Ed. Note — This story will appear in Sunday’s edition of The Eagle Tribune …
NORTH ANDOVER — On back-to-back nights, the Merrimack men’s hockey game erased multi-goal deficits in the third period to earn points against Vermont at Lawler Arena.
On Friday night the Warriors came back from 4-1 down to tie the Catamounts and last night the Warriors trailed by two goals in the third period before they scored twice in the final six minutes and then Mac Welsher won the game in overtime.
On the overtime winner, sophomore winger Logan Drevitch — who scored the game-tying goal with 9.7 seconds left — kept the puck in at the blue line and got it deep behind the Vermont net. There, Chase Gresock collected it and worked it in front for a one-timer by Welsher.
“One of their players threw it up and Logan did a great job reloading to the middle of the ice,” Welsher said. “He threw it down to Chase (Gresock) and I was already going to the net. No one followed me there, basically. I was just screaming at the top of my lungs for (Gresock) to throw it out front. He hit me right on the tape.”
Drevitch scored the game-tying goal with 9.7 seconds left, just four seconds after a power play expired. Tyler Irvine drew the penalty after looking to the middle and then driving wide, giving UVM defender Andrew Petrillo no choice but to haul him down to the ice.
“That was such a huge play,” Merrimack head coach Scott Borek said. “(Irvine) drives wide and then to the middle and the kid had no choice but to hold him. It was such an unselfish play by him to draw that penalty; it was a huge play.
“I don’t know if we played 6-on-4 at all last year and we’ve been doing it a lot lately. There’s not a lot of coaching at that point, honestly. The guys are just confident and they know where to go to get to the right places on the ice. We moved the puck really well and kept possession and we turned that into a goal that we desperately needed.”
Borek praised his seniors for the weekend. Irvine finished the weekend with four points (1 goal, 3 assists), Sami Tavernier finished the weekend with three points (1 goal, 2 assists).
“Our seniors were great all weekend,” Borek said. “They were playing hard and they were playing the right way all weekend. When we needed them to, all three of those guys — Sami, T.I. and Tyler Drevitch — they set the tone for us.”
This marks three games in a row where the Warriors have had third-period surges. Last Saturday night Merrimack trailed UMass Lowell 6-1 in the third before scoring three goals late in a 6-4 loss. Friday night the Warriors erased a three-goal deficit and then on Saturday came back from two goals down.
“A lot of guys are picking up confidence in the room right now,” Welsher said. “I think that will lead to more goals. … We know we’re making a run for the playoffs. We wanted this (game) and needed it for our season. We played desperate in the third.”
NOTES: Welsher led the Warriors with six shots on goal. … Merrimack’s penalty kill unit held Vermont to 0 for 5 on the night, and allowed just one shot on goal. … Vermont is now winless in its last 20 HEA games (0-17-3). While I’m not positive, the longest winless streak in HEA history (league games) has to be Merrimack from 2004-05 (into 2005-06). That winless streak was 25 games (0-24-1).
NEXT: Merrimack travels to Maine on Friday night to begin a two-game series on the road against the Black Bears. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
Merrimack 4, Vermont 3 (OT)
at Lawler Arena
Vermont (3-16-4): 1-2-0-0—3
Merrimack (6-16-3): 1-0-2-1—4
First Period: 1. MC Sami Tavernier 5 (Ben Brar, Tyler Irvine), 7:04 (ev); 2. UVM Carter Long 1 (Matt Alvaro, Andrew Lucas), 14:11 (ev).
Second Period: 3. UVM Bryce Misley 2 (Dallas Comeau), 12:22 (ev); 4. UMV Thomas Beretta 2 (Max Kaufman, Matt O’Donnell), 15:14 (ev).
Third Period: 5. MC Mac Welsher 4 (Patrick Holway, Zach Vinnell), 13:54 (pp); 6. MC Logan Drevitch 6 (Declan Carlile, Tyler Irvine), 19:50 (ex).
7. MC Mac Welsher 5 (Chase Gresock, Logan Drevitch), 3:31 (ev).
Shots: Merrimack 10-6-10-2—28; Vermont 6-13-3-1—4
Saves: MC Kobryn (61:28) 5-11-3-1-—20; UVM Lekkas (63:04) 9-6-8-1—24
Power Play: Merrimack 1 for 5 (6 shots); Vermont 0 for 5 (1 shot)
Penalties: Merrimack 8-16:00; Vermont 8-16:00