COLLINS NETS TWO AS WARRIORS COME UP SHORT VS. CATAMOUNTS
NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. – With under three minutes to go in regulation, sophomore Justin Hussar (Lancaster, N.Y.) brought the Merrimack College men's ice hockey team to within one on a deflection goal, but 16th-ranked Vermont held off a late Warrior rally, as Merrimack fell, 4-3, in the second game of a weekend Hockey East series at Lawler Rink.
Score: #16 Vermont 4, Merrimack 3
Records: Merrimack (7-20-3, 2-14-2 HEA) | #16 Vermont (17-11-3, 9-9-0 HEA)
Location: Lawler Rink | North Andover, Mass.
How It Happened
Backed by a two-goal spurt from senior Mike Collins (Boston, Mass.), Merrimack hopped out to a 2-1 lead in the early goings of the second period, but the decisive stretch of the game came within an eight-minute frame in the middle stanza, as three straight Vermont tallies put the visitors ahead by a 4-2 margin that proved to be the difference.
But Merrimack controlled play throughout the third period, throwing 11 chances in total at Vermont netminder Brody Hoffman. Finally, though, at the 17:22 mark, senior Brendan Ellis (Kelowna, British Columbia) sent a slap shot on net that Hussar managed to tip in, bringing the Warriors to within a goal.
The hosts quickly opted for the extra skater through most of the remainder of regulation, but Hoffman and the Catamounts withheld a late charge and several last-second shots to preserve the one-goal cushion and secure the weekend sweep.
After going a span of 366:21 since last holding a lead in any contest, the Warriors ended that stretch less than seven minutes into Saturday's match, as Collins registered his third straight tally at the 6:21 mark of the opening stanza. Freshman Jonathan Lashyn (Camrose, Alberta) pinched in from the right wall and forced the puck onto the stick of junior Quinn Gould (Fort McMurray, Alberta), who tried to wrap it around the cage of Hoffman but was stuffed. Thankfully for Merrimack, Collins crashed in from the weak side and jammed the rebound home to put the Warriors on the board.
Following a multitude of penalties gave Merrimack three early power-play chances, Vermont found its legs and tied the game at a goal apiece after Chris McCarthy deflected in a slap shot from Michael Paliotta at 16:09. The Warriors would get one last power-play chance with less than two minutes to go in the period but skated into the first intermission even at 1-1.
A four-goal second period ensued, highlighted by Collins stretching his consecutive goal streak to four after Gould and sophomore Brian Christie (West Chester, Pa.) helped set him up at 2:34 of the period.
But after that, Vermont powered its way ahead thanks to three uninterrupted tallies; Brendan Bradley found the twine to tie it up on a rebound with the Catamounts on the power play at 6:28. Less than six minutes later, it was Nick Luukko putting Vermont ahead with another power-play strike, and two minutes after that, Yvan Pattyn forced a turnover ahead to Tom Forgione en route to a partial breakaway against Tirronen and scored shorthanded to send the visitors into the break with a 4-2 advantage.
The Warriors would need most of the third period to find the net again until Hussar's deflection tally at 17:22, as the sophomore found the back of the cage for the first time since an Oct. 19, 2013 contest against Mercyhurst. That would be the closest Merrimack would get, however, as the home side suffered its seventh straight loss despite the valiant effort.
A Closer Look
- Hoffman finished with another 30-save performance, turning away 31 Vermont shots, while junior Rasmus Tirronen (Espoo, Finland) was tagged with the loss after posting 24 saves
- Merrimack finished the night with a 34-28 advantage in shot attempts, outshooting the Catamounts by eight (11-3) in the final period
- Collins ran his streak to four consecutive Merrimack goals with his second strike of the game in the second period; he now stands at 12 on the year and 53 in his career
- McCarthy and Paliotta posted two points apiece for the visitors, while Collins and Gould each finished with two points for the hosts
- Merrimack finished the night with a 42-39 mark in faceoffs
The Warriors conclude the 2013-14 regular season next weekend with a two-game homestand against the University of New Hampshire. Puck drop both nights from Lawler Rink is set for 7 p.m.