NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. — The Merrimack College Warriors beat the defending national champion Boston University Terriers, 6-3, at Lawler Arena on Friday.
Merrimack improved its record to 6-3 this season with a 3-1 mark in Hockey East play. It is the first time since 2004 that the Warriors beat the Terriers.
The Terriers were unable to capitalize on an early 5-on-3, but struck on their next power-play opportunity. Despite three special teams goals, the Terriers couldnt score on any of their three 5-on-3 chances.
Wade Megan got his first collegiate goal to give BU a lead at 12:30 of the first. Vinny Saponari hit goalie Joe Cannata on the right leg pad, and Megan buried the rebound to Cannatas left. The 1-0 score was BU s first and only lead.
Warriors coach Mark Dennehy said his team set the tempo by killing off the first 5-on-3 despite giving up a goal soon after.
We really opened the ice up and took the pressure off after the 5-on-3, Dennehy said.
Whether on special teams or 5-on-5 skating, Dennehy was impressed by his defenses ability to block shots.
Weve got some courageous players, Dennehy said. We did a good job with the sticks, taking away passing lanes.
Quite a few of those blocked shots came from defenseman Adam Ross, who also added an assist.
Cannata had 31 saves for Merrimack and credited much of his success to the teamwork of the defenders in front of him.
The D works on letting us see the puck as much as possible, Cannata said.
Brandon Brodhag evened the score on even strength for Merrimack. With less than three minutes left in the first, Brodhag collected a rebound and put it past Kieran Millan in the same spot that beat Cannata.
The second period was the beginning of the end for BU, according to coach Jack Parker. The Terriers had nine penalties over the last two periods, and allowed two power play goals in that span.
We played exactly how we wanted to play in the first, Parker said.
Parker also summarized how and why Merrimack pulled away.
We stopped competing in the second period, Parker said.
Stephane Da Costa picked up his seventh goal of the year in the first minute of the second period to make it 2-1 Warriors. A nice pass from Simon Demers set up Da Costas slapper from dead center in the slot.
Five minutes later, Elliot Sheen sped ahead to create an opportunity for Matt Moulakelis on Millans right. Moulakelis took the fed and slammed it home, notching his first goal of the year and giving Merrimack a 3-1 lead.
Merrimack started the scoring in the third period with its first power play goal of the game. Joe Cucci screened Millan while Fraser Alan found Kyle Bigos in the slot. Bigos snuck it past Millan, making it 4-1 Warriors.
Twenty-two seconds later, Elliott Sheen gave Merrimack its biggest lead. The Warriors won the faceoff after the goal and brought the puck into the offensive zone. John Jamieson fed Sheen and Merrimack led 5-1.
Millan was pulled by Parker after the goal, and goalie Adam Kraus was tested often in his outing (11 saves, one goal allowed).
Millan wasnt the only Terrier to leave the game, as Colby Cohen received a ten minute game misconduct after two consecutive penalties and three on the night. His altercations with Moulakelis sent both to the locker room early.
Both players received a roughing penalty, a hitting after the whistle minor, and the subsequent ejection. Cohens actions epitomized the apparent feeling of the Terriers on ice: overwhelming frustration.
Saponari got the Terriers back on the board for with his first power play goal of the season. Saponari found a hole to Cannatas right and filled it after the cross-ice pass from Chris Connolly, making it 5-2.
The Warriors retaliated with a power play goal of their own. Brodhag capped the Merrimack scoring on his third shot in a row.
Brodhag tried to slap it past Kraus, and Kraus blocked the first two shots with his left skate. The third attempt placed the puck in between the skate and the post and gave Brodhag his second tally of the game.
Corey Trivino added his first goal of the year on what would have been a highlight reel goal in a closer game. 11:35 into the third, Trivino picked up a Kevin Gilroy rebound and baffled Cannata with a shot while falling down. The goal brought BU within three, but it got no closer.
Merrimack moved up to third place in the conference with one game in hand over the top two teams, the University of Massachusetts and the University of Massachusetts-Lowell.
BU and Merrimack will head to Agganis Arena for the second half of the home-and-home series on Saturday.
When asked if any of the aggressive play will carry into Saturdays game, Ross said, I hope so.