NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. — University of Maine freshman goalie Shawn Sirman received his first start since Jan. 15 and responded with an exceptional 24-save performance to go with Gustav Nyquist’s two goals and two assists as Maine recorded a 5-1 men’s hockey win over Merrimack at Lawler Arena Saturday night.
Brian Flynn scored a pair of goals for the Black Bears who snapped a four-game road winless streak and improved to 16-13-3 overall and 13-10-2 in Hockey East. Merrimack, which entered the game 12-2 at home for one of the nation’s best home records, fell to 14-17-1 and 11-13-1, respectively.
Maine took a 2-0 lead with goals 1:13 apart late in the first period by Flynn and Nyquist only to have John Hefferman get one back with 1:06 remaining in the period.
Both teams had several glittering chances in the second period but Sirman and Merrimack goalie Joe Cannata came up with several nice saves until Nyquist notched a final goal with 56 seconds left in the period.
Robby Dee and Flynn added third-period goals for the Black Bears.
Maine will now finish no lower than fifth in Hockey East and has put itself in great position to clinch a home-ice berth next weekend when they entertain the University of Massachusetts for two.
Flynn staked Maine to a 1-0 lead when he jammed home the rebound of a Ryan Hegarty shot from the edge the crease. It was a shorthanded goal.
Nyquist made it 2-0 on the power play when he took the puck from Will O’Neil, wheeled in the right circle and beat Cannata with a wrist shot into the far corner.
Hefferman got one back when he pounced on his own rebound and beat Sirman from the low slot.
Nyquist’s all-imporant goal at the end of the second period came off a shot from Mark Nemec. Nemec’s shot bounced off a few bodies and Nyquist scored with a backhander from the right circle.
In the third period, Dee scored with a snap shot from the right circle. Nyquist and Flynn capped the scoring by converting a 2 on 0 as Nyquist held it before sliding it to Flynn for an easy tap-in.
Maine outshot Merrimack 36-25.