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ORONO, Maine - Dan Sullivan (York, Pa.) recorded his second shutout of the year, while Brice O'Connor (Londonderry, N.H.) scored his second goal of the season and it proved to be the game-winner as the University of Maine men's ice hockey team blanked New Hampshire 1-0 on Saturday night to earn home ice in the Hockey East quarterfinals.
The win was the 20th of the season for the Black Bears, who improve to 20-11-3 on the campaign and 15-10-2 in Hockey East play. New Hampshire falls to 14-17-3 overall and 11-14-2 in conference play.
Maine scored the only goal that it would need midway through the first period. Adam Shemansky (Robbinsville, N.J.) got the puck back to Nick Pryor (Woodbury, Minn.) on the blueline. Pryor passed to O'Connor also on the blueline who fired the puck past UNH goalie Casey DeSmith and into the back of the net at 10:13.
Sullivan did the rest, stopping all 32 shots that he faced, many in spectacular fashion. He made 14 saves in the first period alone for the Black Bears. He stopped seven second period shots and 11 in the third. He improves to 19-8-3 on the season.
DeSmith made 28 saves for UNH, allowing just the one goal. He falls to 8-8-1.
New Hampshire outshot Maine 32-29 in the game. Each team was 0-for-2 on the power play.
Before and after the game, Maine honored its six seniors: Brian Flynn (Lynnfield, Mass.), Theo Andersson (Gothenburg, Sweden), Spencer Abbott (Hamilton, Ontario), Will O'Neill (Salem, Mass.), Josh Seeley (Howland, Maine) and Ryan Hegarty (Arlington, Mass.). The group was introduced with their parents prior to the game and then each spoke to the crowd following the victory.
Maine finishes fourth in Hockey East and will host Merrimack in the Hockey East best-of-three quarterfinal series. The first game will be Friday, March 9 at 7 PM. Tickets can be purchased at the Maine ticket office, by calling 207-581-BEAR or 1-800-756-TEAM. Fans can also purchase tickets online at www.goblackbearsticket.com(.)