JARDINE, SCOTTI HELP MERRIMACK EARN HARD-FOUGHT DRAW WITH NOTRE DAME SATURDAY
Links: Box Score
SOUTH BEND, Ind. – Trailing by two goals early in the second period, the Merrimack College men's ice hockey team roared all the way back to send the game to overtime after an extra-attacker tally from sophomore Vinny Scotti (Vineland, N.J.), as the Warriors fought No. 4/3 Notre Dame to a 2-2 draw and earned a key league point, wrapping up a weekend Hockey East series at Compton Family Ice Arena.
Score: Merrimack 2, Notre Dame 2
Records: Merrimack (3-6-1, 0-3-1 HEA) | Notre Dame (8-3-1, 2-1-1 HEA)
Location: Compton Family Ice Arena | South Bend, Ind.
How It Happened
After the Fighting Irish scored once in the first on the power play and doubled their lead on a short-handed marker early in the second, Merrimack was undeterred and held its own in the second period before junior Clayton Jardine (Lacombe, Alberta) found the back of the net for the first time in two years to bring the visitors to within one.
With the Irish outshootoing Merrimack by a 25-12 margin after two periods of play, the Warriors turned the tides on the home side with a dominant third that saw the Navy and Gold hold a commanding 14-6 edge in shots on target.
But it would have all been for naught if not for the equalizer, and finally, with the net empty and the extra skater on the ice with just over a minute to play, Merrimack finally put another past Irish netminder Steven Summerhays (25 saves).
With a 6-on-5 advantage, Merrimack's forecheck kept the puck in the zone before Jardine settled a bouncing puck at the top of the near circle and fired a slapper that was blocked straight on back to senior Jordan Heywood (Regina, Saskatchewan) in the high slot, who promptly fired a slapper of his own right on net but again Summerhays turned it aside.
Scotti, however, was waiting to bury the rebound on the weak side of the crease, and the sophomore did not miss, scoring on a wide-open net from the left side to send the game to overtime.
In the extra session, both sides would not muster much after two physical nights of intense hockey; both Notre Dame and Merrimack attempted one shot each in overtime but that would be all, as junior goaltender Rasmus Tirronen (Espoo, Finland) limited the Irish to just the two goals and finished with an impressive 30-save performance, with his biggest stops of the night coming in the final minute of regulation.
A Closer Look
- After being outshot by a 25-12 margin in the first and second periods combined, Merrimack finished the game trailing by just five (32-27) in shots on net
- Notre Dame finished 1-for-6 on the power play, while Merrimack came up empty on its only two man advantages of the evening
- Junior Quinn Gould (Fort McMurray, Alberta) led all skaters with five shots on the night, while eight different Merrimack players finished with a positive plus/minus; only one Notre Dame skater finished with a positive plus/minus, in comparison
- Junior Justin Mansfield (Arlington, Mass.) helped set up Jardine's goal after picking up a loose puck on an entry feed from Jardine and shoveling it back along the half wall, leading to the deflected slap shot and the Warriors' first goal
- Notre Dame held the edge in blocked shots (13-10) and went 44-36 on the draws
Notes and Notables
- Jardine's goal, his second collegiate marker, was his first in nearly two years. The last time the Lacombe, Alberta, native found the back of the net was during his rookie season at home against Alabama-Huntsville on Nov. 23, 2011.
- The overtime contest was Merrimack's first since a March 8, 2013 overtime win against Massachusetts at home (4-3)
- Previously this season, the Warriors had been 1-4-0 when trailing after two periods; the lone win came when trailing after two periods, 2-1, against Army on Oct. 26, a game Merrimack eventually won by a 4-2 margin
The Warriors continue Hockey East action next weekend with a home-and-home series against No. 18 Northeastern, starting on Friday (Nov. 22) night at Lawler Rink and concluding Saturday at Matthews Arena. Both start times are set for 7 p.m. Tickets for both nights are available online (www.MerrimackAthletics.com) or through the Merrimack Box Office at 978-837-5324.