Matt Irwin tallies two goals for the Minutemen

Matt Irwin scored two goals for the Minutemen

ORONO, Maine -- Matt Irwin scored a pair of goals as the University of Massachusetts skated past Maine 5-2 on Friday night at Alfond Arena in Orono, Maine. The Black Bears fall to 16-14-3 on the season and 13-11-2 in Hockey East play with the loss, while UMass improves to 17-16-0 overall and 12-14-0 in conference play.

The Minutemen would waste no time jumping out to a 1-0 lead when T.J. Syner scored his seventh goal of the season just 52 seconds into the first period. The play was set up when Kevin Czepiel sent a pass through the Maine zone to Casey Wellman. Wellman then fired a shot at Maine goaltender Shawn Sirman (Blezard Valley, Ontario) that Sirman knocked down to his right. Syner was waiting on the left post and stuffed the puck past Sirman to give UMass an early 1-0 lead which the Minutemen would hold onto entering the first intermission.

UMass would extend its lead throughout the second period to 4-0 before the Black Bears would tally their first goal of the contest. The Minutemen would get their second goal of the contest just seconds after they killed off Maine's second power play. Wellman would carry the puck into the Maine zone before dumping it off to Justin Braun. Braun would unleash a slap shot at Sirman that was tipped in front by Matt Irwin and past Sirman. Exactly nine minutes into the second period, UMass would get its second goal of the period when captain James Marcou found Irwin in the slot who beat Sirman. The Minutemen would go up 4-0 when James Marcou slid a pass to Braun who skated in and buried a slap shot past Sirman.

Senior David Wilson (Caledon East, Ontario) would then replace Sirman in net. After skating four-on-four, UMass would pick up a tripping penalty to give Maine a 4-on-3 advantage, which would prove to be costly for the Minutemen. Brian Flynn (Lynnfield, Mass.) would control the puck in the UMass zone. Flynn sent a cross ice pass to Spencer Abbott (Hamilton, Ontario) who controlled the puck in the left circle before ripping a shot past UMass goaltender Paul Dainton.

The Black Bears would capitalize again on the power play 9:26 into the third period when Will O'Neill notched his sixth goal of the season. Maine would set up on a 5-on-4 advantage with Robby Dee (Plymouth, Minn.) winning the face-off to Gustav Nyquist (Malmo, Sweden). Nyquist would send a pass back to the point which was controlled along the blueline by O'Neill. O'Neill would skate the blueline before blasting a shot past Dainton to bring the Black Bears within two goals, 4-2.

The Black Bears would battle, pulling Wilson with 1:02 remaining in the contest but UMass would battle and notch an empty netter by Brett Watson to take the contest, 5-2. Marc Concannon would assist on the lay for the Minutemen.

Maine outshot the Minutemen by a 26-24 margin. The Black Bears finished 2-for-5 on the power play, while UMass was 1-for-6.

Sirman picked up 13 saves while in net for Maine. He falls to 1-6-0 on the season. Wilson picked up six saves as he took over for Sirman. Dainton picks up the win and moves to 14-13-0 on the season while making 25 saves between the pipes for the Minutemen.

Maine returns to action tomorrow at 7 p.m. when they finish the regular season on senior night at Alfond Arena against the Minutemen.