The Warriors were without defenseman Kyle Bigos for more than half the game after he was given a game misconduct and 5-minute major for a contact to the head penalty with 12:11 to go in the second period.
It was one of 17 total penalties on the night between the two teams, totaling 45 minutes.
“This is only my second season in Hockey East,” Providence head coach Nate Leaman said, “but Merrimack-Providence games always seem to be high-spirited and emotional. This was another one.”
It forced the Warriors to play with, in essence, just four natural defensemen. Justin Mansfield, a sophomore, recently made the move to the blue line after playing as a forward all of last season. Mansfield, however, does have previous experience on the blue line from his high school and junior hockey days.
“He’s strong,” Dennehy said, “and he has good puck skills. When you move back, by comparison, your skills are that much improved. Plus he’s a real smart player. It hasn’t taken him long to already show some dividends.”
Dennehy hopes efforts like last night, which he thought was one of the more consistent 60-minute efforts of the season from his club, starts to pay dividends down the road.
“Life is not instant gratification,” he said.
“You don’t get rewarded for hard work right away. You need to put together an effort like that on a consistent basis, and then you’ll be rewarded. ... I thought we did a good job in the defensive zone. We won our share of battles. It was just the bounce of a puck tonight and (Providence) earned it.”
The Warriors visit the Friars tonight at 7 p.m.
Merrimack 2 (OT)
at J. Thom Lawler Arena
Providence College (6-5-1, 4-3-0): 1-1-0-1–3
Merrimack College (4-6-2, 3-3-1): 1-0-1-0–2
First Period: 1. PC Noel Acciari 3 (Drew Brown), ev, 9:28; 2. MC Rhett Bly 3 (Tom McCarthy), ev, 13:59.
Second Period: 3. PC Drew Brown 3 (Steven Shamanski, Ross Mauermann), pp, 11:43.
Third Period: 4. MC Connor Toomey 2 (Mike Collins, Kyle Singleton), pp, 0:40.
Overtime: 5. PC Tim Schaller 3 (Kyle Murphy), ev, 4:23.
Shots: Merrimack 11-10-6-0–27; Providence 5-8-11-3–27
Goalies: MC Sam Marotta (27 shots-24 saves); PC Jon Gillies (27 shots-25 saves)
Power Play: Merrimack 1 for 8; Providence 1 for 7
Faceoffs: 43-40 Providence
Next: at Providence tonight, 7 p.m.