NORTH ANDOVER — Merrimack College’s rink, already one of the smallest in college hockey, had to feel as if it were shrunk even more yesterday as the Warriors and Colgate skated to a 1-1 matinee tie.
Both known for their aggressiveness, Merrimack and Colgate clogged up the neutral zone and sent bodies flying. The game was filled with physicality, but so little room on the ice lends itself to limited space for flashy playmaking and fluid speed to take over.
In a rink like Merrimack’s, with tight corners and the illusion that fans are right on top of the action, it must have felt as if the players were playing in a shoebox.
Merrimack’s lone goal, a first-period tally by Mike Collins (his 7th of the season) was the product of a Brendan Ellis point shot in which Colgate rookie goaltender Spencer Finney made the initial save, before Collins swept the rebound past his right pad.
The only goal Merrimack netminder Rasmus Tirronen allowed came after Brendan Corcoran had his point shot blocked. It deflected right on the stick of Joe Wilson, who had an open net.
“That’s one of those games I would have hated to play in,” Merrimack head coach Mark Dennehy joked. “I’d have no place to hide. There were bodies flying, that was just two hard-fought teams. Two aggressive-minded teams shrinking the rink, even in the middle of the ice.”
For the Warriors, it was the third game in a row in which they’ve let an early lead escape.
Colgate, who entered the game 0-5 when trailing after the first period, was able to earn its first point when down after one.
Two weeks ago against UConn, Merrimack took an early 1-0 lead before falling 3-1.
Against Boston College last Friday, the Warriors led 3-0 before BC came storming back for a 4-3 win and then last night, the Warriors again let a 1-0 lead slip away.