NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. — Bryan Schmidt had a hand in all four goals, including the game-winner with just nine seconds remaining in regulation to lift Merrimack (5-10-2) to a 4-3 win over Princeton (4-8-1) Friday night.
Schmidt finished with two goals and two assists, while Steve Crusco added a goal and an assist in the win.
Ian McNally, Mike Moore and Mark Masters each scored for Princeton in front of 841 at the J. Thom Lawler Arena.
After Merrimack won a faceoff in its own end with 17 seconds left to play, Schmidt carried the puck up the ice and into the Princeton zone. Just as he passed the blue line, the junior defenseman snapped a shot over the right shoulder of Tiger goalie Jeff Mansfield for the game-winner.
The Warriors took an early lead on Chris Murphy’s goal 2:46 into the game. From the left corner, Ryan Sullivan fed Murphy with a perfect centering pass as he flew through the slot and Murphy one-timed it over the left shoulder of Mansfield.
Princeton controlled play through much of the first period, outshooting the Warriors 21-13, but goaltender Jim Healey was up to the task as he stopped all 21 shots.
Princeton evened the score 6:01 into the second period on McNally’s first goal of the season. From behind the net, the sophomore bounced the puck off the skate of Healey and into the net.
Crusco gave the Warriors a 2-1 lead with a power-play goal at the 10:07 mark of the middle period. After receiving a pass from Schmidt just inside the right circle, the senior wristed a shot past Mansfield for his second goal of the year.
The Tigers answered at the 15:09 mark when Brian Carthas dropped the puck back to Moore at the point and the freshman defenseman ripped a shot past Healey to tie the game at 2-2.
Schmidt then gave the Warriors a 3-2 lead heading into the second intermission, scoring with just nine seconds left in the period. Crusco found Schmidt at the top of the slot and the captain immediately found the back of the net.
Princeton tied the score at 3 at 15:39 of the third, when Masters chipped the puck by Healey for his first goal of the season. Schmidt then netted his team-leading eighth goal of the season and second game-winner of the year at the 19:51 mark to lift the Warriors.
Merrimack and Princeton will meet again on Saturday night at 7 p.m. at Lawler Arena.