College Hockey:
Merrimack Blanks Union

Exeter Stops 22 in Shutout

— The Merrimack College Warriors pulled out a 3-0 victory over the visiting Skating Dutchmen of Union College tonight at the Volpe Complex in North Andover, MA. The victory pulls Merrimack to .500 with a record of 2-2-0 while Union lost its first game of the season to move the Dutchman to a 2-1-0 record.

Merrimack Head Coach Chris Serino was back behind the bench after having to miss last week’s game.

The first period saw the two teams skate well and play solid defense at both ends. No goals were scored. The period was not without highlights however.

Last week’s Koho Player of The Week, Greg Lauze of Merrimack, made a great play in the early going. Union’s Jordan Webb came down on a one on one and tried to put some moves on the smooth-skating sophomore from Merrimack. Lauze would have none of it as he proceeded to separate Webb from the puck and plant him into the ice in a textbook demonstration of how to play a one-on-one. Lauze played an excellent game throughout the night.

Warrior goalie Joe Exter also came up big a couple times in the first. With about eight minutes left, Exter stopped a four-shot flurry, all the shots from less than twenty feet out.

One other noteworthy occurrence happened in the first period. For the first time in three games, Merrimack’s Anthony Aquino did not score on the first shot of the game.

Freshman Matt Foy got Merrimack on the board at 11:11 of the second period to make the score 1-0. The goal came off of a Ryan Kiley rebound and was Foy’s first goal of his career. Ryan Cordeiro and Kiley were each credited with an assist on the goal.

Exter’s presence was felt earlier in the second at 7:30 as he made a brilliant save on a shot off the stick of Joel Beal. Beal got the puck just to the left of Exter, who was on the other side of the net. Beal tried to roof one top right but Exter came sliding across the crease and flashed some leather, slamming the door on a great bid by Beal.

After a Brendan Clark penalty put the Warriors down a man, Tim Reidy and Lucas Smith had a great chance to put the Warriors up 2-0 late in the second period. They had a two-on-zero against Brandon Snee who came up huge with a left legged kick save.

The third period saw the two teams battle back and forth for control of the play. It wasn’t until there were two minutes left in the game that either team gained ground.

After some excellent cycling down low by Alex Sikatchev and linemate Tim Reidy, Nick Torretti gathered the puck at the right hash by the boards. Torretti spun and threw it at the net, firing a low wrist shot which went through traffic and bounced off of Snee’s right shin and in to put the Warriors up 2-0. That goal came at 18:01 and Sikatchev was credited with the assist.

Just eighteen seconds later Anthony Aquino would ice the game with an empty net goal, his fifth tally of the season.

Union Coach Kevin Sneddon was positive after the game. “I was real proud of our effort. I thought we came out flying. We played a great hockey game. We had a lot of opportunities. We hate to lose, but at the same time I thought we had a great effort.”

Understandably so, Merrimack head coach Chris Serino was unavailable for comment after the game but he made sure to point out that he sincerely appreciates all of the support that the Union community has given him. “No school has sent more cards than those guys,” commented a worn-out Serino.

Sneddon’s post game comments reflected the Union support. “It’s nice to see Chris Serino back behind the bench. He looks good and he looks like he’s fighting the good fight. You hate to lose any hockey game but if you’re going to lose to somebody, Chris would be the one to do it to right now.”

Merrimack travels to BU on Sunday. Union takes on Bemidji State at home next Friday.

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