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AMHERST, Mass. - The UMass Minutemen swept the Maine Black Bears with a 4-3 win on Saturday night at the Mullins Center. The Minutemen had a 4-0 lead heading into the third period, but the Black Bears netted three goals in the final 20 minutes. The Minutemen were led by Cory Quirk and James Marcou, who each had a goal and an assist for UMass (14-15-3, 9-11-3 HEA), while Paul Dainton made 31 saves in goal. Brian Flynn scored twice for Maine, and Scott Darling made 23 saves for the Black Bears (12-16-4, 7-13-3 HEA). UMass will be back in action next weekend when they will play a home and home series with No. 1 Boston University. The Minutemen will host the Terriers on Friday night and the game will be televised on NESN at 7:30 PM.
Maine outshot the Minutemen 34-27 for the game, including an 18-7 advantage in the third period. UMass was 0-for-2 on the power play while the Black Bears went 1-for-8 on the man advantage.
The Minutemen controlled the play throughout the majority of the first period, scoring twice and outshooting Maine 12-6. UMass took an early lead on Quirk's ninth goal of the season just 2:15 into the frame. Quirk took a pass from Alex Berry in the slot and backhanded the puck on goal. Darling made the initial save but Quirk followed his shot and tucked the rebound past the Maine netminder for the score.
The Minutemen took a two-goal lead six minutes later on Topher Bevis' second goal of the season. Berry controlled the puck in the puck and fired a pass cross-ice to Bevis at the point. Bevis then took a wrist shot that found its way through traffic and past Darling for the goal. The Black Bears had one power-play opportunity during the first period, and managed five shots on goal during their man-advantage, but Dainton was there to deny any significant scoring threats.
Massachusetts added two more goals during the second period, taking a commanding 4-0 lead heading into the second intermission. Marcou netted his 11th goal of the season four minutes into the stanza off a nice feed from Casey Wellman. Wellman took a long pass from Chase Langeraap and skated in on a two-on-one with Marcou. Wellman held the puck and made the defenseman commit, than threaded a pass to Marcou who one-timed the puck past Darling for the score.
The Minutemen added another goal nine minutes into the period when T.J. Syner scored his fifth goal of the season. Shawn Saunders skated out from behind the net and threw a shot on goal that was blocked. But Syner was there to collect the rebound and bury it past Darling for the goal. The Black Bears outshot UMass 10-8 during the period, but the Minuteman defense was able to keep the Maine forwards to the sides of Dainton to prevent any quality scoring chances.
Then Minutemen were issued 53 penalty minutes during the third period, allowing the Black Bears to outshoot UMass 18-7 and score three times. The first came eight minutes into the period when Flynn picked up a loose rebound and tucked it past Dainton for his 10th goal of the season.
Maine made it a two-goal game five minutes later when Jeff Dimmen skated into the UMass zone and took a wrist shot that beat Dainton five-hole. Flynn notched his second goal of the period three minutes later to make the score 4-3, but the Minutemen were able to hold on and secure the win.