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January 20, 2013

Merrimack makes history at Alfond, beats Black Bears

ORONO, Maine — The series between Merrimack College and Maine dates back to 1978 and now spans 89 games. But despite a long history, the Warriors managed something this weekend that no team in Merrimack’s history had been able to accomplish.

Following last night’s 3-2 win at Alfond Arena, for the first time, the Warriors went to Maine for a two-game weekend series and came home with points in each game, taking three of four on the weekend.

Merrimack tied the Black Bears, 1-1, on Friday.

The Warriors also won the regular-season series with the Black Bears, 2-0-1, taking five of six points in three straight games against Maine going back to last Saturday.

The three-game series comes on the heels of the Black Bears ending Merrimack’s season on this same Alfond Arena ice in the Hockey East quarterfinals last season.

“We had a bitter taste in our mouths after last year,” said Merrimack junior Rhett Bly. “We had this (3-game series) circled on our calendars for a long time and we were looking forward to it. They’re a better team than their record shows and anytime you can get three of four points in Alfond, that’s a big accomplishment.”

Like they had in the first two games, the Warriors again struck for first blood.

Already on a power play, freshman forward John Gustafsson out-raced Mark Nemec for a loose puck in the neutral zone and the Maine defenseman was forced to hook him down to avoid a breakaway. It resulted on a 5-on-3 advantage for the Warriors and Kyle Bigos took advantage, taking a feed from Brendan Ellis and blasting a one-timer from the left circle that beat Ouellette short side.

“We had a 5-on-3 (Friday) and we had a little trouble,” Bigos said. “They had some pressure and Coach told us we needed to be better. I was able to run a couple of plays, got a nice pass from (Brendan) Ellis and I was able to find the net.”

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