Merrimack College broke out of its losing streak in a big way on Sunday, beating Arizona State 10-0 at Lawler Rink …
NORTH ANDOVER — It has been a tough January for Merrimack College. The struggles have been well documented, including entering yesterday’s matinee with Arizona State at Lawler Rink riding a 10-game losing streak.
The Warriors broke out of that in a big way yesterday, beating the Sun Devils 10-0 to earn their first win since Dec. 21.
“We’ve been struggling, and I thought our guys came out ready to play,” said Merrimack head coach Mark Dennehy. “I also thought that we had some puck luck tonight and batted at least three pucks in. Those are pucks we could have used at other stages of our season, but it just so happened to be tonight. I thought for the most part we stuck with what we needed to do and got the job done.”
Ed. Note — You can also read this story in Monday’s Eagle Tribune
There were plenty of points to go around. Freshman forward Derek Petti, from Tewksbury, scored his first collegiate goal and led the team with five points (2 goals, 3 assists). Brett Seney (3 assists), Alex Carle (1 goal, 2 assists), Chris LeBlanc (2 goals, 1 assist) and Michael Babcock (1 goal, 2 assists) also had three-point nights; Carle also scored his first collegiate goal.
Petti said his parents, along with a slew of other family members, were in the crowd.
““It’s unbelievable,” he said. “You dream about moments like that. Just for it to finally happen is amazing. … It was a good crowd. Great timing.”
Added Dennehy, “To be honest, I’m surprised it has taken this long because he’s looked so good in practice. He might score more goals in practice than any player on our team. That’s why he keeps getting in the lineup because he does some special things … things that are tough to teach.
“We’re happy he’s a part of this program. He’s a great story, if you think about it. He’s a public school kid, and whoever heard of the Middlesex Black Bears? I’ll be honest, I didn’t until I got the video. But he can’t be satisfied. He knows he needs to keep working to be better but he’s a super kid.”
The Sun Devils, who are in the midst of their first season as a Division 1 program, played games at Lowell on Friday and Saturday, and this was their third game in as many nights.
“I’d like to thank Coach Powers and Arizona State for playing three in a row,” Dennehy said. “I wouldn’t wish that on anybody. It was the only way we could get the game and I want to thank them for playing it, and I also want to welcome them to Division 1 college hockey, I think it’s awesome for college hockey that they are a part of what we’re doing.”
LeBlanc heats up
Junior forward Chris LeBlanc broke out with a pair of goals, with both coming on the power play. Merrimack’s power play was last in the nation entering the game, and finished the night 5 for 7, nearly doubling their power-play percentage to 12.4 percent on the season and climbing 10 spots to No. 50.
“We got on Chris a little bit,” Dennehy said. “He basically missed an entire season hurting his knee the first year. Even though he came back halfway through last year that injury takes a long time to recover.
“I’ll be honest, we’ve been very hard on him earlier in the year. He needs to play like he’s 6-foot-3 and not 5-foot-10 and he’s started to do that. It’s amazing, you put guys on Mike Babcock’s line and they play harder. He and Babs, since they’ve been together, he plays hard. I’m glad he gets rewarded, because now he sees if he works hard and plays hard, he gets rewarded.”
Merrimack 10, Arizona State 0
at Lawler Rink, Merrimack College
Arizona State (5-22-0): 0-0-0—0
Merrimack College (8-14-5): 5-4-1—10
First Period: 1. MC Derek Petti (Chris LeBlanc, Michael Babcock), ev, 0:38; 2. MC Mathieu Tibbet (Alex Carle, Brett Seney), ev, 7:45; 3. MC Brian Christie 5 (Ben Bahe, Alex Carle), ev, 12:45; 4. MC Mathieu Foget (Aaron Titcomb), ev, 16:32; 5. MC Chris LeBlanc (Brett Seney, Mathieu Foget), pp, 18:39.
Second Period: 6. MC Chris LeBlanc (Brett Seney, Ethan Spaxman), pp, 1:22; 7. MC Alex Carle (Derek Petti, Marc Biega), pp, 6:45; 8. MC Mathieu Tibbet (Matt Cronin, Derek Petti), pp, 8:32; 9. MC Michael Babcock (Derek Petti, Ethan Spaxman), pp, 13:18.
Third Period: 10. MC Derek Petti (Ethan Spaxman, Hampus Gustafsson), sh, 15:14
Shots: Merrimack 15-14-11—40; Arizona State 5-7-9—21
Saves: MC Delia 5-x-x—5; Vogler x-7-6-—13; Pantalone x-x-3—3; ASU Pashovitz 10-x-x-—10; Levin x-10-10—20
Power Play: Merrimack 5 for 7; Arizona State 0 for 7
Penalties: Merrimack 11-22; Arizona State 12-32
Next: at Connecticut Saturday, 7 p.m.