DENVER - No. 17 Denver used three power-play goals and senior goaltender Sam Brittain posted his second shutout in as many nights, as the Merrimack College men's ice hockey team dropped the second round of the weekend doubleheader to the Pioneers, 4-0, on Saturday night at Magness Arena.
Denver built itself a one-goal lead on a power-play tally just 2:30 into the contest before adding two more markers in the second, one on a power play and another at even strength, before tacking on one last power-play marker while on a five-minute advantage midway through the third to round out the weekend sweep that saw the hosts outscore the Warriors by a 5-0 margin.
Brittain, once again, was brilliant, turning aside all 28 shots he faced to keep Merrimack's offense, which returned all 10 scorers from a year ago, at bay. Four different Pioneers lit the lamp, with Matt Marcinew assisting on two of those tallies.
Senior goaltender Sam Marotta (Bridgewater, Mass.) posted 12 saves over two periods before junior Rasmus Tirronen (Espoo, Finland) played the final 20 minutes with 12 saves as well.
Similar to the start of Friday night's affair, Merrimack dug itself a hole with early penalty trouble, as the Pioneers were awarded a 5-on-3 advantage a bit more than two minutes into regulation after back-to-back tripping calls against the Warriors. Then, after Merrimack failed on a 2-on-1 rush in the midst of Denver's two-man advantage, the Pioneers came right back the other way and punched in the game's first marker, with Joey LaLeggia finishing a 4-on-1 chance with a backhand strike to put the Pioneers ahead, 1-0.
Denver took control in the middle frame thanks to its second power-play goal just 3:33 into the period before adding another tally later in the period. Will Butcher connected from the far circle for the Pioneers' second marker on the man advantage of the night - and third of the weekend - before David Makowski one-timed a shot that found the twine from the blue line at 14:56, representing DU's first even-strength goal of the weekend.
Merrimack had two more power plays of its own in the second but could not convert, negating one with a too many men on the ice call midway through the advantage before coming up empty midway through the stanza.
In the third, Merrimack dug itself another hole with four penalties in the frame, including a game misconduct to senior Jordan Heywood (Regina, Saskatchewan) that led to Denver's last goal to seal the visitors' fate.
Merrimack returns to the friendly confines of Lawler Rink next weekend to kick off a season-long five-game homestand when it plays host to Atlantic Hockey foe Mercyhurst for a weekend doubleheader starting Friday (Oct. 18) night. Puck drop on evenings against the Lakers is set for 7 p.m. from Lawler Rink.