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LIVE BLOG: Merrimack Falls to Notre Dame 4-3 in Overtime

10:28: Final thoughts from Manchester: It has been an absolute privilege to cover this team. The Warriors will be back with a vengeance next year despite the loss of their captain Chris Barton. This is Jay Oza for North Andover Patch, signing off from the

 here reporting from the Verizon Wireless Arena  for North Andover Patch. The Merrimack College Warriors are taking on the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame with a shot at the NCAA Elite Eight on the line.

For some background info on the game, check out the preview article . 

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10:28: Final thoughts from Manchester: It has been an absolute privilege to cover this team. The Warriors will be back with a vengeance next year despite the loss of their captain Chris Barton. This is Jay Oza for North Andover Patch, signing off from the Verizon Wireless Arena. The final score for the final time: Notre Dame 4, Merrimack 3. Thanks very much for joining me tonight. 

10:26: Merrimack College has had an absolutely unforgettable season. They achieved things no other Warriors team has been able to do such as advance into the Hockey East Finals and almost get themselves into the Elite Eight. This team will be remembered fondly despite the catastrophic ending. 

10:24: Some Merrimack fans are still sitting in their seats, silent and stunned. For such a wonderful season to come to an end on such a fluke of a play is quite a shame. The goal came with 14:46 remaining in the OT period.

10:23: Period by period scoring summary:

1st 2nd 3rd OT Final Notre Dame 1 1 1 1 4 Merrimack 2 1 0 0 3

 

10:22: That was an absolutely gut-wrenching end to an amazing season. Merrimack had all the momentum in overtime after recovering from a poor third period. On a fluke of a play, their hopes for advancing into the Elite Eight were absolutely crushed. 

10:20: Anders Lee picks up the goal for Notre Dame. Merrimack was trying to get a rush going up the ice, but their defenseman fumbled it in front of the Warrior net. Lee swept at it and got it between Cannata's legs.

10:17: GOAL for Notre Dame! Game over, season over. An absolute fluke goal ends the Warriors' season. It couldn't end in more heartbreaking fashion. 

10:16: Notre Dame just called for a timeout, and that is because Merrimack is owning this OT period so far. Everything can turn on a dime, however, and ND will try to make that happen right now. 

10:15: Merrimack seems to have woken up from its third period slumber. Exactly 15:00 left in the first OT period. Game tied at 3. Face-off coming up in the ND zone. 

10:14: Jesse Todd blasts a slapper that goes just wide! Merrimack is putting the pressure on in this OT period.

10:13: Warriors with two more strong bids! They can't find the back of the net, the fans thought it was over after a Rhett Bly slapshot. 

10:11: Another solid bid by Merrimack after a ND turnover. Slapshot turned away by ND goalie Mike Johnson. The crowd is living and dying on each play.

10:10: Merrimack starts OT off with two amazing bids. Stephane Da Costa almost put it in the net with a wraparound. 

10:09: Playoff hockey overtime... does it get any better than this? Teams are back out on the ice. Let's do this!

10:08: I'll do my best to keep my poise during this overtime period. The tension in this building is palpable. The Warriors played a poor third period and their season will be over if they don't get their act together. 

10:05: Folks, we are about three minutes away from overtime. The first goal scored will win the game.  We will play 20 minute periods until someone puts one in the net. The pressure is on. Tonight's winner faces UNH tomorrow in the Elite Eight. 

10:02: A review of the second period scoring summary:

  • 5:32 - ND's Billy Maday tied things up at 3-3. The goal was unassisted. 

10:00: Some stats through three periods:

  • Merrimack is 1/6 on the powerplay. Notre Dame is also 1/6.
  • Shots attempted: 60-49 in favor of Notre Dame
  • Shots on goal: 36-29 in favor of Notre Dame.
  • Merrimack goalie Joe Cannata has made 33 saves.
  • Notre Dame goalie Mike Johnson has made 26 saves. 

9:57: Ready for some stats before OT?

9:54: OVERTIME! Merrimack somehow survived that third period without giving up another goal. There will be a 15 minute intermission and then a 20 minute overtime period. Next goal wins!

9:53: A boneheaded play by Merrimack. Warriors are guilty of icing. 21.2 seconds left... face-off in the Merrimack zone. 

9:52: Merrimack kills off the powerplay. Less than a minute left in the third period.

9:51: A GOLDEN chance for Notre Dame, but the Irish can't bury it in. A one timer gets deflected up into the  net. 14 seconds left on the powerplay and 1:21 left in the third. 

9:50: Da Costa with a short handed shot for Merrimack. Halfway through the penalty kill. Less than two minutes on the game clock.

9:49: Merrimack will need to kill off this penalty to keep their season alive. The score is still tied 3-3 but Notre Dame's momentum could result in a goal, and this powerplay is their best chance yet. 

9:48: Things are starting to get ugly for the Warriors. Bobby Kramer is back in the box (cross checking), and the Fighting Irish have a two minute powerply with only 3:08 left on the clock.

9:46: ND slapshot goes OFF THE POST! Fighting Irish have done everything but take the lead here in the third. 3:30 left in the third. 

9:45: Icing called on Merrimack. Again, Notre Dame keeps the pressure on, and the Warriors are having issues with sustaining attack. 

9:44: Merrimack gets a shot on goal, but can't sustain the pressure. Only 5:17 to play in the game. Score remains 3-3.

9:42: Very scary moment for Merrimack. A deflected pass almost went right between Cannata's legs. Notre Dame leads 30-27 in the shots on goal department. 6 minutes left in regulation. Fighting Irish are in the driver's seat. 

9:41: Merrimack kills off the penalty. Notre Dame still has the momentum. 

9:40: Merrimack gets a clear. Halfway through the ND powerplay. 

9:39: This is a scary moment for Merrimack. Notre Dame has controlled the game for almost the entire third period, and they now have a two minute powerplay. 9:28 to go here in the third. The score remains 3-3.

9:37: Merrimack defense is sloppy right now. They can't get it out of their zone. Warriors senior Bobby Kramer goes to the box for interference.

9:35: Warriors had their first scoring chance in a while which translated into a scary moment going the other way as Notre Dame answered with a couple bids of their own. 

9:34: Warriors are having a lot of trouble keeping it in the attacking zone. The Fighting Irish forecheck is great right now. 11:07 left in regulation and the score is tied at 3. 

9:33: Notre Dame keeps bringing the heat. Merrimack not getting quality breakouts from their zone. 

9:30: Shots on goal are now even at 25 apiece. Notre Dame has all the momentum right now. TV timeout with 13:01 to play in the game. 

9:29: The goal stands. 3-3 is your score. 13 minutes to go in regulation. 

9:28: Ugly play in front of the Merrimack goal. The play is under review. Billy Maday put the puck on net and Merrimack defenseman Brendan Ellis tried to pass the rebound back to his goalie. The puck trickled in as Maday was able to stuff it passed Cannata. 

9:27: GOAL for Notre Dame! 3-3 is the score with 14:28 to play.

9:25: Merrimack's band is pumping up the crowd. For some reason someone has a huge Charlie Sheen face on a stick... 15 minutes left. 3-2 Warriors.

9:23: Merrimack hasn't had a quality scoring chance in quite a while. Notre Dame isn't exactly knocking on the door either. That all can change extremely quickly. Under 17 minutes to go...

9:20: The second period is underway with the teams skating at 4-on-4 after offsetting roughing penalites at the end of the second. 

9:19: Fasten your seatbelts, strap on those chinstraps, and think of any other great sports cliche, because the third period is about to get underway. Merrimack is 20 minutes away from their biggest win in team history (I've been saying that a lot lately). 

9:15: A review of the second period scoring summary:

  • 13:29 - Anders Lee scored for ND to make it 3-2. He got an assist from Bryan Rust.
  • 2:58 - Freshman Rhett Bly put Merrimack up 3-1. He got an assist from Shawn Bates.

9:12: Here are some stats through 2 periods:

  • Merrimack is 1/5 on the powerplay. ND is 1/4.
  • Shots attempted 39-33 in favor of Merrimack.
  • Shots on goal: 25-19 in favor of Merrimack. 
  • Merrimack goalie Joe Cannata has made 17 saves.
  • Notre Dame goalie Mike Johnson has made 22 saves.

9:04: That's the end of the second period. Merrimack leads 3-2, and the teams will start the third period skating 4-on-4.

9:02: Cannata makes another save and a scuffle breaks out in his crease with 10 seconds left. Penalties called on Bigos of Merrimack and Jeff Costello of ND. 

9:01: Final minute of the second period the score remains 3-2. Shots on goal are 24-19 in favor of Merrimack. Cannata just made another fantastic save with his blocker. 

8:59: Second period is winding down. 3:49 left with Merrimack clinging to a 3-2 lead.

8:57: Tonight's attendance at the Verizon Wireless Arena is 7,608.

8:54: It was a hard shot but a soft goal given up by Cannata. The puck hit off his glove and deflected in. It was a saveable shot though it was a rocket that came in from Lee. TV timeout with 4:30 left in the second period. Warriors still lead 3-2. 

8:52: First line left winger Anders Lee scored for Notre Dame. He hit a rocket of a shot at Cannata. The puck tipped off Cannata's glove and hit the back of the net.

8:50: GOAL for Notre Dame! Merrimack leads 3-2 with 6:31 to play in the second period. 

8:46: Halfway through the second period. Still 3-1 Merrimack. Warriors lead 23-16 in the shots on goal department. 

8:43: Fighting Irish were weak on that powerplay. Merrimack's Jeff Velleca got robbed on a shorthanded breakaway. 12 minutes to go in the second.

8:41: Notre Dame will come out of the timeout on the powerplay. Merrimack's third line center Carter Madsen is in the sin bin for cross checking.

8:40: Another solid save by Joe Cannata. This time it was on a ND slapshot from the point. TV timeout with 13:52 left in the second period. Warriors lead it 3-1.

8:37: Joe Cannata keeps the score 3-1 with a fine save on a ND wristshot by Calle Ridderwall. 

8:35: Bly got a perfect pass right in front of the net from Shawn Bates and held on to it just long enough to put it between the legs of Mike Johnson. With 16:11 left in the second period, Merrimack leads 3-1. 

8:33: GOAL for Merrimack! Rhett Bly the freshman puts it home through the 5-hole to put the Warriors up 3-1.

8:30: The second period is underway! Warriors and Irish are less than 40 game minutes away from deciding who faces UNH tomorrow night. 

8:28: Teams are back out on the ice. Second period will be underway shortly.

8:25: A review of the scoring summary:

  • 16:27 - Notre Dame makes it 2-1 with Calle Ridderwall's goal. Assists came from Billy Maday and T.J. Tynan.
  • 16:00 - Merrimack goes up 2-0 on a shorthanded goal by Ryan Flanigan. A nice assist came from Stephane Da Costa.
  • 13:23 - Merrimack goes up 1-0 on Kyle Bigos' powerplay goal. Assists came from Ryan Flanigan and Jordan Heywood.

8:21: Some first period stats during the intermission:

  • Merrimack went 1/4 on the power play. ND went 1/2
  • Shots attempted: 20 to 18 in favor of Merrimack
  • Shots on goal: 15 to 11 in favor of Merrimack
  • Merrimack goalie Joe Canna made 10 saves
  • ND goalie Mike Johnson made 13 saves

8:14: That will do it for the first period! Merrimack holds a 2-1 lead off goals by Kyle Bigos and Ryan Flanigan. Warriors have a 15-11 lead in shots on goal.

8:12: ND kills off the penalty. Final minute of the first.

8:11: Merrimack goes back on the powerplay. Nick Larson goes to the box for ND. 2:21 left in the period. Merrimack leads 2-1.

8:10: Riderwall's goal was a beauty as well. He took a one time pass right in the slot to beat Cannata.

8:09: Merrimack's shorthanded goal was a thing of beauty. Stephane Da Costa led the break up the ice. He had a 2 on 1 with Ryan Flanigan, made a perfect pass, and Flanigan buried it.

8:08: GOAL for Notre Dame! Powerplay goal scored by Calle Ridderwall. 2-1 Merrimack leads with 3:33 to play in the first.

8:07: GOAL for the Warriors! Ryan Flanigan scores a shorthanded goal with 4 minutes left in the first.

8:06: Joe Cannata made a huge save on a perfect bid by Riley Sheahan right in front of the net. "Joe says no!" screams the Merrimack crowd. 

8:05: Now ND will have its shot on the powerplay. Rhett Bly goes to the box for Merrimack.

8:04: TV timeout with 5:10 left in the first. Merrimack holds a 1-0 lead. Bigos' goal was all hustle. The puck was loose in the crease and he kept digging at it until he was able to bang it home.

8:02: Kyle Bigos picked up the powerplay goal for Merrimack. After a hard slapper from the point, Bigos was able to dig out the rebound and stuff it home.

8:00: GOAL for Merrimack on the powerplay! 1-0 Warriors with 6:37 left in the first.

7:58: Merrimack is back on the powerplay. ND's Stephen Johns heads to the box for two minutes.

7:56: TV timeout from Manchester with 8:53 left in the first period. Merrimack has an 8-4 advantage in shots on goal. Still no goals on the board yet. 

7:53: Notre Dame just had three consecutive shots on goal. 10:06 left in the first and still no score. 

7:50: Rhett Bly and Sean Lorenz both called for tripping penalites. 4-on-4 action for two minutes.

7:48: Merrimack leads in shots on goal 6-1 with 13:18 left in the first period.

7:45: Notre Dame kills off the penalty. Merrimack had a couple of solid chances, but nothing to show for it. 13:39 left in the first period.

7:42: First powerplay of the game with 16:06 left in the first. Notre Dame's Sam Calabrese goes to the box for a trip on Jeff Velleca.

7:41: Merrimack's Bobby Kramer got crushed into the boards. He left the ice skaing gingerly. He's a fourth line center.

7:38: Merrimack's Elliot Sheen had the first scoring chance of the game with a nice wrist shot from the right circle. No score yet in the early going. 17 minutes left in the first.

7:35: Warriors get the first shot on goal 23 seconds into the game.

7:33: Moments away from the opening face-off. 

7:31: Notre Dame's starting lineup just got booed pretty badly. Merrimack, unsurprisingly, has more crowd support.

7:28: Teams are back out on the ice, and it is time for player introductions.

7:20: Take a look at the Division 1 College Hockey brackets. As you can see, UNH upset Miami of Ohio to advance to tomorrow's Elite Eight matchup. 

7:15: Good news for Merrimack fans: Warriors captain Chris Barton, who missed all of the Hockey East Playoffs at TD Garden with a hip injury, was out skating during the pre-game warmups. 

7:08: Both teams are out on the ice for pregame warmups. We are about 25 minutes away from the opening face-off.

7:04: For Merrimack, I'll go with junior Ryan Flanigan. In his last six games, he's got 7 goals and 5 assists to go along with a +12 rating.

7:00: Here are your players to watch during tonight's matchup. For Notre Dame, I'm going to go with T.J. Tynan. He's only a freshman, and he's got 22 goals and 30 assists on the season for a total of 52 points. He is 8th in the nation in points.

6:56: The UNH Wildcats just upset Miami of Ohio 3-1. The winner of tonight's Merrimack vs. ND game will face UNH tomorrow.

6:51: Jay Oza here for North Andover Patch. I've got quite the view here at the Verizon Wireless Arena and I'll be with you all night to see if North Andover's own Merrimack College Warriors can earn a berth in the NCAA Elite Eight. 

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