Seahawks furious comeback falls short versus Nor'easters

Seahawks furious comeback falls short versus Nor'easters

BIDDEFORD, Maine -- Leading 8-1 seven minutes into the second period, the University of New England withstood a furious Salve Regina University comeback effort to earn a wild 9-7 Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) men's ice hockey victory Thursday night (Feb. 2) at the Harold Alfond Forum.

Now 7-1-1 in their last nine games, the Nor'easters upped their overall mark to 11-6-2 while improving to 7-4-2 in CCC games. The Seahawks (11-7-2, 8-4-1 CCC) dropped their second in a row and currently hold a one-point lead on UNE for the fourth slot in the conference standings. The , seven goals in a loss are most scored by Salve Regina since losing 10-7 at Wentworth (Feb. 27, 2010) in an ECAC Northeast quarterfinal.

It was the Fleurent brothers who staked UNE to an early 2-0, with Brady scoring at 4:50 of the first and Trevor following less than four minutes later. Dustin Walsh tallied his second goal of the year at 12:59 to close out the scoring in the frame and give the hosts a 3-0 advantage heading into the first intermission.

The Nor'easters took advantage of a five-minute power play that commenced late in the first period and carried over to the start of the second, exploding for four goals in the opening three minutes of the second period to build a commanding 7-0 bulge. Brady Fleurent, Trevor Fleurent, Armand Uomoleale and Ryan Burr each scored with a man advantage to help UNE improve its numbers as one of the nation's best in power-play efficiency.

Colin Clapton got Salve Regina on the scoreboard at 5:47 of the stanza, but Bloom notched another power-play marker for UNE to push the Nor'easters' margin back to seven (8-1).

At that point the Seahawks got back in the game with three consecutive goals in a span of 2:28 midway through the frame. Evan Schultz, Evan Schmidbauer and Pat Thompson found the back of the net to cut Salve Regina's deficit in half (8-4) before Nick Cyr scored on a power play at the 15:47 mark to make the score 8-5 heading into the third.

Salve Regina would continue its rally, getting an early third-period goal from Shaun Patry and another by Joseph Yeadon with just under five minutes to play to pull to within one at 8-7.

The Seahawks nearly tied the game with 2:22 remaining, but UNE goaltender Tate Sproxton came up with a magnificent pad save on a close-range bid by Tommy Evangelista to keep the Nor'easters on top. 

Dylan Bengtson scored an empty-net goal for UNE with 54 seconds remaining to ice the victory.

Sproxton had 19 saves in 46:08 of ice time for the Nor'easters, playing the initial 26:08 of the game and all of the final period. Payton Porter was credited with the victory in his first collegiate appearance. He made three saves in 13:52 of playing time.

Blake Wojtala had 28 stops for the Seahawks, including 13 in the final period when he made numerous outstanding saves to keep Salve's comeback hopes alive. Peter McNamara played 1:36 and had one save.

Each team is back in action Saturday. Salve Regina hosts Becker College at 5 p.m. and the Nor'easters play a 7 p.m. road game with Johnson & Wales University.