NORTH ANDOVER — With 2:24 left in the third period, Merrimack College defenseman Tom McCarthy was whistled for hooking down Lowell forward Scott Wilson in the right circle.
Lowell head coach Norm Bazin called his timeout and pulled his goaltender, Doug Carr, essentially giving the River Hawks a 6-on-4 advantage. After Clayton Jardine was escorted to the box for slashing, that became a 6-on-3.
But, the Merrimack penalty kill held strong, thwarting every Lowell chance and hanging on for a 1-0 win over the River Hawks in front of a sellout crowd of 2,489 at J. Thom Lawler Arena.
The win for the Warriors snapped Lowell’s 11-game unbeaten streak; the River Hawks entered the game 10-0-1 over that stretch.
“Our guys work so hard on the penalty kill,” said Merrimack goaltender Sam Marotta, who stopped 25 shots for his second shutout of the season. “Any person we put on the ice is the hardest worker. Guys were blocking so many shots, I think they had more saves than I had.
“It’s 6-on-3 so we know they’re trying to just throw it on net.”
The Warriors held Lowell to 0 for 6 on the power play, with the River Hawks registering just eight shots in 11:33 of power-play time.
For Marotta it erased his only poor start of the season, a 6-2 loss at New Hampshire last Saturday. Marotta and the Warriors will get another shot at UNH tonight when they travel to the Whittemore Center. The Wildcats beat Northeastern, 3-1, last night in Boston.
“I know that we all have games like that,” Marotta said. “For me, I just put it behind me. As soon as Sunday came, it was gone and in the past and I was just worried about battling (with Rasmus Tirronen) for the start this week. (Last night), I just played like it was any other game. I didn’t think about it.”