December 30, 2010

#17 Merrimack Rallies for 2-1 OT Victory at Army

Postgame Audio: Dennehy / Flanigan

WEST POINT, NY – Jesse Todd (Camrose, AB) scored 2:34 into overtime, giving the 17th-ranked Merrimack hockey team the come-from-behind 2-1 victory over Army Thursday night at the Tate Rink.

Merrimack (8-4-4, 5-4-3 HEA) returns to the ice on Saturday at RIT at 7 p.m. in Rochester, New York. The Tigers, who reached the Frozen Four in 2010, are unbeaten in their last 13 home games.

Right off the draw 2:20 into the extra frame, Stephane Da Costa (Paris, France) won the faceoff and worked it to the  net, where Todd swatted at it, but it was turned aside by Jay Clark. But the unit of Todd, Da Costa and Chris Barton (Calgary, AB) kept working, and Todd got his own rebound and fired it past Clark, who was out of position, for the game-winner, his seventh tally of the year. 

"That's a hard-working team," Merrimack head coach Mark Dennehy said of the Black Knights. "They should be. They're in incredible shape, and the game was taking shape they way they wanted it to take shape. There was a lot of hand-to-hand combat."

With the victory, Merrimack remains unbeaten in non-conference action, improving to 3-0-1 this season.

Trailing 1-0 in the third, Ryan Flanigan (Rochester, NY) tied it at 3:07 with his fourth of the season with Francois Ouimet (Lorraine, QC) picking up the assist. The junior forward had the puck just outside the right faceoff circle, and he turned towards the net, firing a wrister over the glove of a screened Clark to get the visitors on the board.

The Warriors outshot Army 11-7 in the third, pushing for the game-winner, but Clark turned aside 10 shots, including quality chances from Karl Stollery (Camrose, AB) and Tom McCarthy (Maple Grove, MN), while Barton rang one off the post.

Following a 25-day layoff, the Warriors struggled for much of the first two periods, only to be saved by junior goaltender Joe Cannata (Wakefield, MA).

Cannata made 21 stops through two periods, including a 2-on-0 stop on Cody Omilusik midway through the first period.

The Black Knights drew first blood as Dube fired a wrister past Cannata for his third of the year at 7:03 of the second. Cody Ikkala and Mike Hull picked up the assists, as Dube beat a Merrimack defender down the left side, sniping it between the pads of Cannata.

Cannata finished with 29 stops, as Merrimack outshot Army 36-30. The junior emerged with a great glove stop in overtime on a Dube slapper, just 34 seconds before Todd gave the Warriors the victory.

Thursday's game marked the fourth straight season that the two teams have met with Merrimack emerging with victories in all of them.

There were only three power plays, two for Merrimack, with neither team finding the net with the man advantage.

Todd, Da Costa, and Barton combined for 16 shots, six from Todd.