came into the 2010-11 campaign having never been ranked nationally in school history but after Tuesday’s 3-2 win over Boston University, the Warriors can expect to be ranked for the eighth consecutive week.
Warriors head coach Mark Dennehy was proud of the win but certainly not ecstatic. “They weren’t handing out any trophies tonight,” he said. “But we could help ourselves by taking care of business and winning at home.”
Boston University, only two years removed from a national title, came in at #15 and unbeaten in its last three games.
“It wasn’t the type of effort we need if we’re going to beat good teams,” said Terriers head coach Jack Parker who has beaten Merrimack 67 times compared to only 12 losses to the Warriors in 38 years of experience at BU.
Four-on-four open ice benefitted Merrimack early as the Warriors took a first period lead on junior fourth-liner Jeff Velleca’s second goal of the season.
The second period started with offsetting two minute minors for hitting after the whistle between Merrimack’s Brendan Ellis and the Terriers’ Justin Courtnall at 3:20. The four-on-four open ice once again proved to be beneficial for the Warriors.
Ryan Flanigan streaked down the right boards and closed in quickly on BU goalie Kieran Millan. Flanigan elevated from short range to beat Millan high, giving Merrimack a 2-0 advantage.
Merrimack was awarded a powerplay 5:25 into the second as Charlie Coyle went for a hooking call and the Warriors did not hesitate to take advantage.
Brendan Ellis got a shot off from the point that Jesse Todd was able to redirect to put Merrimack up 3-0.
About three and a half minutes into the third period, BU freshman center Charlie Coyle whipped down the ice and around the left boards before stuffing it in on Merrimack goalie Joe Cannata’s stick side to make it 3-1.
Soon after, BU captain Joe Pereira would bring the Terriers within one when he also beat Cannata stick side just less than seven minutes into the third.
“I think we just came out a little bit flat,” said junior Ryan Flanigan (1 goal, 1 assist) of his team’s third period.
A tripping penalty on the Terriers’ David Warsofsky prevented a Merrimack breakaway but put the Warriors on the powerplay for two out of the final three minutes of the game.
The Warriors hung on for the 3-2 win improving to 13-4-4 on the year and a stout 7-4-3 Hockey East Association record.
Boston Univeristy, who , fell to 10-6-6 and 7-4-4 in Hockey East play.
“It’s always a battle against BU,” said Warriors junior Jeff Velleca who scored the team’s first goal. “Every win in Hockey East is a big win,” he added.
“We’ll take the two points and move on to next weekend against Lowell,” said Warriors goalie Joe Cannata who saved 28 shots on the night.
Merrimack's homestand continues Friday night when invades at 7 p.m. The following weekend, Merrimack will host Vermont for a two-game weekend series with the latter matchup (Jan. 29) being broadcasted by NESN.