Southern Maine Holds Off Colby 4-2

Freshman Matt Fuller (file photo by Jason Johns).
Freshman Matt Fuller (file photo by Jason Johns).
Huskies Host New England College on Saturday for Senior Day (4 p.m.)

            GORHAM, Maine -- Four different players scored goals and junior goalie Paul Léger (Blainville, Que.) stopped 24 shots as the University of Southern Maine Huskies held off the visiting Colby College Mules in a non-conference men's ice hockey game Tuesday evening at the USM Ice Arena.

            The win snapped a three-game losing skid for the Huskies and improved their overall record to 4-15-3.  The Mules slipped below the .500 level with the loss at 7-8-3 overall.

            Southern Maine built a 3-0 lead over the first two periods, then had to hold off the Mules in the third after the visitors potted a pair of goals 17 seconds apart.

            Junior Cody Braga (Middleboro, Mass.) gave the Huskies an early 1-0 lead rifling a shot through a maze of players in front of Colby junior goalie Andrew Tucci (Toronto, Ont.) for his team-leading ninth goal of the season.  Senior Parker Sanderson (Bangor, Maine) doubled the home side's lead in the final minute with a wrist shot from the right-wing circle after taking a long feed from junior Tristan Dundas (Chilliwack, B.C.).

            Colby held the edge in play in the second period outshooting USM 9-3, but it was the Huskies who scored the lone goal of the frame.  Rookie Adam Withers (Kenora, Ont.) redirected a feed from junior Colin Merrill (Portland, Maine) past senior Mack Burton (Columbus, Ohio) at 16:33.

            Colby got on the board midway through the third period when senior Nick O'Connor (Canton, Mass.) beat Léger on the power play from the left-wing circle for his 12th marker of season.  Seventeen seconds later, rookie Quinn Doyle (Rochester, N.Y.) pulled the Mules within one when he scored from in close.

            After USM took its timeout to settle things, the teams skated end to end over the next three minutes before the Huskies were awarded a power play after a Colby skater was whistled off for interference.  Six seconds after the power play expired, rookie Matt Fuller (Mirror Lake, N.H.) found himself in the right place to stuff in the rebound of shot from Withers at 15:22.

            Colby lifted sophomore Joe MacDonald (Westford, Mass.) for the extra skater with 1:09 remaining, but was unable to get a good scoring bid on Léger.

            The Mules used three goalies in the game.  Tucci played the opening period making seven saves.  Burton had two saves in the middle period and was tagged with the loss.  MacDonald made seven saves before heading to the bench for the extra skater.

            Braga and Withers each finished with a goal and an assist to pace the Huskies' offense.  The Mules converted on 1 of 5 power-play opportunities while killing off all four Husky power plays.

            Southern Maine plays its final regular season home game on Saturday (4 p.m.) hosting New England College for a New England Hockey Conference game.  Colby faces Hamilton College on Friday (7 p.m.) and Amherst College on Saturday (3 p.m.) in a pair of NESCAC games.