December 29, 2012

Merrimack and Princeton Skate to 2-2 Draw; Bates Nets Game-Tying Goal

BURLINGTON, VT – The Merrimack hockey team and Princeton skated to a 2-2 tie on Saturday afternoon at Gutterson Field House in the opening round of the 17th annual Sheraton/TD Bank Catamount Cup.

Merrimack (6-7-4, 4-4-1 HEA) will return to action tomorrow at 4 p.m. at Gutterson Field House when they will take on Union for the second time this season.

The Warriors came out quickly in the second period as Justin Mansfield (Arlington, Mass.) scored his second goal of the season less than one minute in. Mansfield skated in and beat the Princeton goalie on his blocker side after a nice pass from Connor Toomey (Billerica, Mass.). Brian Christie (West Chester, PA) also picked up his fourth assist of the season on Mansfield's even strength tally.

The Warriors tied the score at two less than five minutes later as Shawn Bates (Ft. Saskatechewan, AB) beat Sean Bonar five hole with a quick backhand shot. John Heffernan (Bridgewater, Mass.) fed a streaking Bates for the goal while Jordan Heywood (Regina, SK) picked up a secondary assist on the play.

Despite outshooting the Tigers 12-8 in the first period, the Warriors entered the locker room trailing 2-0 after the first 20 minutes of action. Princeton opened the scoring nine minutes into the period as Andrew Calof found a loose puck in front of the Merrimack net and buried his fifth goal of the season.

The Tigers scored their second goal of the period with just 53 seconds to play as Rob Kleebaum took a feed from Tom Kroshus and beat Sam Marotta (Bridgewater, Mass.) over his right shoulder from just inside the faceoff circle.

The Warriors had their best chance to break the tie in the third period as Bates skated in free on Bonar and just slid the puck wide of the open net.

In the overtime period, the Warriors outshot the Tigers 5-1 but were unable to find the back of the net as Mike Collins (Boston, Mass.) got robbed from point blank in the final minute.

Marotta finished the game with 18 saves in the tie while Bonar finished with 34 saves.

For the game, Merrimack went 0-7 on the power play with seven shots on goal while they limited Princeton to 0-3 on the power play. The Warriors also outshot the Tigers 36-20 including 10-5 in the second period in which they scored both of their goals.