ORONO, Maine – Martin Ouellette made 29 saves to earn his forth shutout as the Maine Black Bears earned a 2-0 victory over Merrimack in the first round of the Hockey East playoffs.
“We played really well; we hemmed them in,”said Maine coach Red Gendron. “We could have scored and could have put the game away.”
Just 2:01 into the first period, Mark Anthoine jumped on the loose puck after Andrew Cerretani’s shot was deflected into the slot and put it past Merrimack goalie Rasmus Tirronen
Late in the third period, Ouellette made a number of critical saves for the Black Bears. A bad pass by Devin Shore found the stick of Warrior Hampus Gustafsson, who made a point-blank attempt, but Ouellette denied the low shot. Moments later, Shore won the race to the puck and was able to tally the empty-net goal with 20 seconds left in regulation.
“Tonight was a complete game; all of our guys were on board,” said Anthoine. “All four lines were going, and obviously goaltending was there. That was huge, especially to build some confidence going into next weekend.”
“It wasn’t enough; we passed up way too many chances,” said Merrimack coach Mark Dennehy. “All night we were looking for the perfect play and it wasn’t there.”
Maine is now 16-13-4 while Merrimack finished their season 8-22-3. The Black Bears will now look ahead to the Providence College Friars in the quarterfinal of the Hockey East Playoffs.