NORTH ANDOVER, MA - The #17 Merrimack hockey team was defeated on Sunday afternoon by the #4 Boston College Eagles by the score of 2-1 in overtime as Quinn Smith scored the game-winning goal with 2:37 remaining in the extra period in front of a sold out Lawler Arena.
Merrimack now sits in fourth place in the Hockey East standing with 27 points with one game-in-hand on Providence and University of New Hampshire who are tied for first place. Boston College also moved up into a tie for first place with 28 points on the year.
#17 Merrimack (14-11-5, 12-7-2 HEA) will return to action on Tuesday night as they will travel to take on Boston University at Agganis Arena at 7:00 p.m.
Boston College scored the game-winning goal just 2:23 into the extra frame as Patrick Brown skated in wide across the Warriors blue line and fired a quick low shot on Sam Marotta (Bridgewater, Mass.) which was originally saved but the rebound found the stick of the wide open Quinn Smith in the slot for the goal.
The lone Merrimack goal came just six minutes after the Eagles took the early 1-0 lead in the first period as Shawn Bates (Ft. Saskatechewan, AB) scored his sixth goal of the season, giving him seven points in his last five contests. Bates tied the score at 1-1 with 7:17 remaining in the period as he found the loose puck on the edge of the crease and slid it through the legs of a sprawled out Parker Milner with the assists going to Ben Bahe (Stillwater, MN) and Vinny Scotti (Vineland, NJ).
The Eagles got on the board first in the opening period as Steven Whitney took a pass from Bill Arnold and skated in over the line and took a quick wrist shot that beat Marotta over his glove at the 6:32 mark of the period.
Merrimack dominated the opening 20 minutes of play as they went 1-for-3 on their power play opportunities and outshot the Eagles 20-7.
The two teams went back-and-forth in the second period with no team able to break through with the game changing goal. The Warriors held the slim 11-9 lead in shots during the second 20 minutes of action.
The Eagles nearly broke through with their second goal of the night as Johnny Gaudreau fed a nice pass to a streaking Danny Linell on a 2 on 1 break but Marotta slid across and made a big glove save to keep the game knotted. Just over two minutes later, Merrimack almost scored their second goal as Josh Myers (Colorado Springs, CO) stole a pass and went in alone on Milner but his shot was saved with the rebound finding Bates' stick but his rebound attempt was saved into the netting.
The Warriors had their best chance to score the game-winning goal at the 10:52 mark of the final period as the Warriors found themselves with a two-man advantage for over a minute. The Warriors could not beat Milner on their four shots as the Eagles killed of the crucial two-man penalty kill. Marotta made sure the game did not end in regulation as with 7:40 remaining in the period he made a diving save with his stick as Brooks Dyroff had the whole net to shoot at.
Merrimack outshot the Eagles 2-1 in the overtime session but Smith was able to bury the rebound goal to give the Eagles the big road victory at Lawler Arena, only their second win at Lawler in their last seven games.
Marotta played well in net making 26 saves in the loss while Milner picked up his 18th win of the season as he made 43 saves.
For the game, Merrimack outshot Boston College 44-28 including on the power play, 15-1. Merrimack finished the game going 1-for-4 on their power play opportunities with 15 shots on goal while the Eagles finished 0-for-1 on their power play chance.