NORTH ANDOVER — Three games, three deficits, no losses.
That’s been Merrimack College’s story here at Lawler Arena this season. Last night, in their third home game, the Warriors erased a two-goal deficit before beating Northeastern, 4-2, in front of a sellout crowd of 2,489.
The Warriors potted a pair of second-period goals from Shawn Bates and Mike Collins before Collins setup defenseman Jordan Heywood with a long lead pass with just 3:28 left in the third period for the game-winning goal.
The Warriors swept the weekend series and won the season series with the Huskies, 2-1.
“I do think that (Lawler Arena) is a home-ice advantage,” Merrimack head coach Mark Dennehy said. “This is not a fun place to play (for opponents). Confidence is an interesting thing with athletes and we have a level of confidence here at home, even when we’re down. Obviously I’d like us to be leading and confident but they’ve committed to a full 60 minutes and they gave our crowd something to cheer about (with the first goal). After that, the building got louder.”
After a lackluster first period, the Warriors trailed 2-0 heading into the dressing room.
“We just said to stay focus,” said junior Collins, when asked about the mood in the locker room at the first intermission. “We just needed to simplify things.”
After cutting the deficit on Bates’ first goal of the season, Collins tied the score with just 25 seconds remaining in the period.
“The timing of that goal was obviously crucial,” junior captain Jordan Heywood said, “but really it was that entire period. We came out hard. Good things happen when you come out with that effort and that goal was a result of that.”
Tirronen solid again
After shaking rust off in his first two starts (0-2-0, 4.50 goals-against, .842 save percentage), sophomore goaltender Rasmus Tirronen put in his second solid game in a row. In his last two games, Tirronen is 1-0-1 with a 1.92 goals-against average and a .965 save percentage. He was forced to miss all of last season due to NCAA restrictions over a situation that stemmed from his home country of Finland but was able to practice with the Warriors. His start at Northeastern last month was his first game action in over a year.