BEMIDJI, Minn. - A night after allowing eight goals, the Merrimack College men's ice hockey team bounced back to earn a weekend series split against Bemidji State thanks primarily to the Herculean efforts of senior goaltender Craig Pantano, who posted his third shutout of the season on the strength of a career-high 38 saves to earn the Warriors a 1-0 win over the Beavers on Saturday at the Sanford Center.
Score: Merrimack 1, Bemidji State 0
Records: Merrimack (4-7-0, 2-3-0 HEA) | Bemidji State (5-2-1, 3-1-0 WCHA)
Location: Sanford Center | Bemidji, Minn.
Game Duration: 2:25
How It Happened
- Merrimack weathered a first period surge by the hosts that saw Bemidji State outshoot the Warriors by 13 (17-4). Merrimack's penalty kill also was called upon on three occasions but was up to the task each time, as the game went scoreless after 20 minutes.
- After fending off another Bemidji power play early in the second, the Warriors finally broke through while skating 5-on-3, as junior Tyler Irvine broke the deadlock with his team-leading fourth goal of the year. Three straight Merrimack penalties threatened that lead, but the Warriors didn't blink and, despite being outshot by 15 (27-12), brought a one-goal lead into the final frame.
- Things didn't get any easier in the third, as Bemidji put together another double-digit shots total and had two more power play opportunities, but Pantano came through when his team needed him most, finishing with a career-high 38 saves to earn his third shutout of the season, tied for first among all goaltenders nationwide.
- Goal #1 (MC, 1-0): Irvine punched through to break the deadlock 4:47 into the second period, scoring his team-leading fourth goal of the year while skating 5-on-3. Junior Sami Tavernier set up Irvinie for a one-timer in the left wing circle, while another junior, Johnathan Kovacevic, got the play started.
- Pantano had the first 30-plus save by a Merrimack goalie this year and topped his previous career-high of 36 saves that he posted on three different occasions.
- Irvine's goal was his team-high fourth of the season, as he finished the weekend with two tallies.
- Tavernier and Kovacevic both have scoring streaks as well after recording a point for the second straight night. Tavernier had two helpers on the weekend while Kovacevic finished with a goal and an assist.
Notes & Numbers
- Merrimack improved to 3-2-0 when being outshot this season and won its first game when being held under 20 shots. They were 2-2-0 in those situations last year.
- Merrimack evened the all-time ledger at 4-4-0 against Bemidji State.
- The Warriors played their seventh one-goal game of the season, improving to 3-4-0 in that category. They lead the nation in one-goal games played.
- Merrimack's penalty kill was a perfect 9-for-9 on the night, a new single-game high in opportunities for the opponent and successful kills.
- Goaltenders: Craig Pantano (38 saves, 4-5-0) // Zach Driscoll (16 saves, 6-2-0)
- Power Plays: 1-6 | 0-9
- Shots on Goal: 4-17 // 8-10 // 5-11 - 17-38
L. Drevitch | Babcock | Tavernier
Gresock | Kramer | Irvine
Simeone | T. Drevitch | McBride
Olsen | Bales | DeStefani
Dockery | Kovacevic
Cook | McArdle
Heidt | Carle
Pantano | Vogler | Halladay
Merrimack returns to Hockey East play with a home-and-home series against Providence College starting next Friday at Lawler Rink, with puck drop set for 7 p.m.