Daneault scores twices as Merrimack survives a scare against Stonehill
NORTH ANDOVER — The Warriors survived.
It wasn't pretty, and it sure as heck wasn't easy, but Merrimack pulled out a 3-2 win over Stonehill on Sunday at Lawler Arena. The Skyhawks, who are in their second year as a D-I program, are still searching for their first D-I win.
They came close against the Warriors.
If not for a massive save by Zachary Borgiel (while Merrimack was on the power play) with about nine minutes left in the game, the teams could have gone to overtime.
"It was good to get the W," Merrimack coach Scott Borek said. "Wins are always hard to come by and they made it very difficult."
Merrimack outshot Stonehill 16-6 in the first period, but the teams headed into the first intermission 0-0. The Skyhawks nearly headed to the dressing room with an early lead after they hit a post with about four minutes left in the opening frame.
"We are working really hard to be the best team we can be, and I don't mean on the ice. I mean as a group," Borek said. "I thought we over passed in the first period. We didn't shoot pucks enough because we were trying to make plays that maybe weren't as available as we thought they were. But again, I credit Stonehill. They played hard."
The Warriors have struggled in first periods this season. It's the only period they've been outscored (11-13); Merrimack has outscored opponents 45-35 in the second and third periods combined.
"We knew if we didn't get out in front, they would get better and better and they did," said Borek. "They pushed our game. The narrative is more about them. They pushed us; they played hard."
Daneault finds the next twice
Ty Daneault scored twice for the Warriors, bringing his season total to six goals and 11 points.
There are still 16 games left in the regular season, and Daneault has the most points by a Merrimack freshman forward since Regan Kimens had 14 points in 2019-20. Alex Jefferies had 10 points in a COVID-shortened 2020-21 season.
"Confidence is a big thing," he said. "Especially for a player like me. I just want to keep it rolling."
Playing with Mark Hillier and Ben Brar has helped him elevate his game.
“It’s easy playing with those guys,” he said. “They’re always finding a way to get to the right spots. We all support each other. It’s been great playing with them and I’m learning a lot.”
Since Nov. 18 against UMass Lowell, Daneault (who just celebrated his 19th birthday) has six goals and three assists in eight games.
"He's getting chances and finishing them," Borek said. "That's the thing, sometimes guys get those chances but they aren't able to score and he's been doing a great job of finishing his chances.
"Everyone on the team has a lot of confidence when he's shooting the puck. I'm excited to watch him keep growing, because he's doing to be a dynamite player moving forward."
NOTES: Merrimack had one of its worst night on the faceoff dot, winning just 37.5 percent of the draws (21 for 56). ... Shot attempts were 71-41 Merrimack.
NEXT: The Warriors will hit the road on Tuesday night to face Holy Cross at the Hart Center in Worcester.