Merrimack Falls in Hockey East Finals
The good news: Merrimack isn't done; the Warriors are expected to be a #2 seed in the NCAA college hockey tournament.
The Warriors and Boston College Eagles went into the third period of the Hockey East Championship game tied at three, but the Eagles outscored Merrimack 3-1 in the final frame to come away with a 5-3 win.
Merrimack’s head coach Mark Dennehy summed it up best:
“It’s a good learning lesson for us; that’s the bad news,” he said.
“The good news is, we continue on,” Dennehy said. “I get to coach these young men again next week, which we’re obviously excited about,” he said.
This morning at 11:30 a.m., ESPN 2 will televise the NCAA Tournament Selection show. Sixteen of the top college hockey teams in the nation will be selected to participate in the season’s culminating tournament.
The Warriors are expected to be selected as a #2 seed. They will be competing in the tournament’s first round in either Manchester, New Hampshire, Bridgeport, Connecticut, St. Louis, Missouri, or Green Bay, Wisconsin.
North Andover Patch will be tuned in to let you know exactly where and when Merrimack’s next game will be.
As for last night’s debacle against the Eagles, Merrimack’s effort was not to be questioned.
“We’re a pretty resilient group, and we’re confident as well,” said Warriors defenseman Adam Ross.
Merrimack erased three Boston College leads before ultimately falling by two.
Pat Mullane got Boston College on the board with an unassisted goal about halfway through the first period.
Only 26 seconds later, Merrimack’s Ryan Flanigan scored his first of two goals on the night. He got the assist from Carter Madsen.
Then only 82 seconds later, B.C. swiped the lead back. Brian Gibbons scored for the Eagles getting an assist from Cam Atkinson.
With only 24 seconds left in the first period, Merrimack tied it up once again.
Mike Collins buried the biscuit on the powerplay to tie it up at two. He got assists from teammates Joe Cucci and Stephane Da Costa.
A scoreless second period gave way to an absolute barn burner of a third.
Cam Atkinson picked up his second point of the night as he scored with 10:19 left in the game to put the Eagles up 3-2. Assists came from Joe Whitney and Brian Gibbons.
Merrimack’s Ryan Flanigan would score with 6:28 left in the game to tie things up at three. The Merrimack fans erupted when the game tying goal crossed the goal line. The goal came on the powerplay and assists came from Mike Collins and Stephane Da Costa.
Flanigan’s two goals kept the Warriors afloat in this one. He has scored now in four consecutive games.
“I’ll do whatever it takes to help the team,” said Flanigan. “I just want to win hockey games,” he continued.
Cam Atkinson would bury the eventual game-winner with 5:11 to play in the game. His goal made it 4-3 Eagles with an assist that came from Patrick Wey.
Brian Dumoulin tacked on a late goal on a BC powerplay to send everyone home from TD Garden with 1:36 left on the clock.
Merrimack’s loss came in front of 14,571 hockey hungry fans at TD Garden.
The first round of the NCAA Tournament will take place next weekend. Again, North Andover Patch will announce the tournament draw as soon as the announcement is made tomorrow morning at 11:30 a.m. on ESPN 2.
Luckily for Merrimack, they may have another shot to beat B.C.
“It’d be nice to beat them in the Frozen Four,” said Dennehy.
Check out our live blog from last night to get a replay of the game's play by play action.