December 13, 2010

Flynn's hat trick propels UMaine

Brian Flynn helps the Black Bears get back on track with a 4-1 victory over Massachusetts.

By Rachel Lenzi rlenzi@mainetoday.com
Staff Writer

ORONO - Two days after one of the most stinging losses of the season, the University of Maine hockey team could have simply reacted to adversity.

Instead, the Black Bears responded in the fashion of a team in search of redemption. And Brian Flynn responded in a resounding manner.

Flynn's hat trick Sunday at Alfond Arena helped Maine to a 4-1 win over Massachusetts, and helped the Black Bears recover from a sluggish first period.

Flynn, a junior left wing, tied the game at 1-1 less than six minutes into the second, then scored a pair of third-period goals -- including the winner on a power play at 2:24 -- to help the Black Bears end the Minutemen's four-game unbeaten streak.

"We came out a little slow tonight and going into the third period, it was 1-1 and we were kind of in a similar position as we were (Friday against New Hampshire)," Flynn said. "I thought we just came out and stuck with our game plan. We kept trying to get pucks deep and wear their (defense) down.

"They came out with a lot of energy. We didn't come out with enough urgency ... but we regrouped."

Furthermore, Friday's 4-3 loss to New Hampshire -- a game in which Maine was unable to protect a two-goal lead in the third period -- became fuel for the Black Bears.

"We used it as motivation to get the job done," Maine defenseman Brice O'Connor said.

Ranked sixth nationally, the Black Bears (8-4-4, 6-3-2 Hockey East) successfully protected a one-goal lead and increased it to two on Adam Shemansky's goal at 9:19 of the third.

"Going into the third period, we really tried to finish them off and not let up," said sophomore defenseman Nick Pryor, who had two assists. "We kept playing hard, finishing our checks, getting pucks to the net and trying to improve on everything we were doing."

Maine generated few first-period shots in front of UMass goalie Paul Dainton (28 saves) and Chase Langeraap gave the Minutemen (3-7-3, 2-4-3) a 1-0 lead, beating goalie Dan Sullivan (21 saves) on pass across the goal mouth from Connor Sheary with 5:26 left in the first.

"We had to regroup and really build some momentum as the game went on," Maine Coach Tim Whitehead said. "As the game progressed, it was a good sign and sure enough, we were in the same situation as we were (Friday).

"We lost the first period 1-0, we won the second period 1-0 and we were able to go 3-0 in the third."

Five minutes into the second, Flynn dug the puck from underneath UMass defenseman Adam Phillips, prone on the ice in front of the Minutemen goal, and Flynn beat Dainton on a wrist shot at 5:33 to tie the game.

"We had a couple of kids, they were just waiting for the whistle to blow," UMass Coach Don Cahoon said. "But what they need to learn is hear the whistle and then stop.

"They just stood around and (Flynn) just kept fishing and fishing and fishing, and he fires one home."

After Flynn's second goal, Shemansky gave Maine a 3-1 lead with 10:41 left when O'Connor's shot from the point deflected off Shemansky's shoulder and past Dainton. Flynn's third goal stood after a video review by the officials to determine if Flynn's foot was in the crease.

"Maine stayed on the puck and skated and possessed the puck, and we didn't stay on the puck as well and we didn't possess it and we didn't make as many plays the second half of the game," Cahoon said. "That was the big difference in the two teams."

Staff Writer Rachel Lenzi can be reached at 791-6415 or at:

rlenzi@pressherald.com

 

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