SCHENECTADY, N.Y. - A tightly contested 60 minutes of play came down to a few precious moments Friday night at Messa Rink, as Union narrowly claimed a 3-2 win over the Merrimack College men's hockey team.
The Warriors bookended the scoring on Tyler Irvine and Griff Jeszka tallies, but the Dutchmen surged for three straight markers in the second and third period to end the Warriors' fall semester with a setback.
Score: Union 3, Merrimack 2
Records: Merrimack (4-11-2, 2-5-2 HEAM) | Union (5-12-0, 3-5-0 ECAC)
Game Duration: 2:12
How It Happened
- The Dutchmen controlled play in the opening ten minutes and registered the first seven shots of the game, but Warrior goalie Jere Huhtamaa answered the bell. The Finnish freshman kicked out all seven early shots he saw and finished the frame with 11 saves on as many shots. On the other end of the ice, Merrimack shifted momentum late in the stanza and Hugo Esselin had the best chance when he collected a rebound in the high slot and rung one off the near post.
- Merrimack kept the pressure up in the game's second period and it ultimately got them on the board. While on their first power play of the game early in the frame, Dominic Dockery rifled a slap shot from the left faceoff dot that was blocked and deflected into the body of Logan Drevitch. The sophomore dropped it on the ice, then fed Irvine in the high slot, who quickly directed a shot towards goal that slipped through the legs of Dutchmen goalie Darion Hanson.
- The Warriors' red hot penalty killing unit finally broke a minute and a half later when Chaz Smedsrud was finally able to solve Huhtamaa to knot the score at one. Merrimack had killed 19 of its previous 20 chances on the PK before the goal.
- The game evened out again in the final period, but Union got the bounce it was looking for, as Liam Robertson staked the Dutchmen to their first lead of the evening midway through the concluding frame.
- Matter got worse for the visitors from North Andover a couple minutes later when Anthony Rinaldi potted one for Union to quickly extend its lead to a pair.
- With less than five minutes to play, an unexpected source provided a late spark. Declan Carlile and Zach Uens combined to work a puck free in the defensive zone. Carlile then shuffled a pass up to Christian Simeone, who broke in on the rush with Jeszka. Simeone slid it over the Jeszka at the blue line, then busted towards the net looking for a rebound, but none came. Jeszka wristed one home short side for his first goal as a Warrior.
Notes & Numbers
- Irvine now has at least a point in four straight games. It's the third time in his Warrior career that he has had such a streak.
- Irvine also set a career high in goals with seven even with half the season still to play.
- Drevitch continued on his torrid scoring pace, as he now has six points in his last four games.
- Simeone also nabbed his first point of the season on Jeszka's goal.
- Jeszka scored ten goals in his first few collegiate seasons when he played with UMass before he transferred to Merrimack.
- Huhtamaa was tabbed the tough luck loser, as he turned aside 22 of the 25 shots he saw.
The Warriors return from their holiday break Dec. 29 when they play host to two-time defending national champion Minnesota Duluth in the first of a two-game series. Puck drop is set for 4 pm from Lawler Rink.