CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – A hat trick from senior forward Hampus Gustafsson (Ljungby, Sweden) helped the Merrimack College men's ice hockey team secure a stunning 6-3 victory at No. 7/7 Boston College on Friday night, as the Warriors posted their first victory at Conte Forum for the first time in nearly 20 years and pushed their unbeaten streak to five (3-0-2).
Score: Merrimack 6, Boston College 3
Records: Merrimack (11-13-5, 5-7-5 HEA) | #7/7 Boston College (18-11-2, 13-4-1 HEA)
Location: Conte Forum | Chestnut Hill, Mass.
Game Duration: 2:11
How It Happened
- Merrimack could hardly have envisioned a better start, as the Warriors jumped out to a 3-0 lead just past the midpoint of the first period.
- Gustafsson potted his team-leading 12th and 13th tallies of the year at 3:38 and 8:36, respectively, to get things started. Junior Brett Seney (London, Ontario) had the primary helpers on both those markers, as Gustafsson scored both goals from the crease area.
- Junior Mathieu Tibbet (Dover, Del.) added another greasy goal for the visitors off a 2-on-1 rush; after taking the puck in down the right wing boards, Tibbet set up sophomore Michael Babcock (Northville, Mich.) for a one-timer in front. BC goaltender Joseph Woll made the initial stop, but Tibbet got a stick on a still-loose puck in the crease to make it 3-0. Ryan Edquist replaced Woll in net after that third goal.
- The hosts would mount a mini-comeback with two first-period salvos; Matthew Gaudreau netted his seventh at 12:42 before Austin Cangelosi brought the Eagles to within one at 18:20, as an eventful opening stanza came to a close with the Warriors ahead by one (3-2).
- Things cooled down from an offensive standpoint in the second despite four combined power plays being awarded to both sides.
- But it was an even-strength situation in which the game's sixth goal was scored, as freshman Sami Tavernier (Morzine, France) buried a give-and-go feed from Gustafsson at the right hash to restore the Warriors' multi-goal cushion, as the Navy and Gold carried a 4-2 edge into the second intermission.
- BC made it a one-goal game at the 12:11 mark while on the power play after Cangelosi banged in a feed at the back post to cut the Warrior lead to 4-3.
- But after Seney was denied by the crossbar, Gustafsson responded just over a minute later to round out the hat trick, as his 14th marker of the year gave the Warriors a multi-goal lead they would never relinquish. Babock would also add an empty-netter in the final minute to lock up the win.
Notes & Notables
- Perhaps most historic about Friday's victory is the snapping of a 30-game winless stretch (0-27-3) at Kelley Rink dating back to Oct. 31, 1997; that night marked the last Warrior victory at Conte Forum (6-4) prior to tonight's.
- The win also assured the Warriors their first unbeaten season in league play against both BC (1-0-1) and BU (2-0-0) since joining the conference, as well as season series victories against both teams; the next-best year was in 2010-11, when Merrimack went 3-1-2 in the regular season against both schools.
- Gustafsson's hat trick was the first by any member of the current squads and first for the program since Carter Madsen did so in a 6-2 win against Maine at Lawler Rink on March 12, 2011, in the Hockey East Tournament Quarterfinals.
- Friday marked Gustafsson's third career multi-goal game and first in nearly two years; his last such performance came in Feb. 14, 2015, against Maine (5-3 loss). His five points (3g, 2a) were a new single-game career-high, as well, and accounted for Merrimack's first five-point game since Derek Petti (Tewksbury, Mass.) accomplished the feat in a 10-0 win against Arizona State on Jan. 31, 2016.
- For Seney, Friday marked the third three-point night of his career and first since Feb. 13, 2016, against BC (5-5 tie); for Gustafsson, his only other prior three-point outing was in a 4-2 road win at UMass on Nov. 13, 2015.
- Tavernier also matched a single-game career-high with two points (1g, 1a); junior Marc Biega (Pointe-Claire, Quebec) also set a single-game career-high with three assists while Babcock (1g, 1a) and sophomore Alex Carle (Anchorage, Alaska) (2a) also had multi-point outings.
- Merrimack improved to 8-2-1 when scoring first, 7-1-1 when leading after the first and 10-0-3 when leading after two periods with Friday's win.
Seney| Gustafsson | Tavernier
Hennig| L. Larsson | LeBlanc
Babcock | Kramer | Tibbet
Petti | Drevitch | Irvine
Biega | Carle
Kolquist | Kovacevic
Lashyn | Cook
Game Leaders (MC // BC)
- Points: Gustafsson (5) // Cangelosi/Ryan Fitzgerald (3)
- Goals: Gustafsson (3) // Cangelosi (2)
- Assists: Biega/Seney (3) // Fitzgerald (3)
- Shots: Gustafsson (3) // Connor Moore (5)
- Faceoffs Won: Gustafsson (10) // Julius Mattila (12)
- Saves: Collin Delia (29-for-32) // Joe Woll (3-for-6), Ryan Edquist (11-for-13)
Facts and Figures (MC // BC)
- Power Plays: 0-3 // 1-2
- Penalties: 3 Penalties – 6 Minutes // 4 Penalties – 8 Minutes
- Faceoffs: 19 // 29
- SOG: 7-9 // 10-6 // 3-17 // 20-32
Merrimack will hit the road again when it travels to Amherst to wrap up its season series with the University of Massachusetts next Tuesday (Feb. 14) night. Puck drop from the Mullins Center is set for 7 p.m.