COLLINS TALLIES TEAM-LEADING EIGHTH GOAL TUESDAY NIGHT VS. EAGLES
NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. – The Merrimack College men's ice hockey team outshot second-ranked Boston College from the second period onward and senior Mike Collins (Boston, Mass.) tallied his team-leading eighth goal of the year, but the Eagles soared out to a two-goal lead and made it hold the rest of the way, as the Warriors fell, 4-1, on Tuesday night at Lawler Rink.
Score: #2 Boston College 4, Merrimack 1
Records: Merrimack (6-12-3, 1-6-2 HEA) | #2 Boston College (17-4-3, 11-1-1 HEA)
Location: Lawler Rink | North Andover, Mass.
How It Happened
After both sides traded tallies in the opening five minutes, the pacing slowed down but Boston College was awarded five straight power plays in the first period and eventually capitalized with 42 ticks left in the initial stanza.
Merrimack managed to slow the Eagles enough and went to a power play of its own early in the second, but freshman netminder Thatcher Demko – playing back in Lawler Rink for the first time since helping the U.S. Under-18 Team post a win over the Warriors a year prior – was brilliant, making several impressive stops while finishing with 19 on the night to keep the hosts at bay.
BC added a key goal midway through the second before both teams went through a calm third period that involved more physical battles than legitimate scoring chances. The Eagles were able to post a late empty-netter to round out the night.
Backed by the nation's top scoring offense entering the night, BC came out firing on all cylinders and that, in turn, sparked the game's opening marker at 1:23 in favor of the Eagles. After a missed pass in the Eagle zone was intercepted by Johnny Gaudreau, linemate Kevin Hayes was fed near the right-wing wall and burst toward the Merrimack end.
With a forward to his right while homing in on a 2-on-1 chance, Hayes managed to put a backhand shot on net that ricocheted off junior Rasmus Tirronen's (Espoo, Finland) pads, but a Warrior defender accidentally tipped the puck across the goal line to stake the visitors the first goal.
That lead did not last long, as Collins tied things up just over three minutes later on a snipe from the right dot that skimmed past BC netminder Thatcher Demko's left shoulder and in. Sophomore Brian Christie (West Chester, Pa.) and junior Connor Toomey (Billerica, Mass.) each contributed on the play.
But penalties would be a factor for the Navy and Gold through the opening 20 minutes, as the Warriors committed five infractions during that span. To their credit, the Merrimack penalty-killing unit was stellar through the first four, but BC broke through on its five chance; Adam Gilmour won the draw cleanly and deflected the puck off the left half wall and directly to Teddy Doherty at the point. The latter fired a wrister that redirected off Gilmour's stick and in; a review deemed the goal legal, and the Eagles entered the first intermission ahead by a 2-1 margin.
After being outshot by nine in the opening stanza, Merrimack fared much better both on the shot chart and in the penalty-taking department in the second period. The Warriors outshot the visitors by four (14-10) in the frame and committed zero penalties to help slow down the Eagles.
But BC would benefit a close call at the blue line when it seemed Merrimack appeared to have cleared the puck and resulted in an offsides. Instead, though, Scott Savage was able to corral a bouncing puck just on top of the left point and quickly dished to Ryan Fitzgerald, who then fed Patrick Brown in the left circle before the latter beat Tirronen at 8:31 to pump the Eagles' lead to 3-1.
Neither side would get much going through the third frame, highlighted by nearly a 10-minute stretch without a shot on target by either team. Finally, though, Austin Cangelosi finished the night by depositing the puck into an empty Merrimack net, sending the Warriors to their sixth conference loss.
A Closer Look
- After being outshot by an 11-2 margin in the first, Merrimack rebounded by outshooting the Eagles 18-15 over the remainder of the game
- BC dominated the faceoff battle, winning 42-of-64 draws (.656)
- Gaudreau extended his point streak to 19 consecutive games by tallying an assist on the Eagles' opening strike
- Junior Justin Mansfield (Arlington, Mass.) and freshman Jonathan Lashyn (Camrose, Alberta) each finished with a +1 plus/minus rating
- Senior Jordan Heywood (Regina, Saskatchewan) led the Warriors with four shots on target, tying BC's Hayes for the game lead
Merrimack continues Hockey East play with a home-and-home series against the University of Massachusetts this weekend, Jan. 24-25. The weekend begins at the Mullins Center in Amherst before rounding out back home at Lawler Rink. Puck drop both nights is set for 7 p.m.