|1st||5:02||MIN||1-0||EV||Michael Brodzinski (2)||A.J. Michaelson/1, Seth Ambroz/4|
|1st||14:59||MER||1-1||EV||Hampus Gustafsson (5)||Aaron Titcomb/1|
|2nd||5:03||MER||2-1||EV||Jace Hennig (6)||Ben Bahe/5|
|2nd||13:17||MER||3-1||EV GW||Brett Seney (7)||Chris LeBlanc/1, Marc Biega/5|
|3rd||8:50||MIN||2-3||EV||Connor Reilly (8)||Kyle Rau/12, Mike Reilly/15|
|Shots on Goal||1st||2nd||3rd||SOG|
|Team Stats and Records||PP||PIM||SHGF|
|Rasmus Tirronen (W, 8-2-1)||60:00||2||9||13||18||40|
|Adam Wilcox (L, 9-5-1)||58:46||3||4||5||5||14|
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. - Hampus Gustafsson, Jace Hennig and Brett Seney each scored a goal and Rasmus Tirronen stopped 40 shots as Merrimack College defeated Minnesota, 3-2, on Friday night at Mariucci Arena.
Playing Minnesota for only the second time in program history, Merrimack dug itself out of an early deficit thanks to three uninterrupted tallies - including two markers in the second period - to build a two-goal lead (3-1).
Sophomore Hampus Gustafsson (Ljungby, Sweden) drew the Warriors even late in the first period before freshmen Jace Hennig (Port Moody, British Columbia) and Brett Seney (London, Ontario) lit the lamp eight minutes apart to push the Navy and Gold in front by two after 40 minutes.
Minnesota controlled most of the territorial battle and threw 19 shots on net over the final 20 minutes, but Tirronen was remarkable, stopping all but one of them to finish with a career-high 40 stops to earn Merrimack's first road win against a ranked team since downing No. 5 Union on Oct. 6, 2012.
Minnesota goaltender Adam Wilcox finished with 14 saves for the hosts while falling to 9-5-1 on the year, while Tirronen's efforts pushed him 8-2-1 on the year to remain ninth nationally in winning percentage (.773).
After controlling the opening few minutes, Minnesota struck at 5:02 of the first period after Michael Brodzinski snuck a wrister from above the right circle through traffic to put the Gohphers up a goal early.
But as the first frame progressed, Merrimack gathered its legs against the home side and drew even thanks to a gutsy effort by Gustafsson. The sophomore center took a feed from rookie Aaron Titcomb (Charlestown, Mass.) and barreled his way through Minnesota forward Justin Kloos, who was forced to grab hold of Gustafsson and force a penalty. The latter would not be stopped, using a one-handed deke while being dragged down from behind to sneak it by Wilcox to draw the Warriors even at the 14:59 mark of the first.
Merrimack would go to the power play afterward but would not capitalize, and shortly after the Gophers returned to full strength, Tirronen kept the game tied with an eye-popping save, robbing a goal thanks to a sprawling effort that denied a second-chance shot with the glove.
The Gophers would get a late power-play chance with 18 seconds to go in the first, but that didn't materialize into much of a scoring threat as the second period started. After a Merrimack power play early in the frame, the Warriors took the lead after junior Ben Bahe (Stillwater, Minn.) picked off an errant Minnesota breakout pass, fed it to Hennig, and the latter tickled the twine for his sixth time this season on a shot that beat Wilcox low blocker side at 5:03.
Five minutes later, a Merrimack penalty put the Gophers on the power play for the second time of the night, but the Warriors' penalty kill came up big again. That would set up Seney's huge insurance marker; the rookie sensation took a feed from sophomore Chris LeBlanc (Winthrop, Mass.), deked around a Minnesota defenseman and then used another nifty move on Wilcox before tucking in his seventh goal of the year at 13:17 to make it a 3-1 lead. Classmate Marc Biega (Pointe-Claire, Quebec) also assisted on the play.
Minnesota would enjoy back-to-back power plays over the following four minutes, but Merrimack's penalty kill turned the Gophers away each time before heading into the locker room with a two-goal lead after 40 minutes despite being outshot by a 23-12 margin.
The Gophers stormed out of the gate in the third, pouring eight on net over the first seven minutes of the period and that pressure eventually led to a Minnesota goal, as Connor Reilly slapped home a one-timer to make it a one-goal (3-2) game with 11:10 to go.
But that would be the closest the hosts would get, as the Warriors survived the late onslaught thanks in part to Tirronen's heroics, who ended the game with a career-high 40 stops to punch Merrimack's ticket to the Mariucci Classic Championship.