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February 18, 2013

Freshman Vinny Scotti finds a way for Merrimack

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — All seemed lost for Merrimack College.

Trailing by a goal to Providence with just over six minutes remaining in the third period, senior defenseman Kyle Bigos was whistled for a five-minute major, putting the Warriors on the penalty kill for the majority of the game’s final minutes.

But thanks to freshman Vinny Scotti, that didn’t matter.

The rookie found an opening with junior Shawn Bates, breaking in on a 2-on-1 to tie the score. The Warriors and Friars remained deadlocked through overtime, finishing in a 2-2 tie yesterday at Schneider Arena.

The scoring chance came after an astute Scotti noticed the potential for an odd-man rush earlier in the game.

Before Clayton Jardine went down with an apparent knee injury in the second period, Scotti was killing penalties with Mike Collins, and he mentioned to Collins the possibility of the odd-man chance. But after the injury — which Jardine did not return from — Scotti was on a killing unit with Shawn Bates and he also mentioned to his junior linemate the potential of an attacking chance down a man.

“I told him I thought we’d have that opportunity,” he said. “I saw them rolling in on the powerplay. They’d crash the net really hard and then try to get guys in behind us. The boards (at Schneider) are lively, so I knew we could get a hop there and that’s exactly what we got. I jumped off the bench and saw Batesy flying and my eyes lit up.”

Bates carried the puck deep into the attacking zone before dropping it back for Scotti for the finish.

“I knew (Providence goalie Jon) Gillies was a big kid, so I didn’t want to rush it, and it worked.”

Scotti also scored earlier in the game, taking another feed from Bates on the power play and again, patiently holding the puck until he was able to find an opening, up and over a sprawled Gillies.

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