MANCHESTER, NH – Behind four unanswered Wildcat goals, the Merrimack hockey team was downed 6-2 on Saturday night at the Verizon Wireless Arena in Manchester, NH in front of a crowd of 6,605 people.
With the loss, Merrimack remains tied with Providence for fourth place in the Hockey East standings. The Friars are in action tonight as they will take on Northeastern.
Merrimack (10-10-5, 8-6-2 HEA) will return to Lawler Arena on Friday night as they will take on the UMass Lowell Riverhawks. The game on Friday will be a 7:00 p.m. start and will be aired on NESN. Tickets are still available and can be purchased at www.merrimackathletics.com or by calling the box office at 978-837-5324.
Merrimack knotted the game at one just 4:32 into the second period as Kyle Singleton (Beaverton, OR) rushed into the Wildcats zone and fed Rhett Bly (Regina, SK) behind the net. Bly fired a quick pass to a streaking Ben Bahe (Stillwater, MN) who buried the puck over the blocker of DeSmith for his first career goal. Bly picked up his sixth assist of the season while Singleton tallied his fifth assist.
Despite being outshot 11-7 in the opening period, the Wildcats got on the board first on a 5-on-3 power play just 7:29 into the opening period as Austin Block fed a pass across the goal crease that was deflected in off a defender in front of Sam Marotta (Bridgewater, Mass.). Connor Hardowa and Trevor van Riemsdyk picked up the assists on Block's tally.
The Warriors had their best chance to score on the man advantage in the first but Casey DeSmith stood tall and made two big saves on the Warriors first power-play unit.
Just under eight minutes later New Hampshire took the lead back, 2-1, on the power play as Hardowa beat Marotta with a slap shot from the top of the right circle. The goal came just seconds after a Merrimack turnover gave the Wildcats a golden opportunity in front that rang off the goal post.
The Wildcats lead was extended to 3-1 with 1:02 to play in the second as Dan Correale corralled a rebound in front of the Warriors net and found the back of the net for his first career goal.
New Hampshire scored their third goal of the second period with no time remaining on the clock as Collin MacDonald took a nice feed from Trevor van Riemsdyk and buried the puck. The goal was looked at by the officials and was upheld after a lengthy review.
Dalton Speelman gave the home team the 5-1 lead in the third as he took a nice feed after he got out of the box and skated in alone on Marotta and beat him with a nice move over the glove.
Just over a minute after the fifth UNH goal, Merrimack responded with a goal of their own as Dan Kolomatis (Basking Ridge, NJ) fired a shot past DeSmith for his fourth goal of the season. The assists on the play go to Vinny Scotti (Vineland, NJ) and Connor Toomey (Billerica, Mass.) to make it 5-2 in favor of the Wildcats.
The Wildcats added a late goal with just over a minute to play in the game as Grayson Downing took a rebound off the pad of Marotta and scored his ninth goal of the season.
Marotta finished the game with 22 saves while DeSmith made 35 saves in the win.
The Wildcats finished 2-3 on the power play while the Warriors could not score against the nation's best penalty killing team, going 0-4.