ORONO - Martin Ouellette (St.-Hippolyte, Quebec) made 29 saves, including one at point blank range with 30 seconds remaining, as the University of Maine men's ice hockey team defeated Merrimack 2-0 in the Hockey East opening round on Saturday night at Alfond Arena. Maine advances to the Hockey East quarterfinals and will travel to Providence for a best-of-three series next weekend.
Maine opened the scoring with a goal just 2:01 into the first period. Andrew Cerretani (Pelham, N.H.) stole the puck from a Merrimack defender in the offensive zone. He fired a shot on goal that Steven Swavely (Reading, Pa.) directed back to Mark Anthoine (Lewiston, Maine). Anthoine shot the puck past Merrimack goalie Rasmus Tirronen and into the back of the net. For Anthoine, it was his ninth goal of the season.
The goalies stole the show the next 58 minutes as each stopped everything thrown their way. Merrimack pulled Tirronen with a minute to play. Maine's Dan Renouf (Pickering, Ontario) got the puck to Ben Hutton (Prescott, Ontario), who fired the puck towards the empty net. The shot missed, but Devin Shore (Ajax, Ontario) outraced the Merrimack defender and redirected the puck into the empty net, giving Maine the 2-0 lead. For Shore, it was his team-leading 14th goal of the season.
Maine finished the game with a 35-29 edge in shots on goal. Each team was scoreless in five power play chances.
Ouellette was outstanding as he recorded his fourth shutout of the season. He stopped all 29 shots that he faced and improved to 15-13-4 on the season.
Tirronen made 33 saves in net for the Warriors and falls to 7-14-3.
Maine next heads to Providence to face the Friars in a best-of-three Hockey East Quarterfinal series. Game one is set for Friday, March 14. The Maine ticket office will be taking orders for tickets on Monday. Fans can call the ticket office at 207-581-2327. Maine is also planning a bus trip. Fans interested in taking the bus can call John Diamond at 207-581-1086.