The University of Maine survived a tough contest against the University of North Dakota, defeating the Fighting Sioux 4-2 and sweeping the weekend series against the No. 2 team in the country.
The Black Bears were led by junior forwards Spencer Abbott and Gustav Nyquist, as well as freshman goalie Dan Sullivan, who made 23 saves on the night.
The Black Bears chose to start Sullivan in the second game of the back-to-back series with the Fighting Sioux. Right away, the freshman got some action. One minute into the contest, Sullivan deflected away a great Sioux opportunity, and he continued to look stellar throughout the first period, allowing nothing behind him while saving 10 Sioux shots.
The Black Bears gained their best chance of the first period two minutes in when sophomore forward Adam Shemansky slid the puck wide on a breakaway opportunity.
The Fighting Sioux gained the first power play of the game seven minutes in when sophomore forward Kyle Beattie was tagged with a boarding penalty. The Black Bears stayed aggressive during the penalty kill and halted any North Dakota scoring chance.
With just under five minutes remaining in the first, the Black Bears also failed to capitalize on their only power play opportunity of the period.
In the final minutes, Abbott came close to giving the Black Bears the lead, attempting to go top shelf on Sioux goalie Aaron Dell. The shot was deflected enough by Dell to fly over the post.
The second period opened with four-on-four action, until the Black Bears gained a 50-second man advantage that brought about many scoring opportunities, but none that found the net.
Eight minutes in, the Black Bears still couldn’t capitalize on their third power play of the period, as the Fighting Sioux penalty kill showed up after allowing three power-play goals a night before.
With just over six minutes to go, the Fighting Sioux were the first to find the scoreboard when defender Ben Blood scored on the rebound after shots by forward Evan Trupp and forward Matt Frattin.
The fourth power play proved to be the charm for the Black Bears, as just over two minutes after the Sioux gained a 1-0 lead, the Black Bears connected six seconds into the man advantage when Nyquist scored as a skirmish around the net called for a review. After a brief pause, the goal was allowed, assisted by senior center Robby Dee and junior forward Spencer Abbott.
After another two-minute interval, the Black Bears gained the lead when sophomore forward Joey Diamond wrapped the puck around and slid it by Dell for the second Maine goal of the game. Dee and senior defender Josh Van Dyk were credited with the assists.
The Black Bears doubled their lead less than a minute into the third period, scoring the crucial fourth goal of the game, as senior defender Jeff Dimmen’s pass found the streaking junior forward Brian Flynn, who settled the puck and drove it past Dell for the third Black Bear goal.
Seven minutes into the third, the Black Bears put the game out of reach during a five-on-three man advantage. Nyquist found Abbott for his Black Bears-leading fifth goal of the season. The assist brought Nyquist’s total to seven.
Less than two minutes later, the Fighting Sioux chipped into the Black Bear lead, as Frattin scored the second short-handed goal of the series for the Sioux, bringing the score to as close as it would get, 4-2.
The Black Bears handled another penalty kill late in the third, and skated off the ice with a sweep of No. 2 team in the country.