A dominating second period and terrific games from senior captain Wade Megan and freshman defenseman Matt Grzelcyk made the difference for Boston University, as it defeated the Merrimack Warriors handily, 3-1, in front of a sellout crowd at Merrimack’s Lawler Arena.
Megan’s three points earned him first star honors on the night, as his goal at 8:42 of the second period from Grzelcyk provided the difference Friday night for the Terriers. Megan is now tied for second in Hockey East in goals with five, and his performance didn’t escape BU coach Jack Parker.
“He was up and down all night; he played really well,” said Parker. “He really led the way for us tonight.”
A back-and-forth first period that left both teams scoreless seemed to be leaning in Merrimack’s favor. Despite a fairly even stat sheet, Merrimack had bigger hits, better pressure, and seemingly a greater desire to win.
“I think we got a little frustrated at times,” noted Parker of his team’s inability to get pucks into the offensive zone in the first period. It appeared midway through the period that BU had taken the lead, but the call was reversed upon review.
“They said ‘Hit the pipe, hit the cross bar and came back down. Never crossed the goal line,'” said Parker.
After a lackluster first period, Boston University came out swinging in the second, turning the tide both in their favor and into a quick goal just 1:22 into the second period. Freshman defenseman Ahti Oksanen netted his second goal of the season on assists from sophomore Cason Hohmann and Megan.
“I thought both our freshman defense played pretty good in a tough place to play, [this being] their first time playing here,” Parker said.
Merrimack looked to be making a comeback though, as they matched that same intensity to begin the third period.
“I didn’t want to mention it to my team, but Merrimack’s record in the third period is unbelievable and it looked like they were coming back again,” noted Parker.
Entering the final 20 with about 40 seconds left on a power play, some quick puck movement led to Warriors senior John Heffernan scoring his second goal of the season on assists from junior Mike Collins and senior Kyle Bigos. That would be all the scoring Merrimack would get tonight, despite being a team averaging 3.5 goals/game.
Grzelcyk capped the scoring at 12:46 of the third on another assist from Megan, bumping the BU lead to 3-1.
Asked about his team’s performance, Merrimack coach Mark Dennehy simply shrugged, “Just not good enough. I thought they were better. I thought we could’ve been more aggressive, and more consistent. They played harder, longer. This is a learning experience.”
With the win, BU jumps to second place in the Hockey East, while Merrimack drops to fourth.