NORTH ANDOVER, MA – The 18th-ranked Merrimack hockey team saw its five-game home unbeaten streak snapped by Northeastern University 2-1 Saturday night in front of 2,308 fans at Lawler Arena.
Merrimack (7-4-4, 5-4-3 HEA) will be idle until December 30 when it visits Army for a 7 p.m. game. Northeastern (3-8-4, 3-5-3 HEA) takes on Boston University Wednesday night at 7 p.m.
The Warriors, who were 4-0-1 at home this season and 16-3-2 dating back to the beginning of 2009-10, have lost twice to the Huskies in North Andover over the last two seasons.
Merrimack struck first as Stephane Da Costa (Paris, France) extended his point streak to five games with his seventh goal of the season at 13:22 of the first. After Joe Cucci (Melrose Park, IL) hit the post on a 2-on-1, the senior got his own rebound and found Da Costa who buried a blast above the blocker of Chris Rawlings to put the hosts in front.
But the Huskies came back in the second as Garrett Vermeersch netted his first of the year, backhanding a rebound home at 2:29 to even the score.
Tyler McNeely followed with a power-play marker at 8:03 for his sixth of the season, and the Huskies, who outshot the Warriors 15-11 in the second, took a 2-1 lead heading into the third.
The Warriors outshot Northeastern 7-5 in the final period, but any chances of a comeback were dashed by five Merrimack third-period minors.
Rawlings finished with 22 saves as Northeastern edged Merrimack in shots 24-23.
Joe Cannata (Wakefield, MA) also turned aside 22 shots, including 13 in the second period.
The teams combined for 16 minor penalties, as Northeastern went 1-for-9 on the power play against Merrimack's top-ranked penalty kill, while the Warriors were 0-for-7 on the man advantage.
"I thought there could have been more penalties called," said head coach Mark Dennehy. "I'm perplexed why both of these teams would take all of those penalties in the third period and not the first two."
Playing their fifth game in eight days, Merrimack concluded its pre-Holiday schedule with a 5-2-2 record in its final nine games.