|1st||13:48||MER||1-0||PP||Justin Hussar (2)||Marc Biega/8, Jace Hennig/6|
|2nd||18:10||MER||2-0||EV||Jace Hennig (11)||Jonathan Lashyn/10, Mathieu Tibbet/8|
|3rd||4:07||NOE||1-2||EV||Zach Aston-Reese (12)||Mike Szmatula/16, Matt Benning/23|
|3rd||9:46||NOE||2-2||PP||Mike McMurtry (5)||Kevin Roy/25, Matt Benning/24|
|OT||2:24||MER||3-2||SH GW||Kyle Singleton (1)||Justin Mansfield/5|
|Shots on Goal||1st||2nd||3rd||OT||SOG|
|Team Stats and Records||PP||PIM||SHGF|
|Rasmus Tirronen (W, 11-12-3)||62:24||2||11||8||16||1||36|
|Clay Witt (L, 11-9-2)||62:24||3||7||9||10||0||26|
BOSTON, Mass. - After the Northeastern men's ice hockey team (16-15-4) battled back from a two-goal deficit in the third period to force overtime, a shorthanded tally from Kyle Singleton just 2:34 into the extra frame sent Merrimack (15-16-4) to a 3-2 victory in Game One of the Hockey East First Round series on Friday night.
Matt Benning nearly ended the game for the Huskies moments prior to the Singleton tally when Benning's shot from the slot caught the left post, allowing the Warriors to transition up ice while down a man. Singleton then picked the top right corner from atop the right face-off dot for the game-winner.
Zach Aston-Reese and Mike McMurtry both scored for the Huskies, who trailed 2-0 through 40 minutes before firing 18 third period shots on MC goaltender Rasmus Tirronen (36 saves). Clay Witt had 26 saves in net for Northeastern, which outshot Merrimack 38-29 in the game. NU also had eight chances on the power play, including more than eight minutes in the first period alone, converting on one in the third period.
Momentum swung in favor of the Huskies right from the opening puck drop as NU was awarded nine minutes of power play time through the first 10 minutes of the frame, Merrimack, the league's top penalty killing squad, buckled down and weathered the storm to limit Northeastern to block four shots and limit NU to six shots on goal. The Huskies' best chance on the man advantage came on a shot from Matt Benning at the point that was redirected by Mike McMurtry, but Tirronen was there to gobble it up.
Merrimack began to tilt the ice after the penalty kills, and drew first blood with 6:12 left in the period when Justin Hussar buried his second of the season, taking a pass from Marc Biega and snapping a shot short side for a 1-0 Merrimack lead.
The teams traded chances in the second period, with the Warriors holding a 10-8 edge in shots on goal before adding a late tally to give them a 2-0 lead through 40 minutes of play. John Stevens nearly knotted the game at one with 12:28 to go in the frame when he controlled the puck behind the cage before trying a wraparound that Tirronen swiped away. Minutes later, Dax Lauwers fired a low shot towards the net in hopes of getting a tip from a teammate, but Merrimack was able to clear.
The Warriors extended their lead to two with 1:50 remaining in the period when Jace Henning redirected a Jonathan Lashyn shot from the point that snuck past Witt for Henning's 11th of the year.
Nolan Stevens nearly cut into the deficit in the opening moments of the third period when he tried to whip a backhand off the right post, but the bid went just wide. At the other end, Witt came up with a huge stop on Hussar in the slot before Vinny Scotti ripped a shot off the crossbar later in the shift.
NU peppered the Warriors with 18 shots in the third period, and the Huskies made it a one-goal game with 15:53 left in regulation when they flew up the ice in transition during four-on-four play, culminating with an Aston-Reese wrister into the top right corner for his 12th of the season.
With Merrimack in the box for interference, Northeastern converted on its sixth power play of the evening when McMurtry tucked home a loose puck after a Kevin Roy shot from the right side, beating Tirronen for his fifth goal of the year.
Each netminder kept the game deadlocked during penalty kill opportunities following the McMurtry goal, including a pair of big stops from Witt with Aston-Reese in the box for a hook to send the game into overtime.
Merrimack wasted little time in ending the game in overtime despite being shorthanded. After John Gustafsson was whistled for tripping just 67 seconds into the extra session, Matt Benning's blast from the point hit the left post square, sending the Warriors in transition. Singleton scooped up a pass from Justin Mansfield and sped down the right side of the ice for firing a dart up and over the left shoulder of Witt for the game-winner and Singleton's first goal of the season.
The teams will meet again tomorrow afternoon in Game Two at Matthews Arena. Puck drop is slated for 4 p.m. and the game will be aired live on NESN.