March 23, 2007
East Regional | Regional Final
Fifth Time is a Charm
Maine eventually finds a way to beat Quick and Massachusetts

By Warren Kozireski

Maine 3,
Massachusetts 1
Team Goal Str
Time Assists

First Period

No Scoring

Second Period

1-ME Bret Tyler (6) EV
5:23 J. Soares, M. Léveillé
2-ME Mike Hamilton (9) PP
9:45 J. Soares, B. Ryan
1-MA Matt Anderson (10) PP
18:14 K. Jarman, P.J. Fenton
Third Period
3-ME Matt Duffy (5) PP
6:28 B. Tyler, B. Ryan
Goaltending
MA: Jon Quick, 58:30, 26 saves, 3 GA
ME: Ben Bishop, 59:48, 35 saves, 1 GA
Penalties: MA 9/18; ME 8/16
Power Plays: MA 1-7; ME 2-8
Attendance: 3,522

ROCHESTER, N.Y. – Okay, so the fifth time is a charm.

In the fifth game between UMass and Maine in the month of March going 0-4 in the process, the Black Bears finally found a way to beat goaltender Jon Quick and the Minutemen.

But it took awhile.

The Black Bears couldn't solve Quick in the first period as Keith Johnson's point blank attempt was stopped in the first minute and Billy Ryan was thwarted on a sprawling save two minutes into the game.

The Minutemen also killed 1:14 of a 5-on-3 power play when Quick went side-to-side to stop Teddy Purcell with the shaft of his stick with five seconds left in the extra man opportunity.

"I used the term all year that you're either feeling the pressure or applying the pressure," said UMass head coach Don Cahoon. "Tonight we were feeling the pressure and we were really lucky to be at 0-0 at the end of the first period."

But in the second, the Black Bears snapped Quick's playoff shutout streak at 93:03 when defenseman Bret Tyler took a feed from the left corner from Josh Soares and got his shot to dribble off of the pads and across the line for a 1-0 lead.

Maine made it 2-0 at the 9:45 mark when Mike Hamilton scored on a backhander from behind the goal line that deflected in off of the back of Quick.

"It was pretty lucky," said Hamilton. "I had the puck behind the net and their guy flushed me one way so I threw it toward him not knowing what would happen. It ended up going off his head or something, but that's the type of goal you're going to get in a game like this against a hot goaltender like Quick."

UMass got back into the game with just seven seconds remaining on the power play and less than two minutes in the second period Matt Anderson's shot from the slot deflected in to make it 2-1.

The Black Bears then put the game away in the third at 6:28. Matt Duffy's shot from the point deflected off of someone in front and past Quick for a two-goal cushion.

"The third goal took the wind out of our sails," said Cahoon.

Maine made things interesting at the end of regulation when David de Kastrozza was whistled for interference with 1:29 remaining. Quick was pulled giving the Minutemen a six-on-four advantage, but they could not convert.

Every goal in the game came on special teams. The first Maine goal was 4-on-4 and the other two plus the UMass goal all came on power plays. UMass was whistled nine times for 18 minutes and Maine eight times for 16 minutes.

"We didn't know if we were going to be in or not," said Michel Léveillé after the game. "We took a couple of days off from the rink and came back and worked on everything we learned from the four losses. We really thought if we got the chance we could come back and do something special."

"We're every proud and excited to advance," said Maine head coach Tim Whitehead. "UMass has made us a better team. Beating us four times really brought out a lot of our weaknesses and we were forced to concentrate on those in our free time last weekend and I think that's a big reason we were able to rise up this weekend."

"Maine certainly played like they had been in this situation many times before the way they came out of the gates," concluded Cahoon. "As far as our game was concerned, I thought we were a little off and not playing with as much conviction as we have. The way the game evolved, it was a little uncharacteristic for us. We were the least penalized team in our league and we took far too many penalties tonight against a great power play."

"One of my goals all season was to go home to St. Louis," said Maine goaltender Ben Bishop.

SEEN AND HEARD AT BLUE CROSS ARENA

INCH's Three Stars of the Night

3. Ben Bishop, Maine
Made 35 saves including 30 over the final two periods.

2. Josh Soares, Maine
The senior assisted on the first two goals and did a great job on the penalty kill and playing keep-away in the third period.

1. Bret Tyler, Maine
He scored the game's first goal and assisted on the last. His shot that put Maine ahead 1-0 gave the Black Bears a lead, and forced the Minutemen to play from behind.

• Rochester ties: Maine junior forward Billy Ryan is the younger brother of Rochester Americans/Buffalo Sabres forward Michael Ryan. As we mentioned yesterday, UMass junior defenseman David Leaderer is a Rochester native.

• Goaltenders were the last to leave the ice following the warm-up — starter Jon Quick for UMass and back-up Dave Wilson for Maine.

• After the first period, every television in the concourse had the NCAA basketball game on instead of the Boston College-St. Lawrence hockey game that was in the third period.

• UMass forward P.J. Fenton's dad Paul played 8 seasons in the NHL with Winnipeg and Los Angeles.

• Maine goaltender Ben Bishop's father, Benjamin, is a Board Member of the St. Louis Sports Commission, who is hosting the Frozen Four. Asked if that means any preferential treatment for the team, Maine head coach Tim Whitehead said, "we'll see which hotel we get."

• In the second period with UMass down 2-0 and going on a 5-on-3 power play, the entire Minuteman bench got up on their feet. Maine's bench followed a few seconds later.

• Maine center Mike Hamilton collected the puck as a souvenir after the final horn.

• Rochester averaged 3,700 fans for the two days in their first attempt at hosting an NCAA Regional. Grand Rapids drew 5,200 for their semifinal games.

PLUSSES AND MINUSES

Maine will be making its 11th Frozen Four appearance and the fifth already in this decade.

Maine senior captain Michel Léveillé was named the tournament's MVP. He netted one goal and two assists over the two games.

For a team with the hockey history of Maine, couldn't they find someone to wear the Black Bear mascot suit who could skate without holding onto the boards?

Someone needed to coordinate between the band(s), the public address, the piped-in music, and the video scoreboard throughout the weekend. Having at least two going at once just made noise.

WHAT'S NEXT

Maine's senior class is making its third trip to the Frozen Four in a distinguished four-year run in Orono, and the program is making its sixth appearance in nine years. They last won the national championship in 1999, and will head into St. Louis with momentum and a seemingly healthy and red-hot goalie in Ben Bishop.

Massachusetts took major strides toward breaking into that upper-echelon status in Hockey East, usually reserved for the four power-programs: Maine, New Hampshire, Boston College, and Boston University. The Minutemen finished fourth in the standings and advanced to the Hockey East championship in Boston.