Discover more from The Mack Report
Penalties prove costly again for Merrimack in series finale at ASU
Merrimack won't come home from Arizona with a win, but head coach Scott Borek hopes they head back to North Andover with some lessons learned.
The Warriors watched a third-period lead slip away after Arizona State scored two power-play goals in the final eight minutes, handing Merrimack a 4-2 defeat last night. ASU beat the Warriors in overtime, 1-0, on Friday.
On the weekend, the Warriors allowed two power-play goals, a 4-on-4 goal, and an empty-net goal. The Warriors outscored the Sun Devils, 2-0, at 5-on-5.
"I really liked our 5-on-5 play," Borek said. "They were one-and-done a lot. I liked our play overall. We had a slower start (than Friday), and I think we got a little tired with back-to-back games on the road and with the travel, so I understand that. But overall I liked our game all weekend. The way we played, I thought we deserved a more positive result, because outside of a few areas I thought we played really well against a really good team."
Despite the two power-play goals for ASU last night, Merrimack's penalty kill was excellent for most of the weekend. It was the number of penalties that caught up with the Warriors. ASU had 14 power plays in two games.
"We can't put ourselves in that situation with the penalties," said Borek. "The guys who played on the PK did a great job. They have a very good power play and they're a good offensive team. We can't give them that many chances on the power play. We need to learn from this and get better there. I like that we have a lot of enthusiasm to play physically, but we need to match that with our discipline. I thought we let that get away from us in this game."
Borek thought his team was the better team at 5-on-5 all weekend.
"We had chances 18-6 (Friday) night," he said. "Tonight, I think we had it 15-7. Once we scored, we lightened up on our sticks and played with more poise. Teams get hot and cold at times in the season, it happens. We had it happen to us at points last season. But we know if we keep generating chances, if we keep playing hard, we'll score plenty of goals. That's where it's important to have a veteran group like we have, who have been around and understand that.
"I've never coached a team as physically willing as this team," Borek said. "We finish checks. We block a ton of shots. I really like the willingless to sacrifice that this group has."
NOTES: For the second night in a row, the Warriors had a player assessed a major penalty and game misconduct. Tyler Young was hit with the penalties in the third period. ... Matt Copponi and Young tied for the Merrimack lead in shots on goal (5). ... Chase Stevenson led the Warriors in faceoffs (14-10). ... This marks the first time the Warriors have started a season 0-2 since 2019.
Arizona State 4, Merrimack 2 at Mullett Arena Merrimack (0-1-0-1): 0-2-0--2 Arizona State (1-0-1-0): 0-1-3--4 First Period: None. Second Period: 1. MC Mark Hillier 1 (Ty Daneault, Mac Welsher), ev, 8:21; 2. ASU Ryan O'Reilly 1 (Brian Chambers, Benji Eckerle), ev, 9:21; 3. MC Matt Copponi 1 (Filip Forsmark, Michael Citara), ev, 15:26. Third Period: 4. ASU Lukas Sillinger 1 (Matthew Kopperud, Brian Chambers), pp, 11:57; 5. ASU Matthew Kopperud 2 (Tim Lovell, Brian Chambers), pp, 19:15; 6. ASU Alex Young 1 (Tyler Gratton, Ty Murchison), en, 19:36. Shots: MC 11-14-7--32; ASU 5-10-16--31 Saves: MC Ollas (59:34) 27/30; ASU Semptimphelter (60:00) 30/32 Power Play: MC 0 for 5; ASU 2 for 7 Penalties: MC 8-27:00; ASU 6-12:00 Faceoffs: MC 29, ASU 32 Attendance, 4,569 (5,000)