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Tavernier’s overtime winner gives Merrimack a win at Maine

Sami Tavernier scored in overtime to give Merrimack a 3-2 win over Maine on Saturday night at Alfond Arena …

Ed. Note — This story will appear in Sunday’s edition of The Eagle Tribune

ORONO, Maine — Sometimes all it takes is one shot.

Merrimack sophomore Sami Tavernier had Merrimack’s only shot of the overtime, and that’s because it’s the only shot the Warriors needed as Tavernier lit the lamp and Merrimack came away from Alfond Arena on Saturday night with a 3-2 overtime victory over Maine. The Warriors headed home with a weekend split after the Black Bears took Friday’s game by the same score, also in the extra session.

Tavernier’s heroics were setup by senior defenseman Jared Kolquist, who collected a puck at the defensive blue line and hesitated just long enough for Tavernier to get behind the Maine defense. Kolquist’s pass hit Tavernier’s stick before crossing into the attacking zone and with one step on his man, Tavernier wired a shot from the right faceoff circle over the shoulder of Maine goaltender Jeremy Swayman.

“I was pretty sure (Kolquist) would pass it,” Tavernier said. “We get along well on the power play and we know each other well. So I knew he was going to pass it and then when he did, I just kind of blacked out and shot it.

“I saw the D catching up and I knew I had to take the shot quick, and I’m used to shooting on the left side (of the net) so I just took the shot, far corner.”

Tavernier’s goal was his first of the weekend and eighth of the season. Tavernier was playing with Brett Seney and Jace Hennig for the first time this season.

“The best part of his game is how he shoots the puck,” said Maine head coach Red Gendron. “He has a great shot and if you leave him there like that, he can wire it, and that’s exactly what he did.”

The win snapped a five-game winless skid for the Warriors, whose last two defeats came in overtime.

Merrimack also saw the return of goaltender Drew Vogler, who last played in net on Jan. 20 at Boston University. In only his second game since October, Vogler turned away 36 Maine shots — including 18 in the third period — to pick up his first win of the season.

“Vogler was really good tonight,” said Merrimack head coach Mark Dennehy. “He made some big saves, some timely saves as well.”

“We have been struggling to get wins lately,” Vogler added. “Any points are huge for us right now. We need to climb back up in the standings to get home ice. I’m trying to help in any way I can and the boys were good in front of me tonight.”

Merrimack heads to UMass on Tuesday night before having next weekend off. Maine will play at Providence on Friday night.

Merrimack 3, Maine 2 (OT)
at Alfond Arena 
Merrimack (8-16-4): 1-1-0-1—3
Maine (15-10-4): 1-0-1-0—2
1st Period
Scoring - 1, MER Tyler Drevitch/2 (Aaron Titcomb/2, Patrick Kramer/1) 5:10
2, MNE Tim Doherty/8 (Nolan Vesey/9) 15:02 (PP)
Penalties - Patrick Holway, MNE (Roughing) 3:06; Sam Becker, MNE (Cross-Checking) 7:41; Michael Babcock, MER (Cross-Checking) 13:50; Eduards Tralmaks, MNE (Tripping) 18:04
2nd Period
Scoring - 3, MER Brett Seney/11 2:22 (SH)
Penalties - Ludvig Larsson, MER (Hooking) 1:23; Keith Muehlbauer, MNE (Tripping) 5:55; Alfred Larsson, MER (Interference) 6:51; Brady Keeper, MNE (Slashing) 10:05
3rd Period
Scoring - 4, MNE Mitchell Fossier/9 (Patrick Holway/12, Chase Pearson/20) 12:44 (PP)
Penalties - Aaron Titcomb, MER (Interference) 0:30; Jared Kolquist, MER (Roughing) 2:31; Chase Pearson, MNE (Roughing) 2:31; Brett Seney, MER (Roughing) 10:55
Overtime
Scoring - 5, MER Sami Tavernier/8 (Jared Kolquist/17) 3:36 (GW)
Penalties - None
Shots: Merrimack 15-12-8-1—36; Maine 8-9-19-2—38
Merrimack Goaltending - Drew Vogler (63:29, 38 shots, 36 saves, 2 GA); Empty Net (0:07, 0 GA)
Maine Goaltending - Jeremy Swayman (63:36, 36 shots, 33 saves, 3 GA)
Win - Drew Vogler, MER (1-6-2). Loss - Jeremy Swayman, MNE (12-6-3).
Power Plays - MER 0 of 5; MNE 2 of 5
Penalties - MER 6 (12 min); MNE 6 (12 min)

Mike McMahon is in his 12th year covering Merrimack College for The Eagle Tribune and is the founder and managing editor of The Mack Report. Mike also serves on staff as a senior writer at College Hockey News. Follow him on Twitter @MikeMcMahonCHN

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