Merrimack comes from behind to beat No. 16 BU
NORTH ANDOVER — A late second-period goal from Jake Durflinger tied the game and a third-period goal from freshman Adam Arvedson was the game-winner and lifted Merrimack past No. 16 Boston University, 3-2, on Friday night at Lawler Arena.
"It was a hard-fought game," said Merrimack head coach Scott Borek. "I thought we played well enough to win the game. We stayed on it when we got down (in the second period). That's two weeks in a row where we've (come from behind) to win a game. That will pay dividends."
BU entered the weekend series converting more than 30 percent of their power-play opportunities, but the Warriors limited BU to just 1 for 5 on the man advantage Friday night. BU had just three shots on goal on its five power-play chances (almost 10 minutes).
"Coach (Dan) Jewell had them prepared," Borek said. "We were in a lot of shot lanes and they move a lot. Our guys need to work hard as a unit with their movement. I thought we did a good job of that. Then on their shots, we did a good job of collapsing.
"(BU) is not a team you want to give five chances to on the power play. We were fortunate in those situations."
Durflinger's goal was his first as a Warrior after he played four seasons at Denver. Arvedson's goal in the third, which was the game-winner, was his first collegiate goal. Matt Copponi picked up his first collegiate point on the primary assist.
Durflinger’s goal started with the Warriors making a play in the defensive zone. The puck came to the neutral zone and both of BU’s defenders collided which allowed Durflinger to scoop up the loose puck and break in alone on goaltender Drew Commesso.
"We had good structure in the D zone," Durflinger said. "Jandric made a good play to the middle, they had two D step to him, and the rest was easy for me, I was on a breakaway .... I kinda of got slashed and saw (Drew Commesso's) glove drop."
BU defenseman Case McCarthy slashed Durflinger on his way to the net, which put the Warriors on the power play after the goal.
“I didn’t like taking that penalty,” said BU coach Albie O’Connell. “If you can’t stop a guy on a breakaway, why would you even touch him? I thought that was a stupid penalty.”
Late in the third period, especially after getting the lead, Borek opted to roll out Durflinger's line with Mac Welsher and Steven Jandric what felt like every other shift to grind out the game's final few minutes
"Mac has been a good player since he got here," Borek said. "He competes very hard. You add Jandric to that line and he's played wonerful there. Durf competes so hard. They out-compete teams. I figured, if we're going to be tired, I'd rather have the guys out there that I know will compete until their legs fall off, and those three guys would do that."
Arvedson said that Friday's crowd, which was packed with students and announced as a near sell-out (2,174) was the biggest crowd he had played in front of.
"It's a big win for our team," said the freshman D from Sweden. "The crowd was unbelievable. I've never been part of a game like that. It was a lot of fun.
"(My goal) happened really fast. I just saw it floating in there and what a feeling. Looking up in that crowd and seeing everyone going crazy ... it was a nice feeling."
The Warriors will get back to work, and will look for the weekend sweep, on Saturday night at Agganis Arena.
Merrimack improved to 3-2 on the season while the Terriers fell to 2-3.
“It’s a tough loss,” O’Connell said. “They scored one more goal than us. We had many opportunities to shoot the puck and we passed up on them. They threw everything they could to the net. … Merrimack was the better team. We were borderline inept at the offensive blue line. We had a 3-on-1 and a 2-on-1 in the first period and we didn’t even think about shooting. It’s not good enough. … (Wilmer) Skoog walks down broadway at the end, we had a 4-on-2 rush, and he passed it. It’s mind-numbing. Especially down a goal. I’m frustrated with our lack of attack and our lack of want to score and drive to score.”
Ollas out for the weekend
Freshman goaltender Hugo Ollas did not dress on Friday night. Borek said in the postgame that Ollas was sick and he was hoping to have him back next week.
"He's probably out for the weekend," Borek said. "Hopefully he'll be back soon."
Borek, on the atmosphere Friday night at Lawler Arena ...
"It was fun to have people in the house. The band, those guys played their tails off. The band here is really, really good. How can you not have fun? It was a hell of a hockey game, you have the band rocking out between periods. I wanted to come out here between periods.
"When Merrimack gets that kind of spirit behind it, this is a really fun building. I think this is the best building in the league when it's full and we have a crodw like we had tonight. This is the hardest place to paly in the league when it's like that."
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Merrimack 3, #16 Boston University 2 at Lawler Arena Boston University (2-3-0): 1-1-0—2 Merrimack College (3-2-0): 1-1-1—3 First Period: 1. MC Alex Jefferies 1 (Max Newton), ev, 9:14; 2. BU Wilmer Skoog 2 (Domenick Fensmore, Ethan Phillips), pp, 13:56. Second Period: 3. BU Wilmer Skoog 3 (Ethan Phillips), ev, 16:00; 4. MC Jake Durflinger 1 (Steve Jandric), ev, 18:41. Third Period: 5. MC Adam Arvedson 1 (Matt Copponi, Zach Uens), ev, 6:31. Shots: Merrimack 5-18-8—31; BU 6-8-6—20 Saves: MC Borgiel (59:23) 18/20; BU Commesso (58:11) 28/31 Power Play: Merrimack 0 for 3; BU 1 for 5 Faceoffs: 38-25 Merrimack