Merrimack Hockey Upsets National Champs
Warriors down nation’s #2 team Boston College 4-2.
Merrimack College knocked off one of the top college hockey teams in the nation Saturday as the Warriors pulled off a 4-2 upset win over Boston College.
"This is our house" chanted the sellout crowd of 2,772 that packed into the newly renovated Lawler Arena at Merrimack College on Saturday night.
"We're making this place a point of pride for the college, and for the students," said Merrimack head coach Mark Dennehy whose Warriors upset the defending National Champions.
"I was very impressed with their team," said Eagles head Coach Jerry York, owner of four NCAA National Championships as a head coach, four Beanpot championships, and the 2004 Hockey East Coach of the Year.
"Overrated," chanted the Merrimack students and fans during the final minute of the game.
"Our expectations are certainly a lot higher, and we're not meeting them," commented York after he saw his team fall to 4-2-0, which will likely see a drop in the national rankings.
It was B.C.'s first lost within the Hockey East Division this season.
Merrimack improves to 2-1-2 overall and 1-1-1 in the division. Their only loss came against Boston College the previous night in a 3-2 game on the evening of the Eagles' ceremonial banner raising from last year's national title.
"We knew going into it that we could beat any team in the country," said Warriors junior goalie Joe Cannata whose 31 saves, 15 in the third period, helped seal the win.
In a complete team effort, Merrimack got its four tallies from four different players.
Four minutes and fourteen seconds into the first period, Warriors junior forward Jesse Todd crowded Eagles goalie Parker Milner on a Merrimack power play. Merrimack's Carter Madsen ripped a shot and Todd buried the rebound, dropped to his knees and pumped his fists.
"I think we're a pretty hard working line," said Madsen, who assisted on two goals throughout the night.
Boston College would answer just over five minutes later on a power play of their own when first-line center Brian Gibbons got one passed Warriors goalie Joe Cannata to tie it at 1.
Merrimack fought back and regained the lead with five minutes left in the first. Senior captain Chris Barton flew down the right sideline and snuck past the defender to get the puck on net. Freshman Shawn Bates where there to grab the rebound and put it home.
Merrimack regained its two-goal lead with a power play goal in the second period. Senior Joe Cucci parked in front of B.C. goalie Milner and wrapped it to the left to beat the sophomore.
The Eagles regained the momentum early in the third period when junior forward Cam Atkinson beat Cannata top right from point blank range to make it 3-2.
The Warriors sealed the upset win and caused an eruption in Lawler Arena with just over 10 minutes remaining in the game when junior forward Ryan Flanigan netted a rebound top right on Milner sending the packed barn into a frenzy.
"We had a pretty good rush going; we turned it over, and they came back and stormed the net and scored on a rebound," said York of the goal.
Merrimack will face off next against Sweden's Under-20 squad on Tuesday afternoon, followed by a trip to Providence for a Friday night game against the Friars.
Boston College will return to Lawler Arena for another game against the Warriors on Friday, Nov. 26.