BURLINGTON, Vt. — A hard- played game from both teams resulted in a 2-2 tie Friday night for Vermont and Merrimack in Hockey East action at Gutterson Fieldhouse.
Juniors Kyle Medvec and Jack Downing scored for Vermont while sophomore Ryan Flanigan and freshman Stephane Da Costa scored the two goals for Merrimack.
Theres a fine line between winning and not winning, Vermont head coach Kevin Sneddon said. I thought we did a great job most of the game in our zone and unfortunately we just got caught in the slot there with the puck on Da Costas stick. We had three guys within that area we just didnt block the shot; we allowed them to get a pretty good look at the net. Aside from that I thought we were pretty solid.
Some great plays being made on both sides, Merrimack coach Mark Dennehy said. Theyve got some guys that are very difficult to contain … they make it very difficult to get to the net and get second chances but it was a well played game.
The game got off to a slow start in the first period as neither team was able to skate off the ice with a goal.
Things did look promising for Vermont early though as freshman Chris McCarthy collected the puck behind the Merrimack net and carried it around to a waiting freshman Sebastian Stalberg in the slot. Stalberg made the shot but missed wide of the net.
Following the shot, Merrimack got their first power play chance as Vermont senior Colin Vock went to the box for boarding at 7:50. The Warriors started attacking the offensive zone right away but Vermont players were soon able to clear the puck out of the zone and avoid damage.
The Catamounts had two power play opportunities of their own soon after when Merrimack senior J.C. Robitaille served back-to-back penalties for hooking and hitting from behind at 10:42 and 13:04. Like the Warriors, the Catamounts were unable to convert despite the chances and the period ended at 0-0,with Vermont out shooting Merrimack 11-9.
The scoring began to heat up in the second period, with Merrimack striking first at 7:54. After a turnover in the Vermont zone, Flanigan picked up the puck and slid it through the legs of sophomore goaltender Rob Madore.
An obstruction-tripping penalty followed for the Warriors at 10:24. During the penalty, sophomore goalie Joe Cannata appeared to have stopped the puck but it came out again behind him and players scrambled, many falling into the crease. This resulted in another Merrimack penalty — this time for hitting from behind — and gave Vermont a 5-on-3 power play.
This time, Vermont took advantage of the penalties when Medvec scored at 12:18. Seconds after shooting and knocking the puck off a post, Medvec came back and put the puck over Cannatas shoulder with a quick shot, tying the game at 1-1.
Vermont took the lead for the first time in the third period just 19 seconds in when Downing got the puck in the slot off a pass from senior co-captain Brian Roloff.
The goal was put under video review but it was upheld, preserving the lead for the Catamounts.
Following Downings goal, the Catamounts held onto the lead for most of the period. The Warriors were not ready to give up though, and they came back to tie just as the period was beginning to wind down. Da Costa scored at 15:40 with a straight, low shot from the slot that went directly past Madore.
I thought we were in control, limiting their opportunities, just kind of miscommunication on that one play we had two players within the vicinity of Da Costa but no one was really covering him so that was a poor shift, Sneddon said.
The game stayed tied at 2-2 for the remaining minutes of the third, forcing the game into overtime.
Merrimack called a timeout with 1:25 left to play in overtime. The Warriors then began trying to attack the Vermont net but Madore made a key glove save after junior Chris Barton shot a wrister in the offensive zone.
Time ran out on both teams after that and the game ended in a 2-2 tie.
This meeting of the two teams ended differently from their first game this season, which ended in a 5-2 Merrimack victory on Oct. 23 at Lawler Sports Arena.
The teams will meet for a third time tomorrow night to finish off the weekend series.