NORTH ANDOVER – Rob Tadazak did all he could do to keep Army in the game but Merrimack College was finally able to solve the junior goaltender in the third period, as Merrimack beat Army, 4-2, at Lawler Rink in front of a sellout crowd of 2,549 last night.
Tadazak made 39 saves on 42 shots (Mike Collins’ fourth goal was an empty-netter) to continue a stretch of stellar play against the Warriors at Lawler Rink. Last season, in a 3-2 loss for the Black Knights, Tadazak stopped 37 shots and he made 29 saves in a 2-1 Merrimack win two years ago.
“He seems to love this rink,” Army head coach Brian Riley said. “Three years in a row for us here he’s been our best player and has given us a chance to win. We’re on the road, up 2-1 entering the third period and we felt like we were in a pretty good spot. We knew that they could come at us (in the third period) and we take three penalties we have to kill, but you have to give them credit, Merrimack got a goal and it sparked them. Even when they went ahead and it was 3-2 though, we felt like we were one bounce away.”
After a 12-save first period for Tadazak, the Warriors finally found the back of the net in the second when freshman Hampus Gustafsson potted his first of the season.
“It was one of the lucky goals,” Gustafsson said. “We try to put pucks on net, there were a few shots before and I was in the right spot at the right time and I was able to bury that goal. I had a lot of opportunities, but to at least have that first goal out of the way, I don’t have to think about it as much now.”