By Mike McMahon
---- — NORTH ANDOVER — From start to finish, it was a complete effort.
Merrimack College found its first win of the season last night at Lawler Rink, scoring three times in the third period to seal a 5-2 win over Mercyhurst.
The Warriors had scored just two goals in three games to open the year.
“There’s a lot of ice bags in that room,” Merrimack head coach Mark Dennehys said. “We have some guys who hobbled off and that’s how you have to play to win a college hockey game; it’s hard. It didn’t feel like a 5-2 game, it was close throughout.”
The Warriors were winless on the season entering the game and, dating back to last season, were 1-11-1 in the last 13 games.
“Returning so many guys you want to hit the ground running but we hadn’t done that in the first three games,” Merrimack senior captain Jordan Heywood said.
The Warriors out-shot the Lakers 40-35 and were all around Jordan Tibbett’s net. In the first period, senior Rhett Bly took a five-minute charging penalty when he crashed into the goaltender going for an uncovered puck in the crease.
“There were large stretches of that game where we are playing more of the style we need to play to be successful,” said Heywood. “We started to take pucks to the net, which is what we need to do if we’re going to be a good team; even Bly’s penalty for charging the goalie, we’ll kill that. Having guys going to the net like that is going to make the difference between wins and losses.”
And Merrimack’s penalty kill seemed to be back on track.
The Warriors, who were killing a paltry 68 percent of its penalties heading into the game (11 for 16), killed off all eight Mercyhurst chances, including a five-minute major in the third period after Shawn Bates was whistled for spearing Tibbett.
“That five minute kill, from there on in, that was the best Merrimack has played all year,” Dennehy said. “We just locked it down.”
Heywood added, “We were betting pressing them when we need to and having guys on the same page. We’ve given up a lot of power-play goals already but this was a step in the right direction.”
Merrimack 5, Mercyhurst 2
at Lawler Rink, Merrimack College
Mercyhurst (1-4-0): 0-1-1–2
Merrimack (1-3-0): 0-2-3–5
Second Period: 1. MU Matthew Zay 2 (unassisted), shg, 0:38; 2. MC Quinn Gould 1 (Mike Collins), ev, 4:28; 3. MC Dan Kolomatis 1 (Hampus Gustafsson, Mike Collins), ppg, 5:16.
Third Period: 4. MC Justin Hussar 2 (Mike Collins, Dan Kolomatis), ppg, 1:37; 5. MC John Gustafsson 1 (Quinn Gould, Clayton Jardine), ppg, 4:45; 6. MU Daniel Bahntge 1 (Ryan Misiak), ev, 5:10; 7. MC Vinny Scotti 1 (Mike Collins, Kyle Singleton), ev, 16:44.
Shots: Merrimack 10-15-15–40; Mercyhurst 7-10-5–22
Saves: MC Tirronen 22 shots, 20 saves ; MU Tibbett 40 shots, 35 saves
Power Play: Merrimack 3 for 8 ; Mercyhurst 0 for 8
Penalties: Merrimack 10-34; Mercyhurst 10-20
Next: Hosts Army Saturday, 7 p.m.