NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. — After swiping a point in the standings from Boston University in a 1-1 tie at Agganis Arena, Merrimack returned to Lawler Rink looking to grab more much needed points from the No. 1 team in Hockey East.
The game featured arguably two of Hockey East’s best goaltenders, Kieran Millan and Joe Cannata, both of whom recorded 30+ saves the night before.
“You have to give both goaltenders credit for the entire weekend; they played great,” said BU coach Jack Parker. “They both had a lot of pressure on them and a lot of scoring opportunities.”
Merrimack and BU tied 3-3 after an evenly matched game.
“We played a good team tonight,” said Merrimack coach Mark Dennehy. “It’s an ebb and flow game and a game of momentum.”
After two periods of the Warriors dominating play, BU’s top line of Chris Connolly, Corey Trivino, and Alex Chiasson scored two goals in the third period to force overtime at 3-3. First it was Trivino finally getting a puck into the slot for Connolly, who slipped the puck past Cannata’s blocker. Then, with Cannata appearing to have the puck pinned against the post, Trivino slapped at the puck, causing it to slide behind the netminder and across the line to tie the game.
The young and very talented Terriers opened with intense skating immediately after the opening faceoff, but the Warriors matched them stride for stride and hit for hit. An early slash from David Warsofsky sent the Warriors on an early power play and 1:15 into the game, Merrimack grabbed an early 1-0 lead on a deflection from Mike Collins off a Brendan Ellis one-timer.
The early goal flustered the Terriers and kept them out of sync for most of the first period. The Terriers had all kinds of problems passing the puck, and the Warriors forced numerous turnovers scrapping for the puck.
“We’re an attacking team and we like to play aggressive and take them out of their comfort zone; that’s what we’re made of,” said Merrimack defenseman Karl Stollery.
BU’s offense got moving midway through the first with playmaking defenseman Warsofsky getting pucks on Cannata with traffic in front. Cannata made some great saves on 12 of 13 early shots, with his defense doing a great job protecting the middle of their zone.
The Warriors capitalized on another power play for a 2-0 lead with Joe Cucci smacking in a rebound off of a Stollery point shot from outstanding puck movement and creative passing plays.
BU answered right back with Sahir Gill sliding a great lead pass to Wade Megan, and he sent the puck past Cannata to cut the deficit in half 2-1.
The second period was more of the same for both teams, with the Warriors doing everything possible to prevent the Terriers from having any extended time of puck possession, especially for over four minutes of Terriers power play time. The Warriors held the Terriers to a mere four shots on goal in the second period.
The second period ended on a sour note for BU when Stollery sent Chris Barton on a two-on-one with Jesse Todd. Todd received the pass and caught Millan out of position on a backhand deke for an easy tap-in for a 3-1 lead which Merrimack would later concede.