NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. - The Merrimack College men's ice hockey team built a three-goal lead through the first 25 minutes of play on the strength of three different scorers, and then senior goaltender Craig Pantano took over from there, as he turned away all 34 shots he saw to post the program's first-ever shutout against Boston University in school history, as the Warriors opened their league schedule with a 4-0 blanking of the No. 13/15 Terriers on Saturday night at Lawler Rink.
Score: Merrimack 4, Boston U. 0
Records: Merrimack (2-3-0, 1-0-0 HEA) | #13/15 Boston U. (0-3-0, 0-1-0 HEA)
Location: Lawler Rink | North Andover, Mass.
Game Duration: 2:10
How It Happened
- After the Terriers were whistled for a penalty just past the two-minute mark, senior Mike Babcock gave the Warriors the lead a minute later, netting his first goal of the year while on the power play. Four minutes later, junior Logan Coomes did likewise - this time with both sides at even strength - to give the home side a 2-0 lead with the game just seven-plus minutes old.
- Each team had two power plays apiece in the first - an early theme of what was to come in terms of the bevy of penalties called - but the score stayed 2-0 in favor of the hosts after 20 minutes.
- After the Warriors killed off an early second-period penalty, they earned their third power play and quickly converted, as junior Johnathan Kovacevic lit the lamp and made it 3-0. Despite six more penalties being called over the remainder of the second period - each of them accounting for a power play opportunity, three per side - the score went unchanged heading to the third.
- As the Terriers ramped up the pressure in the third, Pantano only grew more impressive; he not only denied all 11 of BU's shots on net in the final frame, but he did so with the visitors earning a late power play late in regulation and then again with the Terriers skating with an extra attacker over most of the final three minutes.
- The end result was his second shutout in the last three games, third of his career and first for the program against BU. On the other end, sophomore Laine McKay buried an empty-netter in the crease at 17:42 to account for the final goal of the night.
Goal #1 (MC, 1-0): Merrimack took a quick lead just 3:06 into the first while on the power play, as Babcock punched in his first of the year and third career goal against the Terriers. The senior found the puck on his stick at the far side post and punched it in; senior Alex Carle sent the puck on net after Babcock won the faceoff, and junior Tyler Irvine poked the puck to Babcock who finished the play on the right side.
Goal #2 (MC, 2-0): Coomes made it 2-0 with his first tally of the year exactly four minutes after Babcock's goal while on the rush. Freshmen Logan Drevitch and Jordan Seyfert set up the play with a pair of slick passes; Drevitch gained the zone and, from the left point, found Seyfert at the right circle. Seyfert then threw the puck toward net, where Coomes finished the play at the weak side post.
Goal #3 (MC, 3-0): Kovacevic - who had three assists on opening night - lit the lamp for the lamp for the first time on the young season with a pretty sequence with the Warriors on the power play 3:25 into the second stanza. Following a faceoff win, Coomes tapped the puck along to freshman Chase Gresock, who maneuvered the puck by a defenseman and up to the point for Kovacevic. The junior took care of the rest, gaining the slot and then dragging to his right before sending a low shot that appeared to redirect off a Terrier's skate and in to make it 3-0.
Goal #4 (MC, 4-0): McKay's second of the year wrapped things up at the 17:42 mark of the third. The Warriors beat the Terrier pressure despite them having the extra attacker out, as Seyfert sent a pass from the neutral zone up to Babcock who nearly had his second of the night, but McKay was there to stuff it home in the crease.
- Pantano's 34 saves were the most in a game for him this year, as he recorded his second shutout of the season.
- Seyfert (2a), Coomes (1g, 1a) and Babcock (1g, 1a) all had multi-point nights, marking the first-ever multi-point outing for the rookie, who did not have a point in his prior four games entering the night.
- Babcock was also exemplary on the draw, winning 12-of-24 faceoffs, the most by any player in the game.
Notes & Numbers
- Merrimack recorded its first-ever shutout win over BU in program history, as the Warriors improved to 3-1-1 in their last five games at home against the Terriers.
-play goals for the second time this season.
- The Warriors matched their single-game high water mark for scoring in a game; they netted four goals in their season opener but had only scored two goals or fewer in the preceding three games prior to Saturday night.
- Goaltenders: Craig Pantano (34 saves, 2-1-0) // Jake Oettinger (14 saves, 0-3-0)
- Power Plays (MC/BU): 2-5 | 0-7
- Shots on Goal: 16-14 // 6-9 // 6-11 - 28-34
- Faceoffs: 26 // 42
Gresock | Coomes | Tavernier
McKay | Babcock | Irvine
L. Drevitch | Kramer | Seyfert
Olsen | Bales
Dockery | Kovacevic
Heidt | Carle
Loof | Cook
Solow | McArdle
Pantano | Vogler
Merrimack will continue league play with a home-and-home series against the University of Massachusetts next weekend, starting on the road at the Mullins Center Friday night before returning home to conclude Homecoming Weekend on Saturday. Puck drop each night is set for 7 p.m.