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ORONO, Maine -- Matt Duffy (Windham, Maine) registered his first career hat trick to lead the University of Maine men's ice hockey team past Merrimack 3-1 on Saturday night at Alfond Arena in Orono, Maine. Maine improves to 5-6-2 on the season and 3-4-2 in Hockey East play. Merrimack falls to 6-7-2 overall and 3-7-1 in conference play.
After a scoreless first period, Duffy opened the scoring for Maine 4:03 into the second period. Simon Danis-Pepin (Vaudreuil-Dorion, Quebec) had a shot from the blueline which hit Wes Clark (Oakville, Ontario) who was to the left of Merrimack goalie Patrick Watson. Clark passed the puck to Jeff Marshall (Kyle, Saskatchewan) who shot the puck. Watson made the save, but left a rebound to his right. Duffy collected the rebound and easily beat Watson for his first goal of the night.
The Black Bears added to their lead midway through the third period. Marshall fed Clark a pass from behind the Merrimack goal. Clark found Duffy who was just in front of the goal. Duffy was able to beat Watson for his second goal of the game.
Merrimack pulled to within one goal at 18:06 of the third period. Bobby Kramer and Justin Bonitatibus teamed up to find Francois Ouimet between the faceoff circles. Ouimet beat Ben Bishop (Des Peres, Mo.) to break up the shutout. Shortly after the Ouimet goal, Merrimack pulled goalie Watson.
Tanner House (Cochrane, Alberta) then collected the puck in the defensive zone and found Rob Bellamy (Westfield, Mass.) near center ice. Bellamy fed Duffy who was all alone and he skated in and deposited the puck in the empty net, giving him the hat trick.
Maine goalie Ben Bishop was outstanding, stopping 26 of the 27 shots that he faced. He improves to 5-6-2 on the season. The win was the 47th of his career, tying him with Jimmy Howard (2002-05) for fifth place on Maine's all-time wins list.
Watson made 22 saves for the Warriors. He falls to 4-6-2 on the season.
The Black Bears return to action on Sunday, Dec. 16 when they travel to New Hampshire for a 4 p.m. game. Maine will host Skate with the Bears on Sunday, Dec. 9 at Alfond Arena from 2:00 - 4:00 p.m. Fans are encouraged to come skate with the men's and women's ice hockey teams and gets their picture taken and get autographs.