NEW HAVEN, Conn. – It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish.
Merrimack held two separate leads over defending national champion Yale but the Bulldogs potted an overtime game winner with just 45.3 seconds left on the clock to beat the Warriors, 3-2, at Ingalls Rink in front of 3,267 fans last night. The loss extended Merrimack’s winless streak to seven games, its longest in four years.
“We’re working hard but we’re not working very smart,” said Merrimack head coach Mark Dennehy, who coached his 300th game behind the Warrior bench. “We were chasing the puck the whole game and weren’t forechecking with any intelligence. The second period was probably our best period because we were attacking but beyond that, I wasn’t happy with our play at all. I thought our forwards didn’t work hard enough and our defenseman was looking for help, trying to make plays that weren’t there and holding the puck too long. I’m sure they’re frustrated because they’re working hard, but not smart.”
Hampus Gustafsson scored twice for the Warriors and Rasmus Tirronen made 31 saves.
The Warriors were outshot 34-15, including 29-6 combined in the first and third period as well as overtime.
“I didn’t think, when we had a chance to attack and go after them, we did so in a unified manner,” Dennehy said.
On Tirronen, he added, “He’s kicking himself on that third one but we can’t give the guy the puck in the middle of the rink. … He’s not our problem.”
Merrimack gets back to work on Friday when the Warriors host Boston University in the first game of a weekend home-and-home series.
Check back for more coverage later tonight.