Sophomore forward Will Merchant scores two goals for Black Bears

Sophomore forward Will Merchant scored two goals for the Black Bears

ORONO, Maine -- Will Merchant (Eagan, Minn.) scored a pair of goals to lead the University of Maine men's ice hockey team to a 4-1 win over St. Francis Xavier in a rare Tuesday night game at Alfond Arena. The game was played on pink ice in honor of Skating Strides and Breast Cancer Awareness.

Maine opened the scoring just 5:39 into the first period when Jon Swavely (Reading, Pa.) got the puck to Merchant, who carried it into the offensive zone, before firing a shot that beat St. Francis Xavier goalie Drew Owsley. Bill Norman (Stockholm, Sweden) picked up the secondary assist on the goal.

Maine extended its lead to 2-0 at 10:47 of the first period when Dan Renouf (Pickering, Ontario) found Devin Shore (Ajax, Ontario) in the slot. His shot beat Owsley. Eric Schurhamer (St. Paul, Minn.) also assisted on the goal.

Maine made it a 3-0 lead with a Norman goal just one second after their power play had expired. Brice O'Connor (Londonderry, N.H.) got the puck to Stu Higgins (Troy, Mich.) who found Norman on the blueline. He skated a few strides before unleashing a shot just outside the right face-off circle.

St. Francis Xavier notched its lone goal of the game less than two minutes later when Jason Bast found Rob Slaney in the slot, who beat Maine goalie Dan Sullivan (York, Pa.) with his shot.

The Black Bears regained their three goal cushion late in the third period when Merchant gained control of a St. Francis Xavier turnover and beat netminder Morgan Clark.

The Black Bears outshot St. Francis Xavier 36-29 in the game. Maine finished 0-for-1 on the power play, while holding St. Francis Xavier scoreless in three chances.

Dan Sullivan earned the victory of the Black Bears as he stopped 25 shots in 53:25. Matt Strickrott (Guilford, N.H.), who made his first collegiate appearance, stopped three shots in 6:35.

Owsley made 11 saves in 29:09 to suffer the loss. Morgan Clark made 21 saves in the final 30:51.

Maine returns to action on Friday, Jan. 17 when it travels to UMass Lowell for a match up with the River Hawks. Puck drop is set for 7:15 PM.