|3rd||9:57||MER||1-0||EV GW||Brian Christie (4)||Craig Wyszomirski/1|
|Shots on Goal||1st||2nd||3rd||SOG|
|Team Stats and Records||PP||PIM||SHGF|
|Jon Gillies (L, 3-4-1)||59:10||1||12||15||6||33|
|Rasmus Tirronen (W, 6-1-1)||59:46||0||8||8||6||22|
NO. ANDOVER, Mass. - With no score and 10 minutes to play, junior Brian Christie (West Chester, Pa.) sniped home the game's only goal and the defense held on the rest of the way, as the Merrimack College men's ice hockey team skated past No. 12/10 Providence College, 1-0, in an electric Hockey East tilt on Saturday night at Lawler Rink.
Playing in what felt like a postseason showdown against the team it's played most frequently since the program's inception, Merrimack held an 11-shot (27-16) advantage through 40 minutes and maintained the pace of play through 10 minutes of the third but had nothing to show on the scoreboard.
After a player from each side was booked at 9:08 for matching penalties, play opened up with a 4-on-4 opportunity at stake. Perhaps because of that, junior defenseman and former Friar Craig Wyszomirski (Mahwah, N.J.) intercepted the puck in the neutral zone and had room to skate into the Providence zone, down the left half wall and around the net.
Waiting for him in the slot was Christie, and Wyszomirski's pass was a perfect one, as the West Chester, Pennsylvania, native unloaded a wrister that beat All-American goaltender Jon Gillies over the glove to set the crowd on fire, giving the home side a 1-0 lead with 10 minutes to play.
Providence kept Merrimack pinned in its own zone over the ensuing five minutes until one of the key moments of the night came with less than five to go; senior Kyle Singleton (Beaverton, Ore.) was booked for a checking from behind major and was shown the gate on a game misconduct, awarding the Friars an extended power play on the major.
But Merrimack's penalty kill, which entered the game tied for seventh nationally, stood tall, and less than two minutes into the sequence, junior Ben Bahe (Stillwater, Minn.) won a loose puck at his own blue line and raced in on Gillies 1-on-1. His breakaway shot was saved, but more importantly, the junior forward drew a penalty against Providence to temporarily negate the Friars' man advantage.
Following two more minutes of 4-on-4 time, Providence pulled Gillies and went to a 6-on-4 advantage with just over 40 seconds to play. But with the preseason league favorite homing in on the equalizer, senior goaltender Rasmus Tirronen (Espoo, Finland) was an absolute rock, turning away the final few shots he faced before the puck was banked out of the zone and down the length of the ice until the buzzer sounded, giving the Warriors' their first win over a ranked opponent since last January against No. 5 Quinnipiac.