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Merrimack outlasts No. 8 Boston University

Courtesy Photo: Patrick Donnelly

Click here to visit Patrick Donnelly’s entire gallery from Friday’s game

BOSTON — Merrimack scored four goals in a span of six minutes in the first period and held on late for a 5-2 win over Boston University at Walter Brown Arena on Friday afternoon. It was Merrimack’s first game at Walter Brown Arena since 2004 and the program’s first win in the building since 2001.

The Warriors took a 3-0 lead in the opening period with three goals in 2:10 off the sticks of Regan Kimens, Declan Carlile and Patrick Holway. BU scored 27 seconds after Merrimack’s third goal and then Matthew Quercia scored to make the score 3-2 just over one minute later. Liam Walsh gave Merrimack a two-goal lead back at the 16:25 mark of the period.

“I liked the way we came out,” said BU head coach Albie O’Connell. “We started well. Then we took a dumb penalty, a selfish penalty, and it turned the tide of the game. … They got a goal and had momentum. Then they scored on a turnover off the wall and we’ve talked about managing the puck on the walls.

“I love our team, I love our resolve and I love how we came back when we went down. (Merrimack) played really well. They were hard at their net and we had a lot of chances we didn’t capitalize on. But Merrimack beat us. We didn’t beat ourselves. Merrimack beat us.”

All six goals in the game – with the exception of Merrimack’s empty-net goal by Liam Dennison with 1:28 left – were scored in a span of 6:16 of the first period.

“Our guys played hard,” said Merrimack coach Scott Borek. “We were above the puck for the most part and we played with a lot of confidence.”

Merrimack is now unbeaten in four straight games (3-0-1). The last time that happened was Dec. 2017, a 3-0-1 stretch against Army, UNH, Northeastern, and Denver. The last time Merrimack had an undefeated streak at least this long in Hockey East was Feb. 2017, a 5-0-3 stretch vs. UConn, BC, Maine, BU, and UMass.

The Warriors are now 4-3-2 in their last nine games and moved into eighth place in Hockey East.

“Our team is playing together,” Borek said. “We’ve found our identity and we’re playing to it. We’re playing as a group. As a coach, you want to see that happen.”

The Warriors and Terriers will close out the home-and-home series on Saturday (4 p.m.) at Lawler Rink.

“(BU) is an unbelievable transition team. They might be the best transition team we’ll play against all year. If you play good defense and you stay above the puck it can lead to your own transition and I thought that happened today.”

“(BU) is an unbelievable transition team,” said Borek. “They might be the best transition team we’ll play against all year. If you play good defense and you stay above the puck it can lead to your own transition and I thought that happened today.”

NOTES: Merrimack attempted 43 shots and 38 of them hit the net. … The Warriors outshot BU 38-28. … Merrimack did not dress a single freshman due to positive COVID cases in a freshman dorm this week that kept those players out of practice. … Mick Messner (2 assists) picked up his first career Merrimack points. … Jere Huhtamaa earned his first win of the season, making 26 saves.

Merrimack 5, (8) Boston University 2
at Walter Brown Arena
Merrimack (5-10-2):    4-0-1—5
(8) Boston U (9-3-0):  2-0-0—2
First Period: 1. MC Regan Kimens 3 (Mick Messner, Patrick Kramer), ev, 10:09; 2. MC Declan Carlile 2 (Ryan Nolan, Ben Brar), ev, 10:56; 3. MC Patrick Holway 3 (Mick Messner, Patrick Kramer), ev, 12:20; 4. BU David Farrance 5 (Jay O'Brien), ev, 12:47; 5. BU Matthew Quercia 2 (Alex Vlasic, Nick Zabaneh), ev, 14:18; 6. MC Liam Walsk 6 (Dominic Dockery, Logan Drevitch), ev, 16:25.
Second Period: None.
Third Period: 7. MC Liam Dennison 1 (unassisted), en, 18:32.
Shots: Merrimack 13-9-16—38; Boston U 11-11-6—28
Saves: MC Huhtamaa (2GA) 9-11-6—26; BU Duplessis (3GA) 7-dnp-dnp—7; BU Commesso (1GA) 2-9-15—26
Power Play: Merrimack 0 for 2; Boston U 0 for 1
Penalties: Merrimack 1-2:00; Boston U 2-4:00

Mike McMahon is in his 13th 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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