WEST POINT, N.Y. - The Merrimack College men's ice hockey team quickly trimmed a three-goal deficit to one with less than nine minutes to go in the third period, but the Warriors were unable to net the equalizer in the closing minutes and dropped a 3-2 affair to Army West Point on Saturday night at Tate Rink. It marked the fourth straight one-goal game for Merrimack to open the season.
Army opened the scoring 6:18 into the contest and then added a pair of power play tallies over the remainder of the opening frame to carry a 3-0 lead into the first intermission. The score went unchanged over the course of a back-and-forth second that saw only one power play chance early on, keeping the Black Knights ahead by three heading to the final stanza.
Merrimack's power play lit the lamp for the third time in four games after junior Patrick Kramer found the back of the net for the first time in his career with just over 10 minutes left. Less than 90 seconds later, it was senior Derek Petti stuffing home a rebound in the crease to suddenly turn the tide in favor of the Warriors.
Down by a goal, Merrimack would apply plenty of pressure late - and all third period long - finishing with a 12-1 edge in shots on goal over the course of the third frame. But even with the extra attacker on the ice, the Warriors were denied a shot at overtime, as the horn sounded with the hosts on top by a 3-2 margin.
Score: Army West Point 3, Merrimack 2
Records: Merrimack (1-3-0, 0-0-0 HEA) | Army West Point (1-2-0, 0-0-0 AHA)
Location: Tate Rink | West Point, N.Y.
Game Duration: 2:25
Goal #1 (ARMY, 0-1): Colin Bilek netted Army's first goal of the game 6:18 into the contest. A turnover in the neutral zone gave the hosts an odd-man rush the other way; John Laurito beat the pressure with a drop pass to Bilek, who scored from the right circle.
Goal #2 (ARMY, 0-2): Zach Evancho netted the first of the Black Knights' two first-period power play goals at the 12:07 mark, burying a feed from Dalton MacAfee at the left dot to make it 2-0.
Goal #3 (ARMY, 0-3): Brendan Soucie put the Black Knights ahead 3-0 with their second power play goal of the first period at 18:17. Soucie took the puck away at the right wing boards, curled to the top of the far circle and lit the lamp through a screen to make it 3-0.
Goal #4 (MC, 1-3): Junior Patrick Kramer buried his first collegiate goal at 9:52 of the third to get Merrimack within two goals. Classmates and linemates Tyler Irvine and Logan Coomes each set up the play from the slot.
Goal #5 (MC, 2-3): Petti followed suit not even 90 seconds later, burying a rebound at the glove side post to get the Warriors within a goal at the 11:18 mark of the third. Junior Ryan Cook teed up a shot from the right point that freshman Chase Gresock initially tipped, but it was Petti who put it home for his first o the year.
- Senior Drew Vogler entered in relief to start the second period and finished with 10 saves over a perfect two periods of action between the pipes.
- Merrimack had six different players record a point apiece Saturday.
- Senior Michael Babcock won 7-of-9 faceoffs.
Notes & Numbers
- Merrimack blocked a season-high 24 shots on Saturday and out-attempted Army by a 61-38 margin.
- Irvine recorded another point to move into sole possession of first place for the team's lead in scoring with four (2g, 2a). Coomes also now has a share of the team lead in total assists (3).
- Merrimack saw its all-time series record against Army West Point move to 23-17-1; the Warriors dropped to 10-17-1 on the road against the Black Knights and have lost their last two meetings at Tate Rink.
- Merrimack's power play scored for the third time in four games, while the penalty kill allowed its first goals since the season opener.
- After scoring four goals in the first two periods of the season opener, the Warriors have scored three goals over the next 10 periods of play.
- Goaltenders: Craig Pantano (9 saves, 1-2-0), Drew Vogler (10 saves) // Trevin Kozlowski (24 saves, 1-0-0)
- Power Plays: 1-3 // 2-3
- Shots on Goal: 6-12 // 8-9 // 12-1 - 26-22
- Faceoffs: 29 // 29
- Blocks: 24 // 8
Gresock | Petti | Tavernier
Coomes | Kramer | Irvine
Babcock | Bales | Seyfert
L. Drevitch | T. Drevitch | McKay
Heidt | Kovacevic
Lööf | Carle
Cook | McArdle
Pantano | Vogler
Merrimack opens Hockey East play against the defending league champions, Boston University, next Saturday (Oct. 20) back at Lawler Rink, with puck drop set for 7 p.m.