NORTH ANDOVER — For almost two periods, Merrimack and Boston University played an even, and scoreless, hockey game at Lawler Arena. But an unfortunate bounce for the Warriors on a BU power play gave the Terriers the lead after a puck deflected off a Warrior and past Craig Pantano. Gabriel Chabot scored a few minutes later to double the score and it was too much for the Warriors to overcome, falling 3-1 to BU to close out the weekend.
“We did a lot of good things,” said Merrimack head coach Mark Dennehy. “We block a shot on their first goal and it hits us and goes in. You can do everything right and it ends up in your net. What are you going to do?
“The second goal, we have to have a better stick on it initially and we need to cover the front of the net better.”
Dennehy said he thought the Warriors played better against BU on Saturday in a losing effort than they did on Friday night in a 3-2 win over New Hampshire. Merrimack outshot the Terriers 29-22, including a 13-4 edge in the third period.
Merrimack had a five-minute power play just a few minutes into the game after Brandon Hickey hit Logan Coomes behind the BU net. Later in the game, Coomes gave Hickey a receipt on the near wall, steamrolling the BU defenseman as he tried to carry the puck out of the zone.
“He played harder,” Dennehy said of Coomes. “He did some good things. Sometimes offensive palyers get a little cute at times, but all of our offensive players are playing harder. We’re trying to get all of our guys to weigh the risk-reward. He played much harder.”
BU head coach David Quinn said he thought the five-minute penalty kill set the tone for the Terriers.
“I would have liked to get more out of our power play in general,” Dennehy said. We knew they would pressure us. They did some good things on the PK. We were too selective. When you take that many passes in a row, the chances of one bouncing on you is pretty high, and then they will pressure you. (BU) did a good job on the forecheck, but we did a good job responding to it. I’m pretty sure they didn’t diagram a play where they shoot it off our guy into the net.
“But in general, I thought we could have been more crisp and got more shots on net. We weren’t as prepared to shoot as we needed to be.”
On the major, Merrimack gave its fourth line a shift, with Coomes, Patrick Kramer and Jackson Bales generating some chances despite limited power-play minutes this season.
“You don’t want to get your team too tired, especially that early,” Dennehy said. “They never practiced on the power play, but they know what to do. They ad-libbed a little bit. They had a few nice looks there. I think it’s counterproductive to go with two lines on the five-minute power play.”
Merrimack closes the regular season with a home-and-home series against UMass Lowell next weekend.