|1st||16:07||MNE||1-0||EV||Mark Hamilton (1)||Brady Campbell/1, Stu Higgins/3|
|1st||16:56||MNE||2-0||EV||Ben Hutton (6)||Steven Swavely/13, Brian Morgan/5|
|2nd||4:58||MNE||3-0||EV||Devin Shore (11)||Dan Renouf/5, Nolan Vesey/10|
|2nd||5:35||MER||1-3||EV||John Gustafsson (2)||-|
|2nd||9:44||MER||2-3||EV||Jace Hennig (9)||Brett Seney/14|
|2nd||16:23||MNE||4-2||EV GW||Will Merchant (4)||Devin Shore/17, Nolan Vesey/11|
|3rd||19:43||MER||3-4||EV EA||Brian Christie (10)||Marc Biega/7, Ben Bahe/8|
|Shots on Goal||1st||2nd||3rd||SOG|
|Team Stats and Records||PP||PIM||SHGF|
|Matt Morris (W, 5-7-2)||60:00||3||11||5||10||26|
|Rasmus Tirronen (L, 10-8-2)||59:06||4||7||12||10||29|
NO. ANDOVER, Mass. - After spotting the University of Maine a 3-0 lead early in the second period, the Merrimack College men's ice hockey team was forced to play catch-up and got to within one late in regulation, but that would be it, as the Warriors dropped a 4-3 decision to the Black Bears in the first round of the two sides' weekend series on Friday night at Lawler Rink.
Playing at Maine at home for the first time since January of 2013, Merrimack watched as the Black Bears built a quick 2-0 lead late in the first and tacked on a third early in the third before the Warriors got on the board, using back-to-back goals to make it a one-goal affair before Maine added insurance towards the end of the second.
Mark Hamilton lit the lamp for the visitors at 16:07 quickly after a faceoff win, and less than 50 seconds later, Ben Hutton buried a rebound at 16:56 to make it 2-0.
The start to the second the Black Bears triple their advantage on an unlucky bounce; while in the defensive zone, Merrimack appeared to be in the midst of a breakout before Nolan Vesey whacked the puck off a Warrior skater's stick, and Dan Renouf thread a feed to an open Devin Shore who was all alone on senior Rasmus Tirronen (Espoo, Finland) and put it home to make it 3-0.
Less than a minute later, Merrimack caught a break of its own after junior John Gustafsson (Ljungby, Sweden) came up with a loose puck and sniped over the glove of Maine netminder Matt Morris to make it a 3-1 affair, and four minutes later, freshman Jace Hennig (Port Moody, British Columbia) jammed in a bouncing puck near the crease to get the hosts to within one, but later in the frame, Maine's Will Merchant tallied the game-winner on a tick-tack-toe passing play from Shore and Vesey, upping the Black Bear lead to 4-1 at 16:23.
Merrimack was forced to kill four consecutive penalties in the third frame - and six overall after starting the game with two power plays in the first - preventing the hosts from establishing any prolonged offensive pressure in the final stanza.
Still, after turning away a 5-on-3 opportunity late in regulation, Tirronen head to the net for the extra attacker and the move paid dividends, as junior Ben Bahe (West Chester, Pa.) buried his own rebound with just over 17 ticks left on the clock to get the Warriors to within one.
That, unfortunately, was the closest the hosts would get, as Maine ran out the clock from there to take the opening round of the two-game weekend series.
Merrimack and Maine conclude their season and weekend series tomorrow night back at Lawler Rink. Puck drop is set for 4 p.m., and prior to puck drop, the seven-member Class of 2015 will be honored in a special Senior Day ceremony.