ORONO — The University of Maine men’s hockey team didn’t waste much time welcoming the North Dakota Fighting Sioux to Alfond Arena Friday night.
Maine scored just 43 seconds into the game en route to a five-goal outburst in the opening period that carried the Black Bears to 7-3 win
over the nation’s second-ranked team in front of 5,216 fans.
Maine snapped a three-game winless streak and improved to 2-1-2. North Dakota fell to 3-1-1.
The teams will play again tonight at 7.
“We played Maine hockey tonight,” said Maine junior right wing Gustav Nyquist, who had a goal and two assists. “We got the puck down low, we worked hard, we moved our feet and we were tenacious.”
”We didn’t give them time and space with the puck,” said sophomore goalie Shawn Sirman, who finished with 19 saves. “We were on them the whole night. Our forwards did a great job forcing them to the outside and making them dump it in and we have a real good corps of defensemen who were able to get the puck out of the zone.”
Robby Dee converted a Joey Diamond pass from behind the net to give Maine a lead it would never relinquish.
Diamond knocked a UND defenseman off the puck and slid it out to the unattended Dee in the middle of the low slot and Dee one-timed a wrister through Brad Eidsness’s legs.
“Joey has been doing that all season,” said Dee. “He got the puck out to me and I just slammed it home. I put it far post to the goalie’s left.”
“That was a huge goal,” said Maine junior defenseman Will O’Neill, who had a goal. “That really got the crowd going. Everybody came out skating tonight.”
Brian Flynn made it 2-0 just 2:17 later with the first of his two consecutive power-play goals.
Diamond fed Adam Shemansky, who was breaking down the right wing. Shemansky saw Flynn at the far post and made a diagonal back pass across to him and Flynn one-timed it into the short-side corner.
“Adam gave me a great pass and the goalie was still at the near post,” said Flynn.
UND defenseman Andrew MacWilliam took a five-minute major and game misconduct for a contact to the head hit on Flynn, and Flynn eventually capitalized when he took a Spencer Abbott pass, broke down the left wing and used a quick release to snap the puck into the far corner.
“Spencer pulled two guys over to him and I just tried to get my shot off as quickly as possible,” said Flynn.
Derek Rodwell came out of the penalty box after serving the MacWilliam major and beat Sirman with a shorthanded backhander on the breakaway. Danny Kristo set him up.
But O’Neill’s power-play goal and Nyquist’s even-strength goal 4:23 apart enabled Maine to take a 5-1 lead into the intermission.
O’Neill gained the puck off a Tanner House pass following a Dee faceoff win, faked a slap shot and then wristed the puck through a screen past Aaron Dell, who had replaced Eidsness.
”There was a guy in the shooting lane, so I skated to the middle and I saw the goalie coming over to the near post, so I shot it to the far post (blocker side),” said O’Neill.
“That was a devastating goal,” said UND senior defenseman and assistant captain Derrick LaPoint. “We had just gained momentum and that killed it.”
Dell was victimized on the Nyquist goal as he came way out of his net to beat Nyquist to the puck but cleared it into Nyquist’s body. Nyquist corralled the puck and fired it into the vacated net.
Maine built the lead to 7-1 in the second period on goals by Kyle Beattie and House before Matt Frattin scored on the power play with 4:34 left in the period for the Fighting Sioux.
Matt Mangene and Mark Anthoine created a scramble in front of the UND net and a loose puck squirted into the left circle where Beattie backhanded it into the vacated net.
House was set up by Abbott, who pokechecked the puck off the stick of UND captain Chay Genoway and fed it out to House, who chipped it into the short-side corner.
Frattin scored with a screened wrist shot from the left point after Brad Malone won a faceoff back to him.
Maine was 3-for-6 on the power play through two periods and 3-for-10 on the evening. That gives them eight power-play goals in their last three games.
Malone scored a third-period goal for North Dakota, which went 1-for-6 on the power play. His shot from a difficult angle deflected in off Sirman’s left leg.
Maine outshot North Dakota 27-22.
“Obviously, they came out ready to play and we didn’t,” said LaPoint. “It was a classic case of us being unprepared. We took some penalties, they have a good power play and they took advantage.”
“They came out hard. You’ve got to give them credit,” said Genoway.
House and Dee each had an assist to go with their goals, while Diamond and Abbott had two assists apiece. Abbott has now registered at least one point in seven straight games dating back to last season.
Miramichi, New Brunswick, native Malone had a goal and an assist for UND.