we’re finally starting to pull through and win some of these games we didn’t early in the season.”
It is the third consecutive game that freshman Lomberg has netted a goal for the Black Bears, and is his second game-winning goal in those three games.
“They’re a very well balanced and well coached team and we knew we were going to have our hands full with them and we did,” Maine head coach Tim Whitehead said. “I figured it would come down to the last whistle and it did.”
Martin Ouellette turned away 25 of the 26 shots he face for Maine as he improves to 3-5-2 on the season. Jordan Tibbett stopped 35 shots for the Lakers as he falls to 3-4-0.
“The bottom line tonight is we let a good team hang around and we didn’t capitalize on our chances,” Mercyhurst head coach Rick Gotkin said. “They made us pay for it.”
Paul Chiasson staked Mercyhurst to an early 1-0 lead at the 3:02 mark as the Lakers capitalized on the power play after the Black Bears received a bench minor for too many men on the ice.
Ryan Misiak and Daniel Bahntge each chipped in assists on the goal for the Lakers.
The Black Bears responded to tie the game 1-1 minutes later as Joey Diamond banged home his fourth goal of the year on designed faceoff play at the 9:02 mark of the first. Steven Swavely earned the assist on the goal.
Teams headed into the first intermission locked up at one goal each.
Chiasson clanged iron on a wide-open chance from the top of the crease during a Lakers power play with 11:25 remaining and just minutes later Nardo Nagtzaam failed to get a shot off on a one-time chance from the same spot with Ouellette sprawled on the ground.
“At the end of the day we had some chances,” said Gotkin. “We didn’t capitalize. You let a Hockey East team like Maine hang around and bad things happen.”
The Black Bears and Lakers remained tied 1-1 after a scoreless second period and each headed into the final third of the game in search of the go-ahead goal.
Maine picked up the goal it needed to pull ahead of the Lakers at the 13:54 mark of the third period as Ryan Lomberg netted his third goal of the game on the power play to give the Black
The Lakers would pull Tibbett to make a late push for the final 1:28 of the game but Maine maintained its 2-1 lead till the final buzzer sounded as it fended off the Lakers offense, earning its third consecutive victory.
Maine and Mercyhurst will finish their weekend series Saturday night at Alfond Arena at 7:00 p.m.