UMaine hockey in HE semifinals
ORONO — Brice O’Connor scored on the rebound of a Nick Pryor shot from the slot 3:43 into the second period and it proved to be the gamewinner as the University of Maine men’s ice hockey team skated past Merrimack 2-1 to win the Hockey East quarterfinal series. With the victory, Maine advances to the TD Garden and will face Boston University on Friday at 8 p.m.
Maine improved to 22-12-3 on the season, while Merrimack fell to 18-12-7.
Maine took a 1-0 lead with a power play goal at 11:38 of the first period. Will O’Neill got the puck to Spencer Abbott on the blueline. He passed the puck to Adam Shemansky on the goal line. Shemansky tried to pass into the slot, but the puck was deflected back to him. He then returned it to Abbott who fired the puck past Merrimack goalie Joe Cannata. For Abbott, it was his 20th goal of the season.
Maine extended its lead to 2-0 early in the second period. Abbott carried the puck up the ice and slid it back to Pryor who was skating alone down the slot.
Pryor unleashed a shot that Cannata was unable to control. O’Connor was right on the post and fired the puck into the back of the net for what would turn out to be the game-winner. For O’Connor, it was his third goal.
Merrimack pulled to within one goal at 9:16 of the second period. Jesse Todd had a shot that Maine goalie Dan Sullivan stopped, but the rebound went right to Ryan Flanigan who was able to beat him.
Maine outshot Merrimack 32-21. The Black Bears were one-for-six on the power play, while Merrimack was scoreless in its lone chance.
Maine goalie Dan Sullivan made 20 saves in goal. He improved to 21-9-3. Cannata made 30 saves for Merrimack. He falls to 17-12-7.
Tickets for the general public will go on sale Tuesday. Tickets will be available for pick up on Wednesday for the ticket office or at the TD Garden team will call booth.