WALTHAM, Mass. - The Merrimack College men's ice hockey team secured its first win of the young season after holding off a late Bentley charge and then waited several minutes as the officials confirmed that a late equalizer came after time expired, as the Warriors blanked the Falcons, 1-0, on Friday night at Bentley Arena. Senior Craig Pantano stopped 25 shots for his second career shutout.
Merrimack held off Bentley's initial attack at the beginning of the game and wound up mostly controlling the first frame but wasn't rewarded until the later portions of the period. Junior Tyler Irvine gave the Warriors the lead at 18:02 of the stanza while on the power play to send the visitors into the locker room with a 1-0 lead after 20 minutes.
After each team traded power plays midway through the second, the score went unchanged through the middle stanza, as the Warriors took that one-goal edge into the third. They would start the last ledger with a power play, but Bentley got the kill to keep it a one-goal affair.
Each side traded power play opportunities again over the next 10 minutes, but the score went unchanged entering the later stages of regulation. As time ticked down, and with Bentley skating with an extra attacker, the Falcons very nearly tied the game on the final frantic scrum of the contest. While the home side initially celebrated a would-be equalizer, the call on the ice was a no goal, and that call was eventually upheld after a lengthy video review that secured Merrimack's first win of the season, and the first for first-year head coach Scott Borek.
Score: Merrimack 1, Bentley 0
Records: Merrimack (1-2-0, 0-0-0 HEA) | Bentley (0-1-0, 0-0-0 AHA)
Location: Bentley Arena | Waltham, Mass.
Game Duration: 2:25
Goal #1 (MC, 1-0): Irvine buried his second goal of the season on a one-time bid from the left circle late in the first period to give Merrimack a 1-0 lead. With the Warriors on the power play, senior Alex Carle played the puck along to junior Logan Coomes, who sent connected with Irvine from the top of the right circle to Irvine at the left dot for a one-timer tally.
- Pantano came up with his second career shutout thanks to his 25-save effort in Friday's affair.
- Irvine's goal was his second of the season in three games. He is already up to three points on the year, sharing the team lead.
- Coomes recorded his second assist on the year, while Carle's helper was his first.
- Senior Michael Babcock went 11-of-22 on the faceoff dots Friday night.
Notes & Numbers
- The Warriors remained unbeaten in seven all-time tries against the Falcons, moving to 7-0-0 in the all-time series. Merrimack is now 4-0-0 all-time on the road against Bentley, although it was playing its first game at Bentley Arena, which opened last year.
- Merrimack's power play scored for the second time in three games, while the penalty kill was perfect for the second game in a row.
- After scoring four goals in the first two periods of the season opener, the Warriors have scored one goal over the next seven periods of play.
- Goaltenders: Craig Pantano (25 saves, 1-1-0) // Aidan Pelino (22 saves, 0-1-0)
- Power Plays: Merrimack (1-6) | Bentley (0-5)
- Shots on Goal: 9-7 // 6-9 // 8-9 - 23-25
- Faceoffs: 34 // 33
- Blocks: 7 // 7
Gresock | Petti | Tavernier
Coomes | Kramer | Irvine
L. Drevitch | Babcock | McBride
Bales | T. Drevitch | Seyfert
Cook | McArdle
Dockery | Kovacevic
Loof | Carle
Pantano | Vogler
Merrimack continues its two-game road weekend when it visits Army West Point tomorrow night. Game time from Tate Rink is set for 7 p.m.