Maine tops Michigan State, 5-4, to advance to Frozen Four

By pbadmin

Hockey East Press Release

ALBANY, N.Y. – The University of Maine men’s ice hockey team scored three goals in the first period on the way to defeating Michigan State 5-4 on Sunday afternoon in the NCAA East Regional Finals at the Pepsi Center in Albany. Maine will advance to the Frozen Four for the third time in five seasons. John Hopson had two goals to lead the Black Bears over the top seed, while Ben Bishop had 33 saves in the win. Maine is now 28-11-2 on the season, while Michigan State is 24-12-8 to end the season.

The Black Bears were able to get on the board first when Derek Damon (Bangor, Maine) won a face-off in the Michigan State zone and the puck went to Matt Duffy (Windham, Maine) at the point. Duffy fired a shot in that got past Jeff Lerg for a goal at 3:13. Maine kept up the offensive pressure and were able to add a goal when Mike Hamilton (Victoria, B.C.) took a shot that was tipped in by John Hopson (Prince George, B.C.). Keenan Hopson (Prince George, B.C.) also had an assist on the goal at 10:21. Following the goal, Maine had a twelve to three lead on shots and Michigan State called their timeout. On the Black Bears first power play chance of the game, Matt Duffy again fired a shot from the point that was tipped in by John Hopson. Keenan Hopson added an assist on the power play goal at 16:38. Michigan State responded with less than a minute to go while on the power play as Tim Crowder scored with assists from David Booth and Tim Kennedy at 19:16. In the period, Maine had a seventeen to twelve lead on shots and a 3-1 lead.

The second period began with the teams skating four-on-four, with the Spartans getting three strong chances at net that were saved by Ben Bishop (Des Peres, Mo.). With Maine on their second power play of the night, Derek Damon scored to the left side of Jeff Lerg. Josh Soares (Hamilton, Ontario) and Mike Lundin (Apple Valley, Minn.) had assists on the power play goal at 3:25. The momentum shifted when Maine was called for too many men on the ice at . Michigan State scored a power play goal when Tim Crowder shuck the puck between the left side of Ben Bishop and the post. Tim Kennedy and David Booth had assists at the eight minute mark. The Black Bears were able to kill the next two Spartan power plays, which included Chris Lawrence hitting the crossbar. Michigan State was able to once again score with less than a minute to go in the period when Jim McKenzie took a shot with a tough angle that got past Bishop. Chris Mueller and Bryan Lerg had assists on the goal at 59 seconds. In the period, Maine was outshot sixteen to nine.

In the third period, it became a defensive battle as the goalies on both ends of the ice made great saves. Rob Bellamy (Westfield, Maine) hit the post with less than six minutes remaining, but Michigan State had a scoring chance a minute later as the puck was bouncing and loose in the crease. The Spartans pulled Jeff Lerg with 1:20 remaining in the game, but it was Maine who added a goal when Greg Moore (Lisbon, Maine) scored an empty net goal. Josh Soares had an assist on the goal at 19:23. Michigan State did not give up, adding a goal by Drew Miller with just five seconds remaining in the game. Shots were tied at nine in the period.

In goal, Maine’s Ben Bishop allowed four goals and had 33 saves. For Michigan State, Jeff Lerg had four goals against and 29 saves. Maine had seven penalties for 14 minutes and Michigan State had five penalties for ten minutes. On power plays, Maine was 2-2 and Michigan State was 2-4. For the game, Maine was outshot by the Spartans 37 to 34. The All-Tournament Team included Michel Léveillé and John Hopson at forward, Matt Duffy on defense and Ben Bishop in net. John Hopson was named the Tournaments Most Outstanding Player.

Maine will advance to the Frozen Four for the third time in five seasons. They will meet Wisconsin on Thursday, April 6. For more information on University of Maine athletics, visit www.GoBlackBears.com or call 581-BEAR.