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Maine hangs on, scores late to beat Merrimack

Merrimack senior Mike Collins picked up his 50th career goal.

Ben Hutton scored a power play goal in the first period of Saturday's 3-2 victory over Merrimack.
Ben Hutton scored a power play goal in the first period of Saturday's 3-2 victory over Merrimack.
Matt Dewkett (

Orono, Maine -- Connor Leen's goal with 28 seconds broke a 2-2 tie with Merrimack and sent Maine to its eighth straight win at Alfond Arena. The win catapulted the Black Bears into third place alone in the Hockey East standings.

Maine (15-10-3) completed the weekend sweep of Merrimack with the victory. The Black Bears, now 12-1-0 on home ice, defeated Merrimack, 2-1, on Friday night.

Defenseman Ben Hutton scored his 11th goal of the season midway through the first period to stake Maine to a 1-0 lead. Ryan Lomberg and Steven Swavely assisted on the power play score.

Merrimack's Vinny Scotti tallied his second goal of the weekend 11:19 into the second period with help from freshman Hampus Gustafsson to tie the score 1-1.

The Black Bears regained the lead 26 seconds later on a Brice O'Connor score from the blue line. The captain buried the puck into the back of the net after a feed from Brian Morgan.

Merrimack senior Mike Collins scored his 50th career goal 11:19 into the third period while the Warriors were on the man advantage. Fellow senior Jordan Heywood and Scotti assisted on the score that evened the game at two.

Merrimack thought it had gained the lead for the first time just a few minutes later, but the referees ruled the puck was knocked in by the elbow of Collins.

Connor Leen dashed the hopes of the Warriors when he scored with 28 seconds to play in the game, assisted by Devin Shore and Cam Brown.

Martin Ouellette made 23 saves for his 14th victory of the season while Merrimack's Rasmus Tirronen came on in relief of starter Sam Marotta to make 11 saves while giving up just one goal. Marotta was pulled because of a sore neck after allowing two goals on 19 shots.

Merrimack returns home next weekend for a two-game set with Vermont while Maine travels to Northeastern for a two-game series at Matthews Arena.

Jeff Cox covers college, junior and high school hockey, NCAA recruiting and NHL Draft prospects. Follow him on twitter @JeffCoxSBNation.