WATERVILLE VALLEY, N.H. - Junior goaltender Matt Collaton (Oakville, Ont.) made 23 saves Tuesday night, helping the University of Southern Maine post a 4-2 victory over Plymouth State University in a non-conference ice hockey game at Waterville Valley Ice Arena.
The win gets the Huskies back to the .500 mark at 2-2-0 overall, while PSU falls to 1-4-0 on the season. The Panthers, who were playing their third contest in four days, have lost four straight games by a total of six goals.
Southern Maine outshot the hosts in all three periods, finishing with a 39-25 advantage in the game. Collaton and sophomore goalie Kyle VanDingstee (Skaneateles, N.Y.), who registered 35 saves in the Panther net, kept it a low-scoring affair.
The teams played nearly half the game before sophomore Dennis Kane (Westford, Mass.) put PSU on the board with an unassisted breakaway goal at 8:33 of the second period. Junior Erik Kent (Newburyport, Mass.) answered for USM with an unassisted tally of his own less than two minutes later, and sophomore Ryan Wright (Eliot, Maine) gave the Huskies a 2-1 lead at the 12:22 mark of the middle frame with a goal assisted by sophomore James Leblanc (Dorval, Que.).
USM extended its advantage to 3-1 at 6:41 of the third when sophomore Matt Kerling (St. Catharines, Ont.) scored the third unassisted goal of the game. It appeared that would end up as the final score, but both teams scored in the final minute of play. Sophomore Rory Nickerson (West Chatham, Mass.) brought the Panthers to within a goal with 21 seconds remaining, but freshman Chris Sparkes (St. John, Nfld.) clinched the win for USM with 4.5 seconds left.
PSU returns to action Saturday with an ECAC Northeast Conference game at Waterville Valley against Lebanon Valley College (6:00 p.m.). Southern Maine plays again Friday at Williams College (7:00 p.m.).
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