There will be a homecoming of sorts this weekend for University of Maine freshman left winger Brian Flynn.
The wiry 6-foot, 175-pound Flynn is from Lynnfield, Mass., and he and his 7-4-1 Black Bear teammates will visit Northeastern University and Merrimack College for Friday night and Sunday afternoon games, respectively.
“I’ll have a lot of family and friends at the Northeastern game and there will probably be even more at Merrimack because that’s just 15 minutes from my home,” said Flynn. “I’ve never played at Matthews so I’m looking forward to it. I’ve played at Merrimack [Lawler Arena] many times.”
The game against Northeastern will be the 100th meeting between the two schools.
Flynn has been a valuable contributor as he is second on the team in scoring behind linemate and fellow freshman Gustav Nyquist.
Flynn has three goals and five assists in 11 games with all of his points coming over the last eight games. He has a game-winning goal (vs. defending national champ Boston College) and assist and he leads the team in points in Hockey East play with six (2 goals, 4 assists) in eight games.
“Coach [Tim Whitehead] has shown a lot of confidence in me and that has given me some confidence,” said Flynn, who has overcome off-season shoulder surgery. “And I’ve had two great linemates who have made my job a lot easier.”
Nyquist has 6 & 5 for 11 points and sophomore center Tanner House has 3 & 3.
“Flynn is really coming on for them,” said Northeastern coach Greg Cronin. “He pursues pucks well and he has a good second effort to his game. He’s visible on tape. He’s got a little bit of that old Maine [player] identity. He pursues the puck hard, he finishes his checks and he is very responsible [defensively].”
Flynn said he is happy with his season so far, but wants to continue to get better.
“I want to become a better all-around player. I’ve got to do a better job in the defensive zone and not get scored on,” said Flynn, who had 26 goals and 15 assists for the New Hampshire Junior Monarchs last year and was an Eastern Junior Hockey League All-Star. “Down the line, I’d like to get some penalty-killing time.”
Maine senior defenseman and co-captain Simon Danis-Pepin said Flynn has been a great addition.
“He is such a hard worker. He always spends an extra 15-20 minutes out on the ice [after practice] working on something and it shows up in the games,” Danis-Pepin said. “He brings a lot of energy to the team.”
Whitehead said Flynn has been “tremendous.
“He is very focused. He never takes a shift off, even in practice. He practices and plays with a lot of purpose. He has a great work ethic and that’s why he’ll continue to improve,” said Whitehead. “He skates well, he’s tough and he can make plays. That’s a pretty good combination.”
Flynn, who plays on the power play in addition to skating a regular shift, said the Bears are eager to get some “payback” after being swept at home by Northeastern (5-0, 2-1) on October 24-25.