|1st||5:52||MER||1-0||EV||Marc Biega (1)||Alex Carle/1, Ludvig Larsson/1|
|1st||8:30||MER||2-0||EV||Jace Hennig (2)||Tyler Irvine/1|
|1st||9:40||UMA||1-2||EV||Oliver Chau (3)||Josh Couturier/3, Niko Rufo/5|
|1st||18:45||UMA||2-2||PP||Mario Ferraro (1)||Oliver Chau/5, Cale Makar/4|
|2nd||9:18||MER||3-2||EV||Ryan Cook (1)||Laine McKay/1|
|3rd||7:46||MER||4-2||EV EA DP GW||Tyler Irvine (2)||Johnathan Kovacevic/4, Ludvig Larsson/2|
|3rd||8:49||MER||5-2||PP||Jace Hennig (3)||Brett Seney/2|
|3rd||14:50||UMA||3-5||PP||Mario Ferraro (2)||Philip Lagunov/4, Oliver Chau/6|
|Shots on Goal||1st||2nd||3rd||SOG|
|Team Stats and Records||PP||PIM||SHGF|
|Matt Murray (L, 3-3-0)||59:04||5||9||10||7||26|
|Craig Pantano (W, 1-0-0)||59:51||3||6||8||5||19|
NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. - Four different goal-scorers and a strong showing in net by first-time starter Craig Pantano (Bridgewater, Mass.) lifted the Merrimack College men's ice hockey team to a 5-3 victory over the University of Massachusetts on Saturday night at Lawler Rink, helping the Warriors earn a weekend series split against the Minutemen.
Score: Merrimack 5, Massachusetts 3
Records: Merrimack (1-4-2, 1-1-0 HEA) | Massachusetts (4-3-0, 1-1-0 HEA)
Location: Lawler Rink | North Andover, Mass.
Game Duration: 2:05
Merrimack hopped out to quick 2-0 lead halfway through the first period, with its two goals coming less than three minutes apart, but the Minutemen answered just over a minute later to get within one and then drew even while on a 4-on-3 power play late in the period, making it a 2-2 affair after 20 minutes.
Things slowed down from an offensive standpoint in the middle frame, but the Warriors would get the lone goal of the period to regain the lead. Merrimack had other chances thanks to three power play opportunities, but the hosts' advantage stayed at one heading to the final stanza.
The Warriors put the game away with a pair of goals within the span of a minute midway through the third; UMass got within two goals after converting on a 5-on-3 opportunity and had three power plays in the last eight minutes of the game, but that was the closest the visitors would get, as Merrimack would hang on for its first victory of the season.
Senior Marc Biega (Pointe-Claire, Quebec) notched his first goal of the season to get Merrimack on the board at 5:52 of the first. Biega unleashed a wrist shot from the bottom of the near circle through a screen and over UMass goaltender Matt Murray's blocker side to open the scoring.
Senior Jace Hennig (Port Moody, British Columbia) doubled the lead less than three minutes later on the strength of his second tally of the year. As UMass tried to carry the puck up ice on the left wing side, sophomore Tyler Irvine (Livonia, Mich.) poked the puck loose to the wall, and Hennig pounced on it, took it down the wing and beat Murray with a wrist shot into the top-right corner.
UMass got on the board 9:40 into the opening frame on Oliver Chau's third marker of the year quickly off a faceoff win. Niko Rufo won the draw to Josh Couturier, who sent a shot on net that got only pad, but Chau was there to put home the rebound at the far post.
While skating with a 4-on-3 power play, Mario Ferraro tied the game with only 1:15 left in the opening frame after finding the puck at the bottom of the far circle and one-timing it home. The puck wound up on Ferraro's stick after Chau sent a shot wide on the opposite side of the crease before connecting with Ferraro on the weak side.
Sophomore Ryan Cook (Lancaster, N.Y.) restored Merrimack's lead midway through the second period. With UMass cycling behind its own net looking for a clear, rookie Laine McKay (Thunder Bay, Ontario) went in to retrieve and it threw the puck toward the high slot. Cook was there to send home his first collegiate tally - coming on McKay's first career assist - to give the Warriors a 3-2 lead.
Merrimack doubled its lead at 7:46 of the third on Irvine's second goal of the season. Sophomore Johnathan Kovacevic (Grimsby, Ontario) got the play started by maneuvering around a defenseman at the blue line and then fired a shot through traffic. Irvine was there to get to the rebound and managed to get a stick on the loose puck, deflecting up, over and in while the rest of the team was on a delayed penalty.
While on that ensuing power play, Hennig netted his second of the game and third of the season. The goal was the direct result of a remarkable feed from classmate Brett Seney (London, Ontario), who skated down the left wing and sent a perfect pass through the bottom of the circle to Hennig for a tap-in goal.
Ferraro netted his second of the game with UMass skating with a 5-on-3 advantage, scoring from the far circle off a behind-the-net feed to get the Minutemen within two at 14:50 of the third.
Notes and Notables
- In addition to Cook's and McKay's first collegiate goal and assist, respectively, junior Ludvig Larsson (Malmo, Sweden) also set a new single-game best with two helpers on Saturday.
- The five goals marked Merrimack's single-game high, tying the mark set last Friday in the team's 5-5 tie at Minnesota Duluth.
- Hennig joined Seney as the only Warrior with a multi-goal game this year; the latter did so in that aforementioned 5-5 tie at Duluth.
- Pantano made his first collegiate start in net, finishing with a career-high 19 saves to pick up the win.
- Merrimack snapped its longest winless stretch to start a season with a win in its seventh outing; the only other time a Merrimack team went winless in its first six games was in 1976-77, but that team went on to finish 23-11-1 and won the ECAC Championship.
- Merrimack has allowed at least one power play goal to the opposition in six straight games, as the opposition has now converted 11 out of the last 28 power play opportunities against the Warriors.
Seney | Petti | Tavernier
Babcock | A. Larsson | Tibbet
Hennig | L. Larsson | Irvine
Coomes | McKay | Drevitch
Kolquist | Cook
Biega | Carle
Dockery | Kovacevic
Merrimack continues league play next weekend with a home-and-home series against Boston College. Puck drop each night is set for 7 p.m., and the series starts at Conte Forum on Friday (Nov. 3).