BOSTON — It’s starting to become a reoccurring and troubling trend for Merrimack College.
For the fifth time this season in 12 games, the Warriors were shut out on the scoreboard last night in a 2-0 loss to Northeastern at Matthews Arena. The Huskies swept the weekend home-and-home series.
“The objective is to outscore your opponent and we didn’t do that both nights,” Merrimack head coach Mark Dennehy said.
Northeastern goaltender Clay Witt made 38 saves for his first shutout of the season and the first of his career. Witt, who is originally from Florida, trains at Merrimack’s Lawler Rink over the summer as part of the Stop It Goaltending program. He’s trained with both Merrimack goaltenders, Sam Marotta and Rasmus Tirronen, in recent years.
“I know Sam and Ras and Sam was actually my roommate two years ago,” Witt said, “so it was nice. Yeah, I probably got some bragging rights.”
Trailing 2-0 at the end of the first period, the Warriors had the perfect chance to get back into the game at the 14:04 mark of the second period when both Dustin Darou and Cody Ferreiro were ushered to the box for the Huskies, giving the Warriors a full two-minute 5-on-3 advantage. After 1:30, Chris LeBlanc took a slashing penalty to negate the two-man advantage. The Warriors were able to put just two pucks on Witt during the sequence.
“We didn’t score, so we didn’t play it well,” Dennehy said. “We got some good looks off a set play we ran (on Friday) and we wanted to stick with it. We actually made an adjustment on our bench for our next group going out once we realized they were taking away what we wanted to do, but I’d like to see our guys (on the ice) change into something else in that situation. That’s where you miss a Mikey Collins. Brendan Ellis tried, but I think they already had it figured out.”
Merrimack’s offense is now ranked 57th in the nation (out of 59 teams), scoring just 1.67 goals per game.
“Tonight’s the first night I saw us grip the stick a little tight,” Dennehy said. “(Witt) might have a sternum bruise because I thought we hit him in the chest a lot, but that’s also because he was in the right position.”
The Warriors are off until next Saturday when they travel to New Haven to play the defending national champions, Yale.
Northeastern 2, Merrimack 0
at Matthews Arena, Northeastern
Merrimack (3-8-1, 0-5-1 HE): 0-0-0–0
Northeastern (8-5-0, 3-5-0 HE): 2-0-0–2
First Period: 1. Zach Aston-Reese 3 (Colton Saucerman, Dustin Darou), ev, 10:28; 2. NU Zach Aston-Reese 4 (Dalen Hedges, Cody Ferriero), pp, 16:23.
Shots: Merrimack 13-13-12–38; Northeastern 12-11-3–26
Saves: MC Tirronen 24 saves on 26 shots; NU Witt 38 saves on 38 shots
Power Play: Merrimack 0 for 7 (11 shots); Northeastern 1 for 3 (8 shots)
Penalties: Merrimack 3-6; Northeastern 7-14
Faceoffs: 45-26 Northeastern
Next: at Yale Saturday, 7