NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. – Four different players found the back of the net while junior goaltender Collin Delia (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.) stopped all 25 shots he saw to propel the Merrimack College men's ice hockey team to a 4-0 victory over New Hampshire in Game 1 of both sides' 2017 Hockey East Tournament Opening Round series on Friday night at Lawler Rink. Merrimack will go for the series sweep and a chance to advance to the quarterfinal round of the league tournament for the third straight season tomorrow night.
Score: Merrimack 4, New Hampshire 0
Records: Merrimack (15-14-6, 8-8-6 HEA) | New Hampshire (12-18-5, 7-11-4 HEA)
Location: Lawler Rink | North Andover, Mass.
Game Duration: 2:06
- Hosting a playoff series for the second straight season and fourth time since joining Hockey East, Merrimack posted two goals in the first period and added another in the second to carry a three-goal lead into the final frame. The hosts would keep the high-scoring Wildcat offense at bay and add a late empty-netter to seal the victory.
- Four different players scored for Merrimack, while Delia denied all 25 shots he faced for his third shutout of the season and fourth of his career to push the Warriors to a 1-0 lead in the best-of-three series.
- Merrimack scored 5:50 into the proceedings after freshman Sami Tavernier (Morzine, France) kept his hot streak intact with his fifth goal in 11 games; junior Brett Seney (London, Ontario) won a defensive zone draw and banked it off the glass, and the puck hopped over a UNH defenseman allowing Tavernier to skate in alone on goaltender Daniel Tirone, and the rookie beat him with a backhander to give the Warriors a 1-0 lead.
- Ten minutes later, sophomore Derek Petti (Tewksbury, Mass.) picked up where he left off last postseason with his fourth career playoff marker at 15:16; rookie Johnathan Kovacevic (Grimsby, Ontario) threaded a diagonal pass through the neutral zone that was tipped by junior Jace Hennig (Port Moody, British Columbia) and up to Petti, who evaded a lunging Tirone who went out to challenge the loose puck and slid the puck into an open net to make it 2-0.
- Senior Chris LeBlanc (Winthrop, Mass.) netted his first career playoff goal 4:37 into the second period after burying a one-timer from Hennig that pushed the lead to 3-0.
- With UNH skating with an extra attacker late in regulation, freshman Tyler Irvine (Livonia, Mich.) added an empty-netter to seal the deal after junior Alfred Larsson (Malmo, Sweden) won the draw and classmate Jared Kolquist (Hermantown, Minn.) wrapped the puck around the boards and out of the zone to Irvine, who eased the puck into the unprotected net to cap off the victory.
Notes & Notables
- Tavernier pushed his career-best point streak to seven games (5-4—9) after his goal on Friday; since Jan. 24, Tavernier leads Merrimack with 13 points (5g, 8a).
- Seney also passed the 30-point threshold and became the first Warrior to post at least 30 points in a season Mike Collins '14 did so in a 38-point All-American campaign in 2012-13.
- Petti recorded his fourth career playoff goal in six games, with all of them coming against UNH.
- Hennig pushed his team lead to nine career playoff points (5g, 4a) in 10 all-time postseason games, while LeBlanc, Irvine and Tavernier each netted their first career playoff markers.
- Merrimack improved to 12-0-3 when leading after two periods and 11-2-1 when scoring first this season.
Seney | Gustafsson | Tavernier
Hennig | L. Larsson | LeBlanc
Babcock | A. Larsson | Tibbet
Petti | Irvine
Biega | Titcomb
Kolquist | Kovacevic
Lashyn | Cook
Carle (Extra Defenseman)
Game Leaders (MC // UNH)
- Points: Hennig (2) // None
- Goals: Four players (1) // None
- Assists: Hennig (2) // None
- Shots: LeBlanc (4) // Liam Blackburn (5)
- Faceoffs Won: Alfred Larsson (12) // Michael McNicholas (10)
- Saves: Collin Delia (25-for-25) // Daniel Tirone (23-for-26)
Facts and Figures (MC // UNH)
- Power Plays: 0-3 // 0-5
- Penalties: 5 Penalties – 10 Minutes // 3 Penalties – 6 Minutes
- Faceoffs: 29 // 28
- SOG: 12-10 // 7-6 // 8-9 // 27-25
Merrimack and New Hampshire return to the ice at Lawler Rink for Game 2 tomorrow night, as the Warriors eye the series sweep against the Wildcats. Puck drop set for 7 p.m.