Tirone, Vela Lead New Hampshire Past Merrimack, 3-1
Sophomore goaltender Danny Tirone makes 45 saves and freshman forward Marcus Vela scores two goals for Wildcats

Sophomore goaltender Danny Tirone made 45 saves for Wildcats
Prd Time  Team Score Type Scored By Assists
2nd 14:45  UNH1-0 EV Tyler Kelleher (9)Andrew Poturalski/29, Dan Correale/8
3rd 4:10  UNH2-0 EV GW Marcus Vela (6)Maxim Gaudreault/7, Matias Cleland/22
3rd 12:02  MER1-2 EV Derek Petti (3)Chris LeBlanc/5, Aaron Titcomb/8
3rd 19:47  UNH3-1 EV EN Marcus Vela (7)Matias Cleland/23, Maxim Gaudreault/8
Scoring 1st 2nd 3rd Final
New Hampshire  0123
Merrimack  0011
Shots on Goal 1st 2nd 3rd SOG
New Hampshire  5111228
Merrimack  16131746
Team Stats and Records  PP PIM SHGF
New Hampshire (11-18-6)  0/2 2/4 0
Merrimack (11-17-7)  0/2 2/4 0
New Hampshire Goaltending MIN GA 1 2 3 Saves
Daniel Tirone (W, 9-17-6)60:001 16131645
Merrimack Goaltending MIN GA 1 2 3 Saves
Drew Vogler (L, 3-5-1)58:312 5101025
Empty Net1:291     

NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. - The Merrimack College men's ice hockey team poured a season-high 46 shots on net but could not put more than one past University of New Hampshire goaltender Danny Tirone, as the Wildcats edged the Warriors, 3-1, in Game 1 of the two teams' Hockey East Tournament Opening Round Series on Thursday night at Lawler Rink.

The Basics

Score: New Hampshire 3, Merrimack 1
Records: Merrimack (11-17-7, 5-10-7 HEA) | New Hampshire (11-18-6, 4-12-6 HEA)
Location: Lawler Rink | North Andover, Mass.

How It Happened

Playing its first postseason home game in five years, Merrimack welcomed UNH to campus for the teams' 10th meeting all-time in the Hockey East Tournament, and first since the Warriors defeated the Wildcats in the league semifinal round back in 2011.

Merrimack came out buzzing to start and wound up amassing 16 shots on goal while limiting the visitors to only five, but was unable to light the lamp, and the game headed to the second still scoreless.

UNH's vaunted top line of Tyler Kelleher, Andrew Poturalski and Dan Correale helped the visitors get on the board late in the second, as Kelleher picked up a loose puck in the crease and jammed it home to put the Wildcats on top, 1-0, at 14:45.

Merrimack had nearly double the shot attempts than the Wildcats (29-16) after two periods, but still found itself down by a goal heading to the final stanza.

UNH's Marcus Vela tallied the game-winner for the Wildcats just over four minutes into the third, picking up a blocked shot in the slot, turning and roofing a backhand wrister to make it 2-0.

But the Warriors wouldn't go quietly; freshman Derek Petti (Tewksbury, Mass.) gathered a loose puck above the crease and got it by Tirone to give the hosts life with under eight minutes left in regulation. Merrimack would eventually opt for the extra attacker in the final 90 seconds, but Vela lit the lamp with the net empty to wrap up the win for the Wildcats.

How They Scored

NH #1 (Kelleher/Poturalski/Correale) | P2 14:45 - Jammed in after a scrum as bodies crash toward the net on an odd-man rush.

NH #2 (Vela/Gaudreault/Cleland) | P3 4:10 - Puck gathered in the slot after a blocked shot, goal scored from the high slot near the edge of the right circle.

MC #1 (Petti/LeBlanc/Titcomb) | P3 12:02 - Rebound gathered and tucked in on the far post.

NH #3 (Vela/Cleland/Gaudreault) (EN) | P3 19:47 - Shot into the empty net from the left side above the blue line.

Notes and Numbers

- Merrimack's 46 shots on goal were a new season-high, marking its highest total in a game since registering 49 at Northeastern in Game 2 of last year's Opening Round series (March 7, 2015)

- Merrimack outshot UNH in every period, including by 11 in the first frame (16-5)

- Junior Chris LeBlanc (Winthrop, Mass.) and sophomore Aaron Titcomb (Charlestown, Mass.) assisted on Tewksbury's third tally of the year

- Goaltenders: L - Drew Vogler (25 saves, 3-5-1) // W - Daniel Tirone (45 saves, 9-17-6)

- Power Plays: Merrimack (0-2) // UNH (0-2)

- SOG (MC-UNH): 16-5 // 13-11 // 17-12 // 46-28

- Faceoffs: MC - 37-of-69 (53.6%)

Up Next

Merrimack will look to extend its season and push the series to three games when it meets UNH back at Lawler Rink in Game 2 of the Opening Round series. Puck drop is set for 7 p.m. Game 3, if necessary, would be played on Sunday (March 6), also at 7 p.m. Tickets are available for purchase online at http://www.merrimackathletics.com/Tickets, over the phone (978-837-5324) or by visiting the Box Office during business hours (Monday-Friday, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.).