ORONO — For the University of Maine men’s hockey team, there was no second-guessing in a 6-3 win over Northeastern.

Two days after dropping their season opener to Merrimack — a loss plagued by inconsistency and a lack presence in front of the opposing goal — the Black Bears returned to the ice with a palpable sense of urgency.

“The guys were just hungrier,” said Maine center Brian Flynn, who had a goal and four assists. “You don’t want to lose at home. The guys were hungrier and played harder.

“We played hard the first night, but maybe not as smart. We played hard (Sunday), and we played smart.”

And the Black Bears created more offensive chances, putting 40 shots on Northeastern goalies Chris Rawlings and Clay Witt, and maintained a presence deep in the Huskies’ zone.

“We needed to take more shots,” said Maine left wing Spencer Abbott, who scored two goals. “Against Merrimack, we attempted 57 shots and only hit the net 23 times. So that was our biggest emphasis, to shoot the puck, hit the net and create second-chance opportunities.”


The Black Bears took the game’s first 10 shots on goal and took a 3-0 lead with 1:33 left in the first when Kyle Beattie deflected Mark Nemec’s shot from the right point past Rawlings.

“We didn’t really have the killer mentality that we have to play with,” said Beattie, who had a goal and an assist. “Playing like that on Friday, we knew that we had to come out and throw everything at the net and just go in there and take over at the net.”

The Black Bears (1-1-0, 1-1-0 Hockey East) took a 2-0 lead less than 12 minutes into the game on Adam Shemansky’s power-play goal at 10:18 and Abbott’s goal at 11:45. Shemansky picked up the puck from behind Flynn off the faceoff and beat Rawlings (23 saves) on a shot from the left circle and less than two minutes later, Abbott scored on an off-balance shot from the left circle.

After Beattie’s goal, the pivotal point for the Black Bears came midway through the second when they killed off Northeastern’s 5-on-3 power-play opportunity, which came as a result of penalties to Joey Diamond (hooking at 10:54) and Mark Nemec (cross-checking at 11:58).

Northeastern (0-1-1, 0-1-1 Hockey East) put only two shots on Maine goalie Dan Sullivan (24 saves) in that stretch and Maine blocked two more shots before both penalties expired.

“We’re fighting uphill and you need to get a kill,” Northeastern coach Jim Madigan said. “They had some momentum and we just didn’t respond.”

After Flynn’s goal at 16:44, Northeastern scored with 1:24 left in the second when Anthony Bitetto’s bouncing shot from the right point beat Sullivan, and Diamond gave Maine a 5-1 lead 3:46 into the third. Mike McLaughlin cut Maine’s lead to 5-2 before Abbott scored his second goal at 8:13 of the third, and Vinny Saponari scored Northeastern’s final goal with 10 seconds left in the game.

“We didn’t match their speed and we didn’t match their offensive intensity,” Madigan said. “They were buzzing our net. We got it going a little bit in the second and a little bit in the third, but it was inconsistent with our forecheck and how we drove to the net.”

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