Orono, Maine - As he has been many times this season Devin Shore was the difference maker for the University of Maine. The sophomore from Ajax, Ontario factored in the scoring of all four goals as the Black Bears defeated archrival New Hampshire, 4-2, in front of a sold-out crowd of 5,182 at Alfond Arena.
"Devin Shore is one of the elite players who has played here," said Red Gendron. "I knew some of them from the 90s. The kid is a special player. He's even more special because of his leadership ability."
Trailing 2-1 entering the third period, the Black Bears scored three times in the final period to salvage a split in the weekend series between the border rivals.
Eric Schurhamer's wrist shot from just inside the blue line tied the score 2:29 into the third period. Shore saw Schurhamer had an opening and sent the puck back to the freshman blue liner.
"[Schurhamer] didn't call for it, but we kind of made eye contact. He was on the strong side of his defender, but he was able to dart behind and beat him. There was a big seam for me to put the pass on his stick," explained Shore.
Midway through the third the Black Bears took the lead for good on an amazing individual effort by Shore. The Dallas Stars prospect raced down the right side, but his shot went wide and a UNH defender retrieved it.
Instead of coasting back Shore raced back to steal the puck away and find an open Ryan Lomberg who quickly zipped it past UNH goaltender Casey DeSmith who wasn't able to get over in time.
"I can't really remember it exactly. Shore took a shot and it went wide, but it came back around. I kind of opened up and I didn't doubt for one second that he would see me because that's just the type of player he is. Luckily it went in," said Lomberg.
"I got the initial shot away. Their guy picked it up on the other side of the net and looked up ice. Fortunately for us he wasn't expecting me to come up behind. I was able to catch him off guard. Ryan got off an unbelievable shot," explained Shore.
Brian Morgan sealed the victory with an empty net goal, assisted by Shore, with 46 seconds to play.
Just like Friday night the two teams were deadlocked at one goal apiece following 20 minutes. The Wildcats struck first on the power play when Brett Pesce blasted a one-timer into the back of the net at the 4:16 mark. Kevin Goumas and Eric Knodel picked up the helpers.
Devin Shore answered for Maine just over two minutes afterward with a rebound goal off his initial shot as he was cutting right to left across the offensive zone. Ben Hutton gave the lead pass to Ryan Lomberg who fed Shore.
The inability for Maine to get the puck deep allowed UNH to transition up ice, and Nick Sorkin capitalized. Justin Agosta led the senior up ice who scored his 15th goal of the season on a quick snap shot that snuck through the five-hole of Martin Ouellette.
Maine (12-9-3) out shot New Hampshire, 37-25, on the night. DeSmith made 33 saves while Ouellette stopped 23 pucks.
Notre Dame is the next opponent for each team. UNH (14-13-1) hosts the Fighting Irish next weekend while the Black Bears travel to South Bend in two weekends after a bye.
"This one was big. You never want to get swept during the weekend and you don't want to get swept by UNH because it's such a big rivalry. You never want to lose to UNH at the Alfond. It was something that was said in the room. Regardless of whether it left a good taste or a bad taste this game was going to stay with us for two whole weeks. It was up to us to figure it out," said Shore.
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Jeff Cox covers college, junior and high school hockey, NCAA recruiting, NHL Draft prospects and the AHL for SBNation. Follow him on twitter @JeffCoxSBNation.