ORONO – The University of Maine hockey team keeps moving up.

The Black Bears beat the University of Massachusetts 7-3 Friday night before 4,422 at the Alfond Center and jumped into a third-place tie in Hockey East, one point away from the top.

It was the most lopsided league victory for Maine this year as the Black Bears took a 6-0 lead after two periods.

“We came out with a lot of energy,” said senior forward Brian Flynn, who scored two goals.

Joey Diamond added a goal and two assists. Kyle Beattie, Nick Pryor, Matt Mangene and Theo Andersson also scored, and Dan Sullivan made 18 saves before heading to the bench late in the game.

Spencer Abbott, the nation’s leading scorer, recorded two assists to boost his total to 51 points.

Maine improved to 18-9-3 overall, 13-8-2 in Hockey East. The Black Bears have 28 points, tied with UMass-Lowell, one point behind Boston College and Boston University.

Maine has played one more game than the other top league teams.

“It was a good win,” Maine Coach Tim Whitehead said. “We wanted to be ready right out of the gate.”

UMass, which is one point out of the eighth and final league playoff spot, fell to 10-14-5 overall, 6-12-4 in Hockey East.

The Minutemen scored three third-period goals, but UMass Coach Toot Cahoon was not celebrating.

“We were totally outclassed from start to finish,” Cahoon said. “Their third period, you can spit on because they had a six-goal lead and you can’t tell me they were playing with the same intensity.”

Maine outshot the Minutemen 32-23.

“They had poise with the puck and made plays,” Cahoon said. “They got into situations where we gave them lanes to the net, and they took it to the net.”

The Black Bears came into Friday’s game with a tendency of playing close league games, no matter the opponent. But Maine dominated Friday.

After leading 3-0 in the first period, Maine outshot UMass 10-4 in the second period and put the game out of reach.

“I liked how we were determined,” Whitehead said. “We didn’t take the foot off the gas pedal in the second period.”

Sullivan was solid again, and he was protected well when the Minutemen had a five-on-three power play for 1:23 in the second period.

Martin Ouellette replaced Sullivan with 5:49 left in the game. He made two saves and allowed one goal.

Down 6-0 heading into the third period, UMass scored three times, before Andersson answered at the end.

The Minutemen goals possibly set the tone for tonight’s game.

“In many ways, I’m glad that happened,” Whitehead said. “It’s a great reminder of how tough it will be (tonight). It will be absolutely intense and we have to be ready for it.”

NOTES: In Friday’s big Hockey East games, BU beat UMass-Lowell 7-4 and Boston College topped Merrimack 4-2.

Tonight’s UMaine-UMass game is not being televised (as reported previously), but will be on the radio (WLOB 1310-AM). 

Staff Writer Kevin Thomas can be contacted at 791-6411 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: KevinThomasPPH

 


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