|1st||4:35||MER||1-0||EV||Derek Petti (4)||Craig Wyszomirski/1, Jared Kolquist/13|
|1st||14:16||UNH||1-1||EV||Tyler Kelleher (10)||Andrew Poturalski/30, Richard Boyd/2|
|1st||16:49||UNH||2-1||PP||Matias Cleland (5)||Dan Correale/9, Tyler Kelleher/36|
|3rd||7:59||MER||2-2||EV||Ben Bahe (11)||Hampus Gustafsson/18, Brian Christie/16|
|OT||12:02||MER||3-2||PP GW||Ludvig Larsson (4)||Chris LeBlanc/6, Marc Biega/8|
|Shots on Goal||1st||2nd||3rd||OT||SOG|
|Team Stats and Records||PP||PIM||SHGF|
|New Hampshire (11-19-6)||1/2||3/6||0|
|New Hampshire Goaltending||MIN||GA||1||2||3||OT||Saves|
|Daniel Tirone (L, 9-18-6)||72:02||3||13||9||15||10||47|
|Drew Vogler (W, 4-5-1)||72:02||2||5||7||6||3||21|
NO. ANDOVER, Mass. - Freshman forward Ludvig Larsson scored a power-play goal 12:02 into overtime to lift Merrimack to a 3-2 win against New Hampshire to force a decisive game three in Hockey Eat playoff action on Friday at Lawler Rink.
How It Happened
Needing a win to extend its season, Merrimack welcomed UNH back to Lawler Rink for the second game of both sides' best-of-three Hockey East Tournament Opening Round series.
Similarly to last night, the Warriors flew out of the gate, outshooting the Wildcats by a 10-3 margin before freshman Derek Petti (Tewksbury, Mass.) picked up a rebound and punched it home from the right hash for his second goal of the playoffs at 4:35.
But the Wildcats withheld that early momentum surge and yielded just the one goal before burying two quick strikes to take a 2-1 lead into the first intermission. Tyler Kelleher scored from a tough angle underneath the right circle at the 14:16 mark, and just over two minutes later, with UNH on the power play, Matias Cleland lit the lamp to put the visitors in front.
That score went unchanged in the second frame; Merrimack had about a minute of carry-over time from a power play that started late in the first, but that was the only time either side wasn't at full strength in the middle stanza. Otherwise, the period saw a combined 16 shot attempts, with neither team lighting the lamp, sending it to the third still up for grabs.
Merrimack stole all the momentum right back as the third period began, and that eventually produced the equalizer near the eight-minute mark; senior Ben Bahe (Stillwater, Minn.) got a feed from junior Hampus Gustafsson (Ljungby, Sweden) in the middle of the left circle and managed to squeeze out a shot with traffic around him that banked in off UNH netminder Danny Tirone's shoulder and into the twine, tying the game at 2-2.
That would ignite the hosts over the remainder of the period, as Merrimack outshot UNH, 16-6, in the final frame, but for the second straight season, Merrimack found itself in overtime in a playoff contest.
After turning away a few early chances by the Wildcats, Merrimack would head to back-to-back power plays in the extra session. And while they came up empty on the first, the Warriors would walk off as winners with Ludvig's fourth goal of the season just past the 12-minute mark in overtime.
Junior Chris LeBlanc's (Winthrop, Mass.) backhand, no-look pass in the slot found Larsson wide open with nothing but an empty net to look at, and the rookie forward did not miss. Freshman Marc Biega (Pointe-Claire, Quebec) also assisted on the play.
How They Scored
MC #1 (Petti/Wyszomirski/Kolquist) | P1 4:35 - Rebound picked up near the edge of the right hash and tucked in.
NH #1 (Kelleher/Poturalski/Boyd) | P1 14:16 - Wrist shot from a tough angle below the right circle near the goal line.
NH #2 (Cleland/Correale/Kelleher) | P1 16:49 - One-timer from the above the left circle, clanks in off the far post and into the back of the net.
MC #2 (Bahe/H. Gustafsson/Christie) | P3 7:59 - Wrister from the near dot banks off the shoulders and in. MC #3 (L. Larsson/LeBlanc/Biega) (PP) | OT1 12:02 - One-timer from the right wing circle.
Notes and Numbers
- Friday night marked the first time in program history that Merrimack won a playoff game at home in overtime; the only previous postseason overtime home game was played against Babson in the ECAC Semifinals on March 5, 1986 (3-2 loss in double overtime)
- It also marked Merrimack's eighth playoff overtime game all-time, and the Warriors improved to 4-4 in overtime postseason games
- Merrimack has now won three straight postseason overtime games after sweeping last year's Opening Round series against Northeastern with back-to-back OT wins
- Nine different Warriors finished with at least one point on the night
- Goaltenders: W - Drew Vogler (21 saves, 4-5-1) // L - Daniel Tirone (47 saves, 9-18-6)
- Power Plays: Merrimack (1-3) // UNH (1-2)
- SOG (MC-UNH): 14-7 // 9-7 // 16-6 // 11-3 // 50-23
- Faceoffs: MC - 41-of-76 (53.9%)
Merrimack and UNH will play a winner-take-all Game 3 back at Lawler Rink on Sunday to wrap up the Opening Round series. Puck drop is set for 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.).