Sports, Winter, Hockey, Men's Hockey

Merrimack Defends Home Ice, Downs BC 3–1 In Battle Of Special Teams

After a road loss against UConn a week ago, a trip to North Andover to face off against Merrimack seemed like the perfect opportunity for Boston College men’s hockey to rebound.  Coming into the night, the Eagles had won their three previous matchups on the road at Merrimack.

But on Thursday, Merrimack defended its home ice and ended BC’s win streak at Lawler Rink.  The Warriors (5–3, 3–1 Hockey East) defeated the Eagles (2–3–1, 2–2–0) 3–1 in a special-teams battle.

Through the first two periods of play, officials called a combined 12 penalties on both teams. By the end of the game, BC had committed six penalties while Merrimack committed eight. Eight of the game’s total penalties came in the second period. 

Merrimack got on the board first halfway into the opening period. Slava Demin took a wrist shot from the point that got through net-front traffic and past BC goaltender Mitch Benson to put Merrimack up 1–0.

Just like in BC’s loss at UConn last week, officials blew the whistle frequently in the first period. Each team earned two power-play opportunities in the first 20 minutes but neither took advantage while a man up despite taking quality shots on the net.

Both teams’ lack of discipline carried into the second period, as both Merrimack and BC committed a penalty within the first five minutes of the frame. Yet again, neither team converted on the power play. 

Officials called a major penalty on Lukas Gustafsson 6:09 into the second period, giving Merrimack a five-minute man advantage. Under extended pressure, the Eagles’ penalty-kill unit finally let up.

Posted up right in front of BC’s net, Filip Forsmark redirected a point shot, and it trickled past Benson over the goal line to double the Warriors’ lead. 

The power-play opportunities kept coming for BC, though, and on its fifth man advantage of the night, the Eagles finally cashed in. Eamon Powell’s wrist shot from the point got past Merrimack’s Hugo Ollas, who was blocked by a strong net-front screen from Andre Gasseau. Powell’s first goal of the season put BC right back into the game at a 2–1 deficit.

BC earned seven total power-play opportunities but struggled to use any of them efficiently, scoring just one goal while on the man advantage. Only one of Merrimack’s goals came on the power play. Both teams held a 15.4 power-play percentage heading into the game, tied for the third-lowest percentage in Hockey East. 

The advantages kept coming for both teams in the final period, but there was no more scoring until the game’s final minutes. With 2:42 to go in the play, Merrimack put the game out of the Eagles’ reach. 

Jordan Seyfert received a centering pass in the slot and took a shot. Benson saved his initial shot, but Seyfert got his own rebound and slotted it home to make it a 3–1 game.

November 4, 2022