By Mike McMahon
---- — BOSTON — Things started bad and then got worse for Merrimack College last night at Agganis Arena, as the Warriors fell to Boston University, 5-2, in front of 2,953 fans.
Merrimack was blitzed for three goals in a span of just under six minutes in the first period as the Terriers ran out to a lead they would never relinquish.
First, Evan Rodrigues scooped up a loose puck and fended off Merrimack senior Jordan Heywood on a 1-on-1 through the offensive zone before flipping a backhander under the arm of Sam Marotta. About 90 seconds later, Garrett Noonan faked a slapper at the right point and dished the puck to Wade Megan, who danced around at the top of the slot and fired a wrister that beat Marotta to make it 2-0 Terriers.
And that was just the start.
The Terriers struck once more in the first and twice in the second before the Warriors tacked on two late tallies from junior Jordan Heywood in the third period, keeping the scoreboard close.
With the win, the Terriers swept the regular-season series. It was the first time Merrimack was swept in a regular-season series by any league opponent in five years.
“Maybe we bring out the best in them,” Merrimack head coach Mark Dennehy said.
At times the Warriors went back to utilizing the stretch play, keeping a forward in the neutral zone in an attempt to stretch the ice and create a scoring chance off a long breakout pass.
At first, BU didn’t recognize the stretch man.
“We haven’t seen that hanging guy in about a year and a half from Merrimack,” BU head coach Jack Parker said. “I forgot to even mention it (to our players). The minute it happened I said to myself, ‘Oh, my gosh,’ and I had to tell our guys to play the way we usually play, but to keep that one defenseman with the guy in the neutral zone.”
Scoring a concern
After a slow start, the Warriors had picked up the offense in the second half of the season.
But the last four games have been a problem again with just seven goals.
Pop goes the bubble
Merrimack dropped to No. 29 in the Pairwise rankings, seriously hurting the Warriors’ chances of landing an at-large bid in the NCAA tournament. While not mathematically impossible, the Warriors will need to go on a run in order to qualify.
The top 16 teams generally make the NCAA tournament.
agateHed:Boston University 5, Merrimack College 2
agateText:at Agganis Arena
agateText:Merrimack College (14-12-6, 12-7-3 HE): 0-0-2–2
Boston Univ. (15-14-2, 11-9-2 HE): 3-2-0–5
agateText:First Period@zzAgate:agateText:: 1. BU Evan Rodrigues 11 (Sean Escobedo), ev, 9:47; 2. BU Sahir Gill 7 (Wade Megan, Garrett Noonan), ev, 11:18; 3. BU Cason Hohmann 9 (Matt Nieto, Matt Grzelcyk), ev, 15:41.
agateText:Second Period@zzAgate:agateText:: 4. BU Matt Nieto 10 (Danny O’Regan, Evan Rodrigues), ev, 5:59; 5. BU Matt Nieto 11 (Sean Escobedo, Ryan Ruikka), ev, 12:38.
agateText:Third Period@zzAgate:agateText:: 6. MC Jordan Heywood 6 (Justin Hussar, Mike Collins), ppg, 9:01; 7. MC Jordan Heywood 7 (Connor Toomey, Vinny Scotti), ev, 10:54.
agateText:Shots@zzAgate:agateText:: Merrimack 14-12 ; Boston U 19-6
agateText:Saves@zzAgate:agateText:: MC Marotta (20:00) 19 shots, 16 saves; Tirronen (40:00) 16 shots, 14 saves; BU O’Connor 34 shots, 32 saves
agateText:Power Play@zzAgate:agateText:: Merrimack 1 for 6; Boston U 0 for 8
agateText_Bold:Penalties: Merrimack 10-28; Boston U 7-14
agateText:Attendance@zzAgate:agateText:: 2,953 (7,200)
agateText:Next@zzAgate:agateText:: at UMass Lowell Friday, 7