NORTH ANDOVER, MA - For the first time since 2004, Merrimack College is headed to the Hockey East Tournament. Following a 1-1 tie with Providence at Lawler Arena, the Warriors secured the sixth seed and will head to Boston University for the best-of-three Hockey East Quarterfinals.
Merrimack (15-17-2, 12-13-2 HEA) concludes the regular season with the most conference wins in school history and its second-highest seed ever in the Hockey East Tournament.
The Friars finish their season 10-20-4, 5-18-4 HEA.
Log on to www.merrimackathletics.com for complete ticket and schedule information for the Hockey East Quarterfinals.
"I'll be fine not having a spring break, I've had enough spring breaks," said senior defenseman Brandon Sadlowski (St. Paul, AB). "I usually just go home back to Alberta, but I'm sure my parents won't miss me too much."
"After the second period I asked (Glenn) Stewart (Merrimack assistant) to check on the scores," said head coach Mark Dennehy. "But I told our guys who weren't dressed not to tell our players what the score was, we needed to focus on our game."
"I think it's safe to say that I'm still breathing a little heavy," said senior captain Pat Bowen (Marshfield, MA). "There is still a lot of work to do, but to get in feels good. It's a bit of a relief. But, it just means we have more work to do and we have to come back here on Monday and get it done."
Adam Ross (Red Deer, AB) scored the lone goal for the Warriors, his second of the season, from Stephane Da Costa (Paris, France) and Chris Barton (Calgary, AB) at 4:25 of the first. Da Costa and Barton forced a turnover down by the Friar net, and worked it to the point to Ross, who one-timed it from the blue line past Alex Beaudry to tie the game.
Providence took the early lead on the power play at 1:09, as Matt Bergland gathered a loose puck in front of Andrew Braithwaite (Kingston, ON) for his 12th of the season.
The Warriors controlled most of the game from there, outshooting the Friars 16-9 in the second and 38-23 in the game.
Beaudry made 37 saves, including a breakaway stop off Brandon Brodhag (Brooklyn Park, MN) in the second period. Karl Stollery (Camrose, AB) and Ryan Flanigan (Rochester, NY) each had four shots, while Da Costa had a team-best six on goal.
Making his final collegiate start at home, Braithwaite tallied 22 saves, including a third-period breakaway stop on Andy Balysky in the third period.
Before the game, Merrimack honored its six-member class of 2010: Braithwaite, Bowen, Sadlowski, Justin Bonitatibus (Arlington, MA), Pat Kimball (Framingham, MA), and J.C. Robitaille (Des Ruisseaux, QC).