Keeping it simple provides top results for Merrimack trio
NORTH ANDOVER — When you looked at Merrimack’s line chart on Friday night, the trio of Mick Messner, Ryan Leibold, and Jordan Seyfert was listed fourth among the forward group.
Just don’t tell them that.
Fourth lines are often tasked with bringing energy and strong play on the defensive side of the puck. Messner, Leibold, and Seyfert check all those boxes.
On Friday night, they also provided the offense.
The line accounted for three of Merrimack’s four goals in a 4-1 win over No. 5 Boston University at Lawler Arena. Messner scored two goals, Seyfert had a goal and an assist, and Leibold had a pair of assists.
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“We love playing with each other and we just stick to our simple identity which helps us play through pretty much anything,” Messner said. “We're all high-energy guys. We try to keep it simple, just chip pucks out, and get pucks deep. I know that’s all the cliche stuff, but in reality, that's what works right?”
Messner’s first goal helped give the Warriors necessary breathing room. The Terriers poured on the pressure in the third period (they outshot the Warriors 17-4) but Messner’s goal at the 3:01 mark of the period gave the Warriors a 3-0 lead.
BU would ultimately cut that lead to 3-1 on a power-play goal, which made Messner’s goal — scored on a 2-on-1 with Seyfert — that more important.
“(Seyfert) is so fast, I knew if I was able to get to the back post he’d be around his man and he could get me the puck,” Messner said.
Added Seyfert: “He was working so hard to get on that guy. He totally outmuscled his man and got to the back post.
“We really love playing together, all three of us. We know the way that we need to play. I think if we continue to play that way, we’ll go a long way.”
Friday’s win over BU was a crucial breath of fresh air. The Warriors had a bye week last weekend and had lost three straight overtime games heading into the bye.
“It’s huge,” Seyfert said. “They are one of the top teams in the country with a lot of skill but we can beat those teams — we can beat anyone — if we just come out and play the way that we need to play. Tonight we played hard, we played heavy. If we can get that every night we’ll have success.”
With just over one minute left in the game the Warriors had a defensive zone faceoff and BU pulled goalie Drew Commesso for the extra attacker. Of all the combinations, which one do you think Merrimack coach Scott Borek chose to send out?
It was the “fourth” line.
“I just thought they played really simple hockey you know, and when you play simple hockey it allows you to play faster,” Borek said. “None of those guys have really been in a situation where they have been out there 5-on-6 for us, but I just felt they deserved the opportunity to get through that situation.”
Big win and a team effort. Borgiel was great all night. Hope the momentum carries over tonight.