Braga Nets Game Winner at 4:07
(Courtesy of UMass Boston Sports Information)
BOSTON -- Sophomore Cody Braga (Middleboro, Mass.) scored at 4:07 of overtime as the University of Southern Maine men's ice hockey team stunned #6/#8-ranked University of Massachusetts Boston 3-2 in New England Hockey Conference action Friday night at the Edward T. Barry Ice Rink.
The win improved the Huskies mark to 3-9-4 overall and 3-5-3 in NEHC play. The Beacons slip to 13-5-0 overall and 8-3-0 in the league. The two teams have split their first two meetings this season, and will meet one more time this season on February 10, the final day of the regular season.
Braga lifted a backhander through traffic for his third goal of the season to give the Huskies the victory. After killing off a Beacons power play, the Huskies skated the other way with a 4-on-2 advantage. Rookie Maverick Lynes' (Sherwood Park, Alb.) initial shot was wide of the net, but Braga collected the rebound behind the goal line, skated towards the slot and snuck a backhand inside the near post that UMass Boston goalie Bailey MacBurnie (Beverly, Mass.) never saw.
Southern Maine took a physical approach against the second-leading scoring offense in the country and it paid off. The Beacons were held to their fewest shots of the season at home and were held to two goals or fewer for just the third time this year (all losses).
UMass Boston looked like they had a chance to put the game away early. The Beacons drew a power play 3:54 into the game and the Beacons' top power-play unit made the Huskies pay 1:09 later.
With the puck just inside the blue line, rookie Zack Bross (St. Louis, Mo.) sent a blind backhand pass to senior Colin Larkin (Waterford, Mich.) who was racing into the zone. The Beacons captain took two strides, made one deke and then ripped a shot top-shelf for a 1-0 advantage at 5:03.
The Beacons stunted their own momentum though, as they took two penalties in the middle of the period to allow the Huskies to get into the flow of the game.
Southern Maine tied the game 8:38 into the second period. Sophomore Jerome Witkowski (Kittery, Maine) raced down along the near boards and cut back towards the net. MacBurnie denied his initial shot, but Witkowski tipped in the rebound as he was pushed into the Beacons' netminder.
The Huskies stunned the Beacons with a second goal at 11:36. Senior Patrick Magliano (Pelham, N.H.) won the faceoff back to sophomore Johnny Kyte (Carp, Ont.) who sent a hard slap shot off MacBurnie's pads. The rebound fell just short of the near circle and senior Brett Norman (Dawson Creek, B.C.) raced after the puck and sent a shot off the inside of the post and in for a 2-1 USM lead.
After struggling to generate chances in the second, UMass Boston evened the game 4:50 into the third. UMass Boston used a faceoff play of their own to tie the game. Sophomore Daniel Nachbaur (Richland, Wash.) won a faceoff back to the blue line for junior John Bonno (Kennesaw, Ga.) and the defenseman's shot deflected off a player in front and in for a 2-2 game.
UMass Boston would continue to pressure the Huskies, but the Beacons couldn't find a late goal.
In the overtime session, UMass Boston had more puck control, but were outshot 4-1. The Huskies had the best chance early in the extra session. Just after the Beacons went on the power play, junior Conor Ferrera (Manhattan Beach, Calif.) slipped behind the Beacons' defense and went in one-on-one with MacBurnie. The Huskies forward created some open space, but MacBurnie denied him with a huge toe save.
USM rookie goalie Anthony D'Aloisio (Frisco, Texas) improved to 3-6-4 overall making 36 saves. MacBurnie stopped 30 shots in a losing effort.
Southern Maine travels to Babson College for a NEHC game tomorrow afternoon (4:00 p.m.). UMass Boston will host New England College on Saturday.