Merrimack can't find its game in loss to BC

NORTH ANDOVER — For the first time in nine games, Merrimack looked overpowered and outmatched.

Boston College scored less than two minutes into the first period, and aside from a stretch of 10 minutes late in the game, cruised to a 4-1 win over the Warriors on Friday night at Lawler Arena.

"It was men against boys, and we were the boys," said Merrimack head coach Scott Borek. "This was disappointing because we were playing good hockey as of late.

"We were never able to put two or three shifts together. We'd have one line go out and get going, but then the next line we wouldn't be able to generate anything. You can't be one-and-done in the offensive zone."

The Warriors couldn't have had a worse start. BC winger Mike Posma scored at the 1:43 mark of the opening period to put the Warriors on their heels just three shifts into the game. 

Things went from bad to worse with 35 seconds left in the period when Drew Helleson's shot from the point made its way through traffic and beat Zach Borgiel, which made the score 2-0 at the first intermission.

"They came after us physically," Borek said. "They controlled us physically. That was the difference in the game. They were so aggressive physically and they were hard to defend. We played slow, we played long. Their first two goals were easy goals. You can't play Boston College and give them easy goals."

The Warriors followed that up with their worst puck-possession period of the season. There was no scoring in the second period, but BC outshot the Warriors 20-2 and attempts were 34-6 BC in the second 20 minutes. 

"They had some power plays," Borek said. "We don't score on a 5-on-3 power play. Then we just didn't attack at all in the second period. We allowed them to come at us. We turned pucks over. You can't do that. We only made them play 100 feet to go on offense in the second period. You're in trouble when you do that."

Trailing by two goals in the third period, the Warriors had a power play at the 5:16 mark when Nikita Nesterenko was called for tripping. Just as the penalty expired, the Warriors turned the puck over on a breakout just a few feet in front of Borgiel's crease and it led to an abbreviated 2-on-0 chance for the Eagles, which they converted to take a 3-0 lead.

But the last 10 minutes of the game, the Warriors had a spark. They showed signs of life and looked like the team that beat BU two weeks ago and played two tight games with UMass just last weekend. Mac Welsher scored on a turnaround chance off a rebound in the slot to make it 3-1. 

"When we made it 3-1 I really thought we were going to make it 3-2," Borek said. "We were playing better at that point. We were playing harder. We had a power play and it was because we were playing hard and had a guy get taken down.

"But even in the third, we were making the extra pass when BC played a simpler game and put pucks on net. They played a much simpler game. They played downhill and on the attack and they put pucks on net, and had guys get rebounds. We would make an extra pass and maybe not get a shot on net. Even in the second period, we'd have some zone time but we didn't get pucks on net and it just came back at us. That's disappointing."

Merrimack and BC close out the home-and-home series on Saturday afternoon (4 p.m.) at Conte Forum.

Boston College 4, Merrimack 1
at Lawler Arena
Boston College (5-2-0-1): 2-0-2—4
Merrimack College (3-4-0-2): 0-0-1—1
First Period: 1. BC Mike Posma (Justin Wells), ev, 1:43; 2. BC Drew Helleson (Jack St. Ivany, Brandon Kruse), pp, 19:25.
Second Period: None.
Third Period: 4. MC Mac Welsher (Jake Durflinger), ev, 15:09; 5. BC Patrick Giles (Marc McLaughlin), sh/en, 18:54.
Shots: Merrimack 11-2-11—24; Boston College 11-20-4—35
Saves: MC Borgiel (59:09) 31 of 34; BC Dop (60:00) 23 of 24
Power Play: Merrimack 0 for 4 (3 shots); BC 1 for 4 (9 shots)
Penalties: Merrimack 6-12:00; BC 7-14:00
Attendance: 2,314 (2,549)

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