Senior defenseman Jeff Dimmen had two goals and an assist for the Black Bears
ORONO, Maine - Seniors Jeff Dimmen (Colorado Springs, Colo.) and Josh Van Dyk (Woodstock, Ontario) combined to score three goals and dish out three assists as the University of Maine men's ice hockey team cruised past fourth-ranked Merrimack 7-1 on senior night at Alfond Arena. In addition, rookie goalie Dan Sullivan (York, Pa.) set the Black Bear school record for consecutive scoreless minutes at 202:49.
Maine improves to 16-10-6 on the season with the win and 13-8-4 in Hockey East play. Merrimack falls to 21-7-4 overall and 15-7-3 in conference play.
Mark Nemec (Rouses Point, N.Y.) opened the scoring action just 2:20 into the first period when his shot from the blueline went through traffic and into the back of the net. For Nemec, it was his second goal of the season. Maine took the 1-0 lead into the first intermission, behind a 14-6 edge in shots on goal.
The second period came with a flurry of goals. The first came just 41 seconds into the period when Brian Flynn (Lynnfield, Mass,.) notched his 18th of the season on a delayed penalty. After circling the net, Gustav Nyquist (Malmo, Sweden) was credited with his 26th assist on the season as he slipped the puck in front to Flynn. Tanner House (Cochrane, Alberta), also recorded his 19th assist of the season on the play.
Maine took a 3-0 lead less than a minute later on the ensuing power play. Jeff Dimmen scored from just above the face-off circle with assists from Kyle Beattie (Avondale, Ariz.) and Van Dyk. However, Merrimack responded with its first goal of the weekend as Jeff Velleca broke through the Maine defense after Chris Barton won a puck in the corner and fed it to Velleca in the low slot. Jordan Heywood also assisted on the goal, which snapped Sullivan's scoreless streak.
Maine was able to counter with two more goals at 14:20 and 16:47 of the second period to bring the score to 5-1. Van Dyk scored his second goal of the weekend on a shot from the blueline to extend Maine's lead to 4-1. Beattie gave the Black Bears a 5-1 lead moments later with his sixth goal of the season from Robby Dee (Plymouth, Minn.) and Spencer Abbott (Hamilton, Ontario).
Nyquist added his 16th goal of the second just 2:53 into the second period when he scored on a shot just outside the crease. Flynn and Will O'Neill (Salem, Mass.) each assisted on the goal. Maine scored its fourth power play goal of the game when Dimmen notched his second of the night 5:26 into the second period. The four power play goals were a season-high for the Black Bears.
Maine finished the game with a commanding 39-19 edge in shots on goal. The Black Bears converted 4-of-8 power play chances, while holding Merrimack scoreless on seven opportunities.
Sullivan stopped 18 of 19 shots that he faced, while setting the mark for consecutive scoreless minutes at Maine. He broke the old mark of 193:45 set by former standout and current NHL goaltender Jimmy Howard. He improves to 9-5-1 on the season. Joe Cannata made 19 saves in 40 minutes of action and picks up the loss. He falls to 21-7-4 on the season. Sam Marotta played the third period. He made 13 saves.
Before and after the game on Saturday Maine honored seniors: Mike Banwell (Scarborough, Ontario), Van Dyk, Dimmen, Dee and House.
The Black Bears return to action when they close the 2010-2011 regular season with a pair of games at UMass March 25 and 26.