No. 11 Maine tops No. 4 Merrimack
Bears post fourth consecutive shutout in Hockey East win
ORONO, Maine. -- Dan Sullivan recorded his third straight shutout as the University of Maine men's ice hockey team blanked fourth-ranked Merrimack 4-0 on a snowy Friday night at Alfond Arena in Orono, Maine. Spencer Abbott led the offense for the Black Bears with a goal and a pair of assists. Maine improves to 15-10-6 on the season with the win and 12-8-4 in Hockey East play. Merrimack falls to 21-6-4 overall and 15-6-3 in conference play.
Maine took an early 1-0 lead when Abbott received a puck from Gustav Nyquist and fired it towards the net. The puck deflected in off a Merrimack player, giving the Black Bears the lead just 4:27 into the game. Brian Flynn also assisted on the goal.
Josh Van Dyk put the Black Bears ahead 2-0 at 17:24 of the first period with a power play goal. Abbott made a perfect pass to Van Dyk on the left side of the crease. Van Dyk beat Merrimack goalie Joe Cannata for his first goal of the season. Will O'Neill also added an assist on the goal.
The Black Bears took the 2-0 lead into the first intermission. Tanner House gave the Black Bears a 3-0 lead at 12:09 of the second period. Just our of the penalty box, House headed skated down the slot and received a perfect pass from Kyle Beattie. House pulled the puck around Cannata and slid it just inside the right post. For House, it was his 10th goal of the season.
Flynn added his team-leading 17th goal of the season on the power play at 17:47 as the Black Bears extended their lead to 4-0. Nyquist made the pass to Flynn. Jeff Dimmen also picked up an assist on the goal.
Dan Sullivan moved to second place on Maine's consecutive scoreless streak, having not allowed a goal in 180:00 following the game. He needs just 13:45 to tie Jimmy Howard for the school record. He stopped all 15 shots that he faced and improves to 8-5-1 on the season. Cannata made 13 saves in 40 minutes of action and suffers the loss. He falls to 21-6-4 on the season. Sam Marotta played the third period. He made 13 saves.
Maine finished the game with a 30-15 edge in shots on goal. The Black Bears were 2-for-6 on the power play, while Merrimack was scoreless in five chances. The game had a total of 173 total penalty minutes.
The two teams finish their two-game weekend series on Saturday, Feb. 26. Puck drop is scheduled for 7 PM and tickets can be purchased at the door. Before and after the game Maine will honor its five seniors.