Tavernier Scores in Overtime to Lift Merrimack Past UConn, 3-2
Sophomore forward Sami Tavernier scores in overtime for Warriors

Sophomore forward Sami Tavernier scored in overtime for the Warriors
Prd Time  Team Score Type Scored By Assists
2nd 8:52  CON1-0 PP Benjamin Freeman (5)Johnny Austin/14, Joseph Masonius/6
3rd 2:52  MER1-1 EV Marc Biega (3)Jace Hennig/11
3rd 3:22  CON2-1 EV Maxim Letunov (6) -
3rd 18:30  MER2-2 EV Jace Hennig (8)Cole McBride/3, Ludvig Larsson/8
OT 0:13  MER3-2 EV GW Sami Tavernier (7)Marc Biega/3, Brett Seney/12
Scoring 1st 2nd 3rd OT Final
Merrimack  00213
UConn  01102
Shots on Goal 1st 2nd 3rd OT SOG
Merrimack  9610227
UConn  10125027
Team Stats and Records  PP PIM SHGF
Merrimack (6-10-4)  0/3 2/4 0
UConn (8-14-2)  1/1 4/8 0
Merrimack Goaltending MIN GA 1 2 3 OT Saves
Craig Pantano (W, 6-5-2)60:132 10114025
UConn Goaltending MIN GA 1 2 3 OT Saves
Adam Huska (L, 8-13-2)60:133 968124

HARTFORD, Conn. - The UConn Huskies got goals from junior Maxim Letunov (Moscow, Russia) and sophomore Benjamin Freeman (Falmouth, Maine) but Merrimack tied the game with 1:30 left in the third and then won it just 13 seconds into overtime, coming away with a big 3-2 win Friday night in a Hockey East battle at the XL Center.

The Warriors, who moved to 6-10-4 overall and 3-6-2 in league, got the tying goal from senior Jace Hennig with 1:30 left on the clock then sophomore Sami Tavernier buried the game-winner just 13 ticks into the extra frame.

UConn, who drops their third-straight falling to 8-14-2 overall and 5-9-1 in Hockey East, held leads of 1-0 and 2-1 but couldn't close out Merrimack dropping the two points. After being shutout in two-straight, the Huskies ended a 148:52 scoring drought in the second period on Freeman's power play goal.

Merrimack tied the game just under three minutes into the third period on a Marc Biega goal off a feed from Hennig. The Huskies needed just 30 seconds to answer as Letunov stole a puck behind the Merrimack net and scored his sixth of the season for a 2-1 lead.

Both teams fired 27 shots on goal with Merrimack going 0-for-3 on the power play and the Huskies scoring in their only extra man chance. Merrimack netminder Craig Pantano made 25 saves in the win while UConn's Adam Huska (Zvolen, Slovakia) stopped 24.


The Huskies were held without a goal for the seventh-straight period, generating 10 shots on Pantano. The Huskies best scoring chance came in the closing seconds of the period as Jeff Wight (Coquitlam, British Columbia) teed-up a one-time attempt but was denied by a sliding Pantano. Merrimack generated nine shots on goal with Tyler Drevitch ringing one off the post.


UConn ended their scoring drought at the 8:52 mark of the second, scoring on the power play to grab a 1-0 lead. Joseph Masonius (Spring Lake, N.J.) fed the puck from behind the UConn net to Johnny Austin (St. Louis Park, Minn.) along the half boards. Austin fed a perfect pass to Freeman to lead him through the neutral zone and into the MC zone, where he snapped one past Pantano glove side, off the post and in for his fifth of the season.

The Huskies doubled up Merrimack on shots in the second, 12-6, and defensively, killed off both Warrior power play chances.


Merrimack came out firing to start the third as Brett Seney rang the post off the opening draw. The Warriors tied the game up at 1-1 at 2:52 as both teams skated 4-on-4. Biega took a feed from Hennig and cut across the slot, beating Huska who couldn't make his way back into position through a scrum in front.

The Huskies answered right back just 30 seconds later as Letunov created a turnovers deep in the Merrimack zone, picking a defender behind the net. He curled to the front and stuffed a wrap-around shot through Pantano for his sixth of the season a 2-1 lead.

Merrimack turned up the offensive pressure late in the period looking for the equalizer and came up with it at 18:30. It appeared that Hennig scored, breaking to the right post and sliding one past Huska with the puck shooting back out. The refs waived it off and played continued before seconds later Ludvig Larsson buried one to tie it. Upon review, the Hennig shot was reversed and the goal credited to the senior, his eighth of the season.


Merrimack wasted little time in the extra session. Seney sent the puck in and Biega fired on Huska from the left wing. The rebound found the stick of Tavernier on the right circle who buried it on the open net for the game winner.


The Warriors snapped a streak of four-straight ties in the series with Friday's win. Since joining Hockey East in 2014-15, the series is 2-1-5 in favor of Merrimack, with no game being decided by more than a goal.

Austin recorded his 14th assist of the season on Freeman's power play goal, marking his 10th point on the power play and seventh assist. For Freeman, it was his second power play goal this year. Letunov recorded his 20th point on the year with his sixth goal.