|1st||12:04||CON||1-0||EV||Joona Kunnas (1)||Patrick Kirtland/9, Shawn Pauly/12|
|3rd||2:50||MER||1-1||EV||Jace Hennig (4)||Brett Seney/12, Hampus Gustafsson/11|
|3rd||14:17||CON||2-1||EV||Maxim Letunov (15)||Max Kalter/4, Joey Ferriss/3|
|3rd||19:03.5||MER||2-2||EV EA GT||Brian Christie (6)||Hampus Gustafsson/12, Alex Carle/7|
|Shots on Goal||1st||2nd||3rd||OT||SOG|
|Team Stats and Records||PP||PIM||SHGF|
|Tanner Creel (T, 1-2-2)||65:00||2||11||15||16||1||43|
|Collin Delia (T, 7-11-6)||64:17||2||8||8||4||1||21|
NO. ANDOVER, Mass. - Senior forward Brian Christie (West Chester, Pa.) scored with only 57 seconds left to erase a one-goal deficit and send the game to overtime, where the Merrimack College men's ice hockey team would eventually settle for a 2-2 draw against the University of Connecticut on Saturday night at Lawler Rink.
Score: Merrimack 2, Connecticut 2 (F/OT)
Records: Merrimack (8-14-6, 2-8-6 HEA) | Connecticut (9-15-4, 4-8-4 HEA)
Location: Lawler Rink | North Andover, Mass.
How It Happened
In search of its first league win since November 14, Merrimack and UConn took to the ice at Lawler in an important conference clash. The two sides skated to a 3-3 draw back at the XL Center in December, meaning a victory on Saturday night would give the winner the season series.
A back-and-forth period saw the Warriors slightly outshoot UConn, but the Huskies tallied the first goal of the game after Joona Kunnas fired a wrist shot from straightaway center just above the slot through a screen and into the upper-left corner of the twine to give the visitors the lead.
Both defenses were on full display in the second, as both sophomore Collin Delia (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.) and UConn's Tanner Creel combined to make 23 stops - including 15 for Creel - as part of a scoreless middle stanza. Each side also had a power play opportunity over that span, but neither capitalized, sending the contest to the third period still up for grabs.
The Warriors came charging out of the gate to start the third, which led to the equalizer just under three minutes into the period. Sophomore Jace Hennig (Port Moody, British Columbia) pounded in his fourth marker of the year off a behind-the-net feed from classmate Brett Seney (London, Ontario). Linemate and junior Hampus Gustafsson (Ljungby, Sweden) did most of the work by carrying the puck from the right wing half wall to the bottom of the net, where he found Seney with a no-look backhand pass to set up the scoring play.
Despite being heavily outshot in the period, UConn would break through off a 2-on-1 rush, as Max Letunov punched in the go-ahead tally with just under six minutes to go. Joey Ferriss got the play started by poking the puck loose in the defensive zone up to Max Kalter. His initial shot was stopped by Delia, but Letunov slid the rebound home to push the Huskies ahead, 2-1.
The Warriors racked up 18 shots on goal over the final frame, but could not solve Creel until the final minute when Christie lit the lamp off a one-timer to send the game to overtime. Gustafsson assisted again by means of a pretty no-look backhand pass from down low, and freshman Alex Carle (Anchorage, Alaska) also assisted on the game-tying tally at the 19:03 mark
Each squad had only one shot in the sudden-victory session, and the final horn would eventually sound with the score still knotted at 2-2, meaning the season series would end in a draw as well after both teams fought to a 3-3 tie back in December in Hartford.
UC #1 | P1 12:04 - Kunnas wrist shot from just below the blue line center point goes through a partial screen and into the upper-left corner of the net.
MC #1 | P3 2:50 - Henning one-timer from just in front of the weak side of the crease off a behind-the-net feed.
UC #2 | P3 14:17 - Ferriss pokes the puck ahead up the right wing wall in the UConn defensive zone, springing a 2-on-1 rush down the ice; Kalter's first shot was stopped, but Letunov buries the rebound on the left side of the crease.
MC #2 | P3 19:03 - Christie one-timer from a nearly identical spot as Merrimack's first goal off a backhand no-look feed from down low from Gustafsson.
Notes and Numbers
- Merrimack's 45 shots on goal were a season-high, as the Warriors outshot the Huskies by advantages of 15-8 in the second and 18-5 in the third
- Since UConn joined Hockey East, every one of the four games played between the two schools has been either a one-goal game or ended in a tie
- Gustafsson was the lone player with multiple points on the night (2a), while four other Warriors posted at least a point
- Goaltenders: T - Collin Delia (21 saves, 7-11-6) // UConn - Tanner Creel (43 saves, 1-2-2)
- Power Plays: Merrimack (0-2) | UC (0-2)
- SOG (MC-UC): 11-9 // 15-8 // 18-5 // 1-1 // 45-23
Merrimack continues league play with a home-and-home series against current No. 4 Boston College starting on Friday night at Conte Forum in Chestnut Hill (7 p.m.). The Warriors and Eagles then will round out the weekend at Lawler Rink the following night at 7 p.m., and that game will be televised live on WBIN-TV, Fox College Sports and streamed worldwide on ESPN3.