NORTH ANDOVER, MA - The Merrimack hockey team was defeated on Friday night in front of the home crowd of 2,227 people at Lawler Arena in overtime by the score of 3-2.
Merrimack (4-7-2, 3-4-1 HEA) and Providence will wrap up their home and home series tomorrow in Providence, RI for a 7:00 p.m. start.
The Friars ended the game with 37.6 seconds remaining in the overtime frame after the loose puck found the stick of senior Tim Schaller to the left of Merrimack goaltender Sam Marotta (Bridgewater, Mass.) and he beat the junior over the glove for the game-winner.
The loss marks the first overtime home loss for the Warriors at Lawler Arena since Halloween night in 2008 as Merrimack was defeated by Boston College.
The Warriors escaped falling behind early on after taking back-to-back penalties to open the first period but the Friars got on the board shortly after their second power play chance. At 9:28 of the period, Noel Acciari found a rebound in front of the Merrimack goal and buried the puck behind a sprawling Marotta. Drew Brown picked up the lone assist on Acciari's third goal of the season.
Merrimack responded quickly with the tying goal as Rhett Bly (Regina, SK) recorded his third goal of the season after a point shot from Tom McCarthy (Maple Grove, MN) was blocked in front of the Friars net. Bly found the loose puck and slid it five-hole for the Warriors opening goal of the contest with 7:01 remaining in the first period.
Midway through the second period, senior Kyle Bigos (Upland, Calif.) was called for a five minute major for contact to the head and was assessed a game misconduct which the Friars took advantage of with a power play goal from Drew Brown, taking the 2-1 advantage.
The Warriors failed on a two-man advantage at the end of the second period but they tied the game up real early in the third on the power play as Connor Toomey (Billerica, Mass.) took a Mike Collins (Boston, Mass.) feed and beat Jon Gillies over his glove, knotting the score at two. Kyle Singleton (Beaverton, OR) picked up his fourth assist of the season on the play while Collins recorded his team-high 9th assist.
Captain Jordan Heywood (Regina, SK) led the Warriors with six shots on goal while leading scorer, Collins, finished with five shots on goal.
The game saw a total of 15 penalties with Merrimack going 1-8 in their opportunities and the Friars finishing going 1-7 with 10 shots on Marotta.
Marotta finished the game with 24 saves in the loss while his counterpart Gillies recorded 25 saves as he improved to 7-5-1 on the season.
The Friars hold the 3-1 series advantage over the past two seasons with the Warriors including two overtime victories.