Maine Hockey Journal

UMaine finally wins a game; defeats Michigan St.

Orono, ME – Maine can take a deep breath. After starting the season 0-3-0, a late powerplay goal from Gustav Nyquist erupted the crowd at Alfond Arena. Maine returned the favor, defeating Michigan State 5-3 after losing to the Spartans by the same score on Friday night.

“It was a great team win,” said Maine’s head coach, Tim Whitehead. “I was proud of the guys on how we competed tonight and also their focus. I thought last night’s special teams cost us, tonight it won the game for us.”

Corey Tropp continued his dominance against Maine when he lit the lamp for the fourth time this weekend at the 9:23 mark of period one. Derek Grant also had an outstanding weekend, registering four assist in two games.

“They are well coached,” said Michigan State’s head coach Rick Crowley. “They worked hard and they are a team that’s going to come on like ours is.”

Maine responded while shorthanded when David de Kastrozza found the back of the cage for the second time this season with 3:49 to play in the first. Fellow senior Kevin Swallow got credit with the lone assist on the goal.

The freshmen duo of Adam Shemansky and Matt Mangene set up both tallies for the Black Bears in the second period. Spencer Abbott regained the lead for the Black Bears with his first of the season 4:44 into the second stanza.

Michigan State came right back 20 seconds later as Mike Merrifield, who was inserted into the line up for the second game, lit the lamp. Juniors Jeff Petry and Corey Tropp assisted on the play.

Brian Flynn, one of six former New Hampshire Junior Monarchs on the Black Bears, finally got on the score sheet with 4:57 to play in the middle frame. Flynn stood right on the goal crease and slammed it home to give Maine the 3-2 lead. Fellow Monarchs’ alumni Mangene and Shemansky set the marker up.

“I was struggling to get one in the back of the net all year,” Brian Flynn mentioned. “That one felt good.”

Andrew Rowe sparked the Spartans 45 seconds into the third when the puck snuck past Scott Darling. Dustin Gazley and Daultan Leveille were given the assists.

“They brought the same offense tonight,” Scott Darling stated. “They’re still getting to the net and bumping into me.”

Matt Crandell went to the box for hooking with 2:59 to play in regulation. 4,835 fans screamed, “shoot” on the ensuing powerplay and Gustav Nyquist granted their wish with 1:39 remaining. He found a hole on the shorthand side to beat Drew Palmisano for the eventual game winner. Will O’Neil fed Nyquist with the game-winning pass. Robbie Dee earned the secondary assist.

“It felt great,” Gustav Nyquist said with a smile. “I think Dims (Jeff Dimmen) or (Will) O’Neil had it at the point dished it down to me. The goalie couldn’t see anything and I just saw an open spot.”

“It shows what a great competitor he is,” said Whitehead on Nyquist. “He’s not just a finesse player, he competes. Tonight he fought through a lot of checks, a lot of stick work and he found away to get that wrist shot through.”

Kevin Swallow removed all doubt with an empty netter 22 seconds later.

Maine goalie Scott Darling made 23 saves for his first victory of the season.

“I thought Scott bounced back with a real strong performance,” said Whitehead. “He was a little nervous last night in his first game. Tonight he played much steadier.”

At the other end of the sheet, Drew Palmisano made 20 saves in his first loss of the season for Michigan State. Maine was 2-for-8 with the man advantage and the Spartans were 1-for-6.

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