NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. — Merrimack associate head coach Mike Doneghey was the best man at a childhood friend’s wedding today and, for the better part of three periods, his Warriors were the best team on the ice tonight. The resulting 5-2 win over the visiting Boston College Eagles was no fluke. And they know it.
Last night, the Warriors lost to BC at Kelly Rink but they felt they played very well and they carried the momentum developed in that game into tonight’s matchup at home.
“The last 24 hours we’ve been preaching that we didn’t lose, we just ran out of time,” said Doneghey. “I think we’re playing some pretty good hockey right now. We’re getting some timely scoring, the lines are clicking — everybody’s clicking. There is a certain attitude developing around here. It’s taken us five months to develop it but we’re developing it at the right time. This is the right time of the year to start getting it together.”
The Warriors wasted no time putting things together tonight. They jumped out to a 2-0 lead in less than five minutes.
A Tony Johnson pass at the red line sprung Nick Cammarata on a breakaway. Cammarata skated in on BC goalie Matti Kaltiainen and snapped one top right, beating Kaltiainen high on his glove side for the 1-0 lead at 3:57 of the first.
Just as the public address announcer was finishing announcing the first goal, Merrimack potted another one at 4:29 of the first.
This time it was Nick Parillo, who snapped home a rebound past a sprawling Kaltaiainen for the 2-0 lead. Parillo’s rebound goal was the result of consecutive shots by Matt Foy and Alex Sikatchev.
To put a halt to the blitzkrieg, BC took a timeout just after the goal.
BC’s lone first-period chance came on a fantastic shorthanded individual effort by freshman Ryan Shannon. He blocked a Greg Lauze shot from the point and got possession of the puck. Shannon carried it over the blue and made a Denis Savard-like spin-o-rama move around a Merrimack defender to put himself in alone on Exter. He then uncorked a nice backhand that hit the post. The near-goal was not enough to change the momentum however.
The second period started the same way as the first, with Merrimack dominating the play and putting one home early.
A Foy shot from the right side bounced out to Sikatchev who wristed one along the ice and in for the 3-0 lead at just 1:03 of the second period. Merrimack wasn’t through with their offensive assault.
A Cammarata shot from the point found its way to, you guessed it, Sikatchev’s stick. Sikatchev wasted no time depositing the puck in the back of the net for the 4-0 lead.
BC’s first quality second period chance came when Tony Voce was sent in on a breakaway at 11:26 of the second period. Voce made a headfake and shifted to his backhand and tried to loft one in, but Merrimack goaltender Joe Exter was there to make the save.
Just over a minute later, at 12:32 of the second, BC’s Dave Spina scored a power-play goal to make it 4-1. Ryan Shannon had possession of the puck up top. He made a cross ice pass to J.D. Forrest at the right point. Forrest’s slapshot was saved by Exter but bounced right to Spina who was stationed to the right of the cage. Spina finished the play by wristing the puck into the empty net to put the Eagles on the scoreboard for the first time.
Exter was tested again with just 26 seconds left in the second period. This time it was Dave Spina who was stuffed on a breakaway.
BC’s second and final goal came 59 seconds into the third period. A Ben Eaves pass out of the corner was one timed by Bill Cass. Cass’ shot went five hole along the ice past Exter to cut it to 4-2 and make things interesting.
BC began to carry the play, generating a number of quality bids. BC coach Jerry York was pleased with the late effort.
“When it was 4-2 we had some good chances to go to 4-3. To put it in golf terms, we played a very poor front nine,” York said. “It was lousy, balls were out of bounds, whatever. [But] we played an exceptionally strong back nine. The back nine was terrific. But it’s the total score that counts. You can’t expect to win on the road unless you play the full 18.”
Any chance BC had of coming back was basically taken away when Tony Voce was given a five-minute major and ejected for a hit from behind penalty with just seven minutes left.
“That was a hard time to get a five minute major when we’re trying to get back in the game,” said York.
BC kept plugging. They pulled the goalie at 1:44 and peppered Exter with shots. But Merrimack added an empty-net goal by Ryan Cordeiro to make the score 5-2.