ORONO — Hockey staples special teams and goaltending played starring roles Friday night at Alfond Arena.

University of Maine senior Tim Doherty scored a pair of goals, including the equalizer less than five minutes into the final period, as the Black Bears and the University of Nebraska Omaha skated to a 2-2 tie to begin the final non-conference series of the season for both teams.

The same two teams close out the weekend set with a noon start Saturday at the Cross Insurance Arena in Portland as part of Hockey Day In Maine.

After battling back from a pair of one-goal deficits for the tie, Maine (9-8-4) extended its unbeaten streak at home to 11 games (10-0-1) dating back to a loss to Providence last Feb. 8. The Black Bears are unbeaten in eight games at Alfond this season (7-0-1).

“It was a real good college hockey game at the end of the day,” said Maine coach Red Gendron. “Both teams battled hard, there were scoring chances, there was high compete, there were plays made, there were hits, so it was good.”

The two goaltenders combined to make 87 saves between them on the night, with Maine’s Jeremy Swayman stopping 41 shots in his 20th start of the season. Omaha freshman Austin Roden posted a career-high 46 saves in just the fifth start of his career.

“I thought both goalies were excellent. I think both goalies can take a lot credit for the score being 2-2 tonight,” said Omaha coach Mike Gabinet, whose No 1 option between the pipes, Isaiah Saville, has been with the U.S. national team for the IIHF World Junior Championships. “I thought Roden really competed in there and made some timely saves for us.”

Power plays, and power-play goals, dictated the game’s momentum shifts, particularly in the second half of the night.

Omaha (8-8-3), playing its first game since Dec. 22, capitalized on a dominant start with junior Kevin Conley’s goal at 12:16 of the first period.

The Conley strike came via the Mavericks’ 14th shot on goal, having opened the proceedings with the game’s first 11 shots to keep Swayman very busy through a first 20 minutes that concluded with a 19-5 shots advantage for the visitors.

Omaha could have had a much larger lead heading into the dressing room for the first time, something Gendron was less than thrilled about.

Maine started on better footing in the second period and got the opportunity it was looking for when Omaha winger Taylor Ward was whistled off for a five-minute major penalty and a game misconduct at the 4:36 mark. That long power-play led to several good scoring opportunities for the Black Bears, who finally cashed in with Doherty’s eighth of the year to make it 1-1 at 8:36.

In the short-term, the momentum was brief for Maine. Only 20 seconds after the Mavericks returned to full strength Black Bear defenseman J.D. Greenway was sent off for a penalty of his own, and Omaha’s Ryan Brushett capitalized 11 seconds into the power play.

“It was clear that whenever we got the puck deep and finished checks and what not that we had a little bit of success. That’s what we started to do in the second period,” Gendron said. “It was a gritty performance. We didn’t start well, but we picked ourselves up and played pretty well the last two periods.”

“Got to stay out of the penalty box,” Gabinet said. “Anytime you give a team a chance to get five minutes to get back in the game (it changes momentum). Give them credit, they got some good chances.”

Those chances eventually put Maine in the driver’s seat for a potential winner.

Jack Quinlivan and Eduards Tralmaks each hit posts in the second period before Maine knotted things up on Doherty’s redirected wrist shot from the point at 4:13 of the final period.

Swayman’s best work outside the first period came early in the third period, when he first robbed Chayse Primeau out of nowhere with an acrobatic glove save and then turned away Joey Abate’s sharp redirect from the low slot a few minutes later.

“Those are ones you’ve got to find a way to put those in the net,” Gabinet said.

Maine finished 1 for 4 on the power play, including a man advantage for the final 1:56 of regulation that produced good looks from both Adam Dawe and Jacob Schmidt-Svejstrup but no winner. Omaha’s power play finished 1 for 3 on the night.

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