NORTH ANDOVER — It was old-time hockey, like Eddie Shore.
On the surface it was a battle of two goaltenders, but in reality, as Merrimack head coach Mark Dennehy put it, it was just a battle.
No. 5 Providence upended Merrimack, 1-0, last night here at Lawler Rink in a game that felt like it featured as many blocked shots and bodychecks as pucks that made it to the net.
“Battle of two teams, just a battle, everybody was battling; it was a hard-fought game,” Dennehy said. “Both teams played hard in front of (the goaltenders). There were guys giving up their bodies, there was about $10,000 worth of broken sticks on the ice, it was a hard-fought game. They had an odd-man rush and made the most of it.”
Providence’s Noel Acciari scored a shorthanded goal late in the second period as the game’s flow was disrupted with a plethora of calls after an uneventful first period.
The Warriors had plenty of chances to tie the game in the third period, especially late where they pulled the goalie while on the power play to take a 6-on-4 advantage.
“They got some good looks and Jon (Gillies) came up big,” Providence head coach Nate Leaman said. “He needed to, because (Sam) Marotta was making every save at the other end for them, so he needed to match their goalie and he did. ... Early in the game they were throwing a lot at him, firing it from all angles and even dumping the puck on him and we’ve seen that.”
Coming into the game, Providence was averaging 37.1 shots per game. The Warriors limited the Friars to just 19 shots.
“We couldn’t get much through to the net they were blocking so many shots,” Leaman said. “They were great around their net front.” Added Dennehy, “That’s a nationally-ranked team and it was a bounce of a puck. That’s sort of the benchmark for us. They had seven shots on the power play and 12 5 on 5, so that’s a pretty good job by our guys I thought, but not good enough.”
Providence 1, Merrimack 0
at Lawler Rink, North Andover
Providence College (6-1-1, 2-1-0 HE): 0-1-0–1
Merrimack College (4-3-0, 0-1-0 HE): 0-0-0–0
Second Period: 1. PC Noel Acciari 2 (Steve McParland), shg, 16:09.
Shots: Merrimack 10-4-9–23; Providence 6-6-7–19
Saves: MC Marotta 19 shots, 18 saves; PC Gillies 23 shots, 23 saves
Power Play: Merrimack 0 for 6 (4 shots); Providence 0 for 7 (7 shots)
Penalties: Merrimack 8-16; Providence 6-12
Faceoffs: 37-35 Providence
Next: at Providence tonight, 7 p.m.