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In the lead up to Friday and Saturday’s matchup against No. 3 Boston College, Merrimack coach Mark Dennehey scouted BC at the Beanpot, taking particular note of the starts the Eagles had against Harvard and Boston University.
Much like in those games, the Eagles got off to a fast start Friday night, and after four goals were scored in the first, the Warriors were never back in the game, and Merrimack fell to BC 6-3 to open the weekend home-and-home series.
“I thought we weren’t ready to play,” Dennehey said. “We didn’t mentally prepare.”
A common theme in three of BC’s four goals in the first period was puck movement. Crisp passing between linemates led the Eagles to bring the 4-1 lead into the locker room.
“I thought we moved pucks well tonight, all throughout the game,” BC coach Jerry York said.
The Eagles began the onslaught early, just 1:38 into the game. Adam Gilmour received a feed from Ryan Fitzgerald while moving through the offensive zone. Gilmour sent the puck past Chuck Delia, giving BC the 1-0 lead early.
Lighting struck for the Eagles again on the second line. In a similar play, Adam Gilmour sent a puck to Zach Sanford, who sent a puck past Delia on his backhand.
The third BC goal, however, did not follow the blueprint established earlier in the period. The chance was generated by a penalty, namely Austin Cangelosi getting taken down on a breakaway chance. A penalty shot was awarded to Cangelosi, harkening back to Cangelosi’s penalty shot chance against BU. Cangelosi, in a carbon copy attempt, stick-handled his way into an opening in Delia’s pads, and he sent the puck past Delia for the third goal of the game.
BC and Merrimack each picked up goals in the later stages of the period, but it was obvious that Merrimack had its work cut out for them in terms of first intermission adjustments.
“I probably should have put an alarm clock in the room and just set it for five minutes and let it ring so our guys could wake up, because I didn’t think we played in the first 10 minutes of the game,” Dennehey said. “We just stood around. We weren’t ready to execute. It begins and ends with me, but we gotta be ready to play. Yeah, they did move the puck around a lot because we weren’t skating, and once they started skating I thought the game really took shape.”
The game took shape in a much tighter second period for the Warriors, who led the shot totals and mitigated the Eagles’ offensive efforts. Merrimack even netted a goal for its efforts, a Marc Biega rocket from the blue line.
The third period was also dominated by Merrimack in terms of shot totals (14-7), but it was BC who gained the upper hand, with Alex Tuch netting a goal just 13 seconds into the game and Zach Sanford picking up his second moments past the halfway mark. A second Begia goal was not enough for the Warriors, and Merrimack ultimately fell to BC.
The two teams face each other in North Andover, Mass. Saturday evening.