NORTH ANDOVER – All week, Providence College worked on one thing – pressure.
And the Friars applied plenty of it last night in a 3-2 overtime win over Merrimack College here at J. Thom Lawler Arena. It was the first time the Warriors lost an overtime game here at home since Brock Bradford and the Boston College Eagles beat the Warriors on Halloween night of 2008.
“We knew if we could get on them pretty quickly we could create turnovers,” said Providence senior Tim Schaller, who wristed the game-winning goal past Merrimack goaltender Sam Marotta with 32.7 seconds remaining in the extra session. “One thing leads to another and I think that all of our goals were off turnovers.”
The game-winning goal for Schaller, who is from Merrimack, N.H., came after the Warriors were able to collect the puck in the defensive zone. Schaller was the first forechecker into the zone and he was followed closely by teammate Derek Army.
“We went into our normal forecheck which is just two men going hard and the puck squirted out,” he said. “All game I hadn’t been getting pucks to the net so I just saw the goalie go down and I figured I needed to put it on net. I went short side glove, right over his shoulder. ... (Army) was the second man in, I was the first, we both took the body and the puck came right to me.”
The Warriors (4-7-2) were able to apply some pressure themselves, especially early in the game. Merrimack held an 11-3 shot advantage late in the first period.
“We had plenty of chances,” head coach Mark Dennehy said. “They had chances, we had chances, both teams were giving up their bodies pretty consistently. We put ourselves in a situation where it was the bounce of a puck. There’s a learning curve to this though and we had some young guys play significant minutes.”