While the majority of University of Maine students were still away on spring break, the men’s hockey team picked up a crucial victory in the Hockey East quarterfinals over Merrimack College.
After a 2-1 win Friday night in Alfond Arena, the Black Bears are one win away from a trip to the TD Bank Garden and will all but secure a spot in the national tournament.
After falling behind 1-0 in the first period, two second-period goals were the difference as junior forward Joey Diamond put tied the score less than 8 minutes into the second period off a beautiful pass by senior forward Spencer Abbott.
Junior forward Kyle Beattie provided the game winner after freshman forward John Parker worked to keep the puck in the offensive zone. Beattie gathered the puck at the right face-off circle and sniped a quick shot past senior goalie Joe Cannata.
The Black Bears prevented the Warriors from gaining any offensive flow, keeping the puck deep in Merrimack’s zone.
The Warriors pulled Cannata with a minute-and-a-half remaining and had a tremendous opportunity to tie the game, but sophomore goalie Dan Sullivan managed to close the lid on the goal.
Both goalies excelled in net, with Cannata stopping 40 of 42 shots and Sullivan stopping 20 of 21 chances.
The two teams meet again Saturday at 7 p.m. If the Black Bears win, they move on to the Hockey East semifinals in the Garden. It will be UMaine’s first time in the semifinals since 2010.