HEYWOOD LIFTS MERRIMACK PAST NEW HAMPSHIRE IN OVERTIME, 3-2
Freshman defenseman Jordan Heywood scores game-winner and adds two assists for Warriors
NO. ANDOVER, Mass. - Jordan Heywood (Regina, SK) scored at 1:42 into overtime giving #11 Merrimack the 3-2 victory over #6 UNH and the weekend sweep over the Wildcats in front of a sellout crowd of 2,489 at Lawler Arena.
Merrimack (19-5-4, 13-5-3 HEA), which moved up to tied for fourth in the Pairwise rankings, opens a home-and-home series with the University of Massachusetts next weekend beginning Friday at the Mullins Center. New Hampshire (17-7-4, 15-4-2 HEA) heads to Vermont for a pair of games with the Catamounts.
On the only shot of the extra frame, Mike Collins (Boston, MA) fed Heywood on the point, who moved closer to center ice and fired a shot that slipped past the left pad of a screened Matt DiGirolamo to give the Warriors their third overtime victory of the season.
For Heywood, it was his second goal of the season and his third point on as many goals in the victory.
The win was Merrimack's 12th triumph in 13 games and was its sixth-straight victory. It also marked the second-ever sweep of UNH in the long history between the two teams.
The Warriors conclude in the weekend in third place in Hockey East with 29 points, three behind first-place UNH and BC.
Merrimack also captured the season-series from UNH, giving them six season-series victories in six completed series.
The Warriors led 2-0 through two periods on goals from Carter Madsen (Okotoks, AB) and Joe Cucci (Melrose Park, IL), but penalty trouble evened the score as Paul Thompson and Dalton Speelman scored 1:11 apart early in the third period on the power play.
The Wildcats were awarded a two-man advantage for four minutes and had an additional one-man advantage for one minute at 19:51 of the second. Behind excellent shot blocking and numerous stops from Joe Cannata (Wakefield, MA), the Warriors killed the first 3:13 of the two-man advantage before Thompson potted his 24th of the year. Then, with the one-man advantage winding down, Speelman evened the score at 4:14 of the third with his ninth of the year.
The teams traded numerous chances with time winding down in the third, highlighted by a pair of stops by DiGirolamo on Ryan Flanigan (Rochester, NY) and Madsen with 20 seconds remaining in regulation.
After killing two minors in the first 8:41 of the game, Madsen, who had the game-winner last night and added an assist, put the Warriors on the board with his sixth of the year and 10th of his career. The junior took feeds from Collins and Heywood and beat DiGirolamo over his glove after some nifty dribbling down the left side of the offensive zone.
Cucci notched his 10th of the year at 18:10 of the second, finding a rebound in front of DiGirolamo off a Heywood shot to give the hosts the 2-0 lead through two.
UNH outshot the Warriors 40-39, getting 14 shots on the power play, while converting on two of seven chances.
The sellout at Lawler was the sixth this season in 13 home games, as Merrimack improved to 10-2-1 at home and continues to lead the nation with just four losses along with Yale.