HAMILTON, N.Y. — After thoroughly outplaying Colgate on Friday night and coming away with a loss, the Merrimack men’s hockey team battled back for a point in a 2-2 tie last night at Class of 1965 Arena. But, Merrimack head coach Mark Dennehy said the Warriors have plenty of work to do.
Ed. Note — A version of this story will appear in Sunday’s Eagle Tribune
“It all evens out in the end,” he said. “We probably didn’t deserve a point tonight and got one, and last night we deserved at least a point and didn’t get any.”
Merrimack got on the board first at the 14:55 mark of the period when Derek Petti was able to get to a puck in front of the net, and the Tewksbury native found some room to slip shoot the puck past Colton Point (28 saves).
Petti, a Tewksbury native who is centering Merrimack’s top line with Brett Seney and Sami Tavernier on his wings, has five goals in his last nine games dating back to last season.
The Warriors doubled their lead just over a minute later. On the power play, the Warriors won a puck battle in the corner and moved it back to Jared Kolquist at the left point. Kolquist served up the puck for Tavernier to one-time it past Point from the left circle.
But the Warriors saw that lead erased in a second period where the Raiders stepped on the gas and Merrimack had little response.
“I didn’t think we played with a lot of discipline,” Dennehy said. “We weren’t disciplined in our systems and how we want to play and we weren’t disciplined in our penalties. We took a number of dumb penalties that we need to eliminate. What I saw was, when their players beat one of our players off the wall, or if they had any sniff offensively they took the puck to the net hard. When we had the puck we stayed on the perimeter and floated around and didn’t make any plays that usually lead to much. We need to play a lot harder and be harder to play against. We need to be tougher mentally and physically. It’s a disappointing performance, but the effort was there. We need to play a lot better than that.”
The third period was more evenly played, with Merrimack scoring what looked like the go-ahead goal with about five minutes to play, only the goal was called back after a video review.
“They said they thought it was in and then when they watched it, the puck went from one post to the other and never crossed the line,” Dennehy said. “They saw the video, not me. I will see it, but they said it didn’t go in.”
“We thought we had one there, but that’s hockey,” added Merrimack senior forward Brett Seney, who was near the net when the call was made. “Our focus shifted to what we had to do next either way. We had some good looks after that. But it’s hockey, some things go your way, other things won’t.”
Not long after the called-back goal, Merrimack goaltender Drew Vogler (28 saves) made a huge save with his pad sliding from post to post.
“That was a 10-bell save,” Dennehy said.
From there, the Warriors were called for a too-many-men penalty with just 9.7 seconds left in regulation. A mere four seconds later, Alfred Larsson was given a “faceoff infraction” for apparently closing his hand on the puck and the Warriors had to kill a 5-on-3 penalty in the overtime.
“I thought we played two minutes of good hockey, and luckily for us it was the two minutes we were down 5-on-3,” said Dennehy. “That was really the only time we did what we needed to do. We competed. We had big faceoff wins because we were digging in. Maybe it’s just because of the guys we had on the ice. At that point, we have the guys on the ice who want to compete and win battles. Those guys did the job.”
Colgate lost two players to five-minute majors earlier in the game, with Paul McAvoy and Jared Cockrell both tossed. Merrimack had 15:52 of power-play game (Colgate had 9:46), generating 10 shots and one goal.
Merrimack returns to action on Saturday night when they host Wisconsin for the first time at Lawler Arena.
Merrimack 2, Colgate 2
at Class of 1965 Arena
Merrimack (0-1-1): 2-0-0-0—2
Colgate (2-0-1): 0-2-0-0—2
First Period: 1. MC Derek Petti 1 (Johnathan Kovacevic, Marc Biega), ev, 14:55; 2. MC Sami Tavernier 1 (Jared Kolquist), pp, 16:09.
Second Period: 3. CU Nick Austin 1 (Evan Peterson, John Snodgrass), pp, 9:49, 4. CU Nick Austin 2 (Willie Brooks, John Snodgrass), ev, 17:33.
Third Period: None.
Shots: Merrimack 10-9-8-3—30; Colgate 7-11-8-4—30
Saves: MC Vogler 7-9-8-4—28; CU Point 8-9-8-3—28
Penalties: Merrimack 9-18; Colgate 11-52
Power Play: Merrimacmk 1 for 8; Colgate 1 for 6
Next: Hosts Wisconsin Saturday, 4 p.m.