#19 Merrimack Hockey Drops Hockey East Opener At Northeastern, 4-2
BOSTON, MA – The #19 Merrimack men's hockey team fell behind 3-0 early in the opening period and they were unable to come back for the victory on Wednesday night at Matthews Arena against the Northeastern Huskies, falling by the score of 4-2.
Merrimack (1-1-0, 0-1-0 HEA) has over a week off before their next game as they will travel to Alaska for the Alaska Gold Rush Tournament and take on Alaska Fairbanks and Alaska Anchorage on back-to-back days. The game against Fairbanks is scheduled to start at 12 a.m. EST on Saturday, October 20 while the game against Anchorage is slated for 8 p.m. EST on the same day.
After the Huskies scored three first period goals, Merrimack responded with two goals of its own in the second.
Merrimack got on the board early in the second period as Quinn Gould (Fort McMurray, AB) found the back of the net after a nice pass from John Heffernan (Scituate, Mass.). Justin Hussar (Lancaster, NY) also recorded his first career point on Gould's first tally of the season 4:20 into the second period.
With 4:52 remaining in the second, Merrimack picked up its first power play goal of the season as Justin Mansfield (Arlington, Mass.) came from behind the net and beat Chris Rawlings on the glove side. Connor Toomey (Billerica, Mass.) and reigning Hockey East Player of the Week, Josh Myers (Colorado Springs, Colo.), picked up the assists on the goal to make the score 3-2 in favor of the home team.
The home team wasted no time in the first period as Garrett Vermeersch tipped a shot from the point over the glove of Merrimack goalie Rasmus Tirronen (Espoo, Finland) on the very first shot of the game. Two shots later, the Huskies extended their lead to two as Joseph Manno snuck one inside the post.
Less than four minutes later, Northeastern increased their first period lead to 3-0 as Vinny Saponari took a Merrimack turnover and fed linemate Kevin Roy for the onetimer goal on the power play.
Merrimack held the advantage in shots during the second and third periods by the margin of 29-18 but was outshot in the opening period 16-5.
After a tightly contested 19 minutes of the third period, the Huskies sealed the game with 58 seconds remaining. After the Warriors pulled their goalie for the extra attacker, Robbie Vrolyk picked up an empty net goal.
Tirronen finished the game with 30 saves in his first collegiate action while his counterpart Rawlings made 32 saves in his season opening victory.
The shots were even for the game at 34-34 and they went 1-8 on the power play while the Huskies went 1-6. Mansfield led the Warriors with six shots on goal while Gould racked up four in the loss.
The loss to Northeastern is the first since the 2010-11 season when the Warriors were defeated by the score of 2-1 at Lawler Arena.