Maine sweeps Providence over weekend

By Herb Scribner

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For Maine’s hockey team, things could not have gone better this past weekend in the Hockey East. The Black Bears completed a two-game sweep over Providence with 3-1 wins.

A big difference in this game came from goalie Scott Darling, who earned Pure Hockey Co-Defensive Player of the Week honors. Darling stopped 47 shots during both games against the Friars (7-7-1, 2-5-1 HEA), which came to a total .959 stop percentage.

Across the ice at the other net, Providence’s goaltender Alex Beaudry also had a stellar performance in both games (60 saves total).

Besides Darling, the Black Bears (8-7-1, 6-4-1 HEA) had forward Gustav Nyquist, who was successful on the offensive front. Nyquist scored two goals on Friday night, including the game-winning goal.

Friday night’s game was scoreless through the first period of play, with the first score coming in the second period by Providence. The Friars’ lead broke 14 seconds later, as Nyquist knocked in his first goal of the evening. His second goal came midway through the same period, giving Maine a lead that it never gave up.

Maine is the first team in the Hockey East to sweep the same opponent in a two-game series this year.

Vallorani POW for UML

David Vallorani earned Player of the Week honors after a stunning performance this past weekend, leading UMass Lowell to a 5-3 win over No. 9 Massachusetts.

Vallorani had three goals in the game against the Minutemen (9-5-0, 5-4-0 HEA). His first came 10 minutes into the second period, when the River Hawks (9-5-1, 5-4-1 Hockey East) were down by a goal.

After both teams earned another score, Vallorani rekindled the scoring flame as he netted a goal with less than seven minutes left in the third period. Though he gave Lowell the winning edge with his second goal, Vallorani scored another goal with three minutes left to put away the Minutemen.

Over the course of the season, Vallorani has seven goals and seven assists. Four of his goals came from Hockey East games specifically, as did six of his assists.

His goal-scoring ways led him to the top of the River Hawks’ leading goal-scorer list, and is tied with forwards Kory Falite and Paul Worthington (each with seven goals apiece).

Merrimack splits weekend

Merrimack split its two-game series this weekend against Northeastern, with the victory coming on the home ice of the Warriors, improving their home record to 7-1-0.

Merrimack (7-7-0, 4-5-0 HEA) took the first game with a final score of 3-1, which included a heavy offensive effort form Justin Bonitatibus, who had an assist and a goal during the game.

While freshman John Heffernan scored his first career goal to give the Warriors the initial lead, it was Bonitatibus who gave Merrimack the edge after Northeastern knotted the game up.

Bonitatibus one-timed a pass from freshman Stephane Da Costa, scoring his third goal in as many games. The goal was not the only weapon that Bonitatibus had in mind for the Huskies (6-7-1, 4-6-1 HEA), as he, along with senior Pat Bowen, passed the puck to sophomore Elliot Sheen, who netted his fifth goal of the year.

The offensive effort displayed by Bonitatibus and fellow teammates was enough to earn the Warriors a win on the home ice, though the same could not be said the following night.

Looking for revenge, Northeastern goaltender Bryan Mountain stopped 26 shots by the Warriors, leading to its 2-1 victory.

The Huskies took the first lead, off a defensive lapse from Merrimack. However, the Warriors came right back to knot the game up.

A little over a quarter through the third period, the Huskies earned the victory off a shot from freshman Garrett Vermeersch.

Though coming out of the second game with the victory, Northeastern was outshot, 25-17, throughout the contest.

Herb Scribner can be reached at [email protected]