DULUTH, Minn. — Two third-period goals less than a minute apart helped the Merrimack College men’s ice hockey team rally for a 5-5 tie at No. 9/13 Minnesota Duluth on Friday night at AMSOIL Arena. The Warriors scored three times in under two minutes to turn a 4-2 deficit into a 5-4 lead before UMD scored with just over one minute remaining to tie the game.
“Hard-fought game,” said Merrimack head coach Mark Dennehy. “Our power play was excellent tonight, both units. (Drew) Vogler made some big saves when we needed them.”
Merrimack, which had converted just one of its first 16 power plays through three games, used the man advantage to build a 2-0 lead in the first period. Minnesota Duluth would convert on its first power play with 25 seconds left in the opening frame to trim the deficit to one.
While skating on its first power play of the night, sophomore Sami Tavernier beat UMD goaltender Nick Deery with a wrist shot from the right hash. Senior Jace Hennig got the scoring play started after digging the puck out of the far corner, and junior Derek Petti threaded a pass through the slot to Tavernier, who finished it off for his second goal of the year at 8:05 of the first.
Nearly 10 minutes later, and while equipped with a 5-on-3 power play, senior Brett Seney picked up his first goal of the year thanks to a perfectly placed wrist shot from the right circle that went through a screen and into the upper-right corner of the net. Hennig and senior Jared Kolquist each assisted on the play.
After scoring late in the first period, the Bulldogs would get three more man advantages in the second period and cashed in on two of them, turning a one-goal deficit into a one-goal lead while holding the Warriors to only 15 shots on goal through two periods.
“It’s two fast-paced teams,” Dennehy said. “We need to do a better job when we’re hemmed in our own zone of protecting inside ice and obviously we need to kill penalties better.”
Minnesota Duluth added one more while even strength, but the Warriors would go off for three goals in a span of 1:59, lighting the lamp at 14:52, 15:37 and 16:51, respectively, to turn that two-goal deficit into a one-goal lead.
The Warriors got the comeback started at 14:52; while on the power play, Kolquist threaded a puck from atop the far circle through traffic and into the twine with assists coming from Tavernier and Seney. Then 45 seconds later, Hennig’s first of the season tied the contest at 4-4; Tavernier dished the puck to him into the slot area, where Hennig turned and put a backhander through traffic and in at 15:37.
Seney’s second of the night was arguably the prettiest goal of the game, as the senior used his speed to burn down the right-wing side before maneuvering behind his defender and putting a backhander home at the far post to give the Warriors a 5-4 lead at 16:51.
However, the Bulldogs assured the dramatics would continue with an equalizer at 18:45, sending the game to overtime.
Both sides combined for five shots in the sudden death session, but neither side would find the back of the net, resulting in an official tie. Under NCHC rules, the game went to a 3-on-3 overtime after the five-minute 5-on-5 OT was over. The NCHC uses the format for its standings purposes only. Tyler Irvine scored for the Warriors to end the game on a breakaway, but for NCAA purposes, the game was a 5-5 tie.
Jared Kolquist, appropriately enough, had a storybook night; the nearby Hermantown, Minnesota, native set a new career-high with four points on a goal and three helpers; his only other three-assist night came against BU on Jan. 24, 2017.
“Whenever you can play in front of friends and family, it’s an emotional game,” Kolquist told the Duluth News Tribune. “I’m very happy with our team’s performance tonight. We didn’t play great for the whole game, but we played great when it mattered.”
Both sides combined for seven power play goals, with Merrimack converting 4-of-6. The last time Merrimack scored exactly four power play goals was in an 11-2 win over UMass on Feb. 5, 2011. Minnesota Duluth finished with three power play goals on Friday.
Merrimack and Minnesota Duluth round out the weekend series back at AMSOIL Arena on Saturday night. Puck drop is once again set for 8:30 p.m.
Merrimack 5, Minnesota Duluth 5
1st Period Scoring - 1, MER Sami Tavernier/2 (Derek Petti/1, Jace Hennig/2) 8:05 (PP) 2, MER Brett Seney/1 (Jared Kolquist/2, Jace Hennig/3) 17:51 (PP) 3, MND Joey Anderson/2 (Scott Perunovich/2, Riley Tufte/1) 19:35 (PP) Penalties - Riley Tufte, MND (Hooking) 7:02; Mathieu Tibbet, MER (Hooking) 8:28; Mikey Anderson, MND (Slashing) 16:13; Jarod Hilderman, MND (Charging) 16:39; Alfred Larsson, MER (High-Sticking) 19:12 2nd Period Scoring - 4, MND Nick Swaney/1 (Dylan Samberg/1, Mikey Anderson/2) 7:38 (PP) 5, MND Mikey Anderson/2 (Dylan Samberg/2, Nick Swaney/4) 16:11 (PP) Penalties - Sami Tavernier, MER (Tripping) 6:47; Logan Coomes, MER (Tripping) 9:06; Marc Biega, MER (Boarding) 14:59 3rd Period Scoring - 6, MND Riley Tufte/3 12:12 7, MER Jared Kolquist/1 (Sami Tavernier/1, Brett Seney/1) 14:52 (PP) 8, MER Jace Hennig/1 (Sami Tavernier/2, Jared Kolquist/3) 15:37 (PP) 9, MER Brett Seney/2 (Jared Kolquist/4, Johnathan Kovacevic/2) 16:51 10, MND Peter Krieger/1 (Riley Tufte/2, Dylan Samberg/3) 18:45 Penalties - Nick Wolff, MND (Roughing) 0:23; Nick Wolff, MND (Cross-Checking) 13:58; Riley Tufte, MND (Cross-Checking) 15:16 Overtime Scoring - None Penalties - None Merrimack Goaltending - Drew Vogler (65:00, 43 shots, 38 saves, 5 GA) Minnesota Duluth Goaltending - Nick Deery (64:21, 26 shots, 21 saves, 5 GA); Empty Net (0:39, 0 GA) Tie - Drew Vogler, MER (0-2-2). Tie - Nick Deery, MND (0-1-2). Shots On Goal - MER 8-7-9-2=26; MND 13-13-14-3=43 Power Plays - MER 4 of 6; MND 3 of 5 Penalties - MER 5 (10 min); MND 6 (12 min) Three Stars: 1. Jared Kolquist (Merrimack) 2. Riley Tufte (Minnesota Duluth) 3. Dylan Samberg (Minnesota Duluth) Referees: Brian Aaron, Scott Bokal Linesmen: Kevin Cassidy, Brandon Schmitt