By Matt Noonan
BOSTON, MA – Despite a second period rally, Northeastern held onto capture their first Hockey East clash of the season, as the Huskies defeated Merrimack College, 4-2 at the Matthews Arena.
How the game was won: With less than one minute remaining in the third period, Robbie Vrolyk stole the puck in the Northeastern zone and rushed down the ice to net a shorthanded open net strike, which sealed the victory for the Huskies.
Northeastern sets the tone early: The Huskies gained the momentum in the first period by notching three goals off 16 shots thanks to Garrett Vermeersch, Joseph Manno and Kevin Roy, which provided Northeastern with a 3-0 cushion prior to the first intermission.
Merrimack’s second period rally: Entering the second period, the Warriors netted two tallies by Quinn Gould and Justin Mansfield, which brought the visitors to within one strike. They also earned some serious momentum, too, but it wasn’t enough to score another goal in the final period.
Penalties Galore: Both teams combined for 15 penalties, and despite the various trips to the box, both squads were only able to muster one power play goal apiece.
Power Play Struggles: Excluding one goal per team on the power play, neither Merrimack nor Northeastern was able to produce necessary strikes on their other power plays.
The Huskies had a golden opportunity to shut the door on a Warriors comeback at 10:34 when Rhett Bly was whistled for interference. And without the center on the ice, the Warriors defense denied roughly four scoring chances by the Huskies.
If the Huskies want to contend, they’ll need to capitalize on their power plays.
Up Next: Northeastern will continue conference play on Saturday when they welcome Boston College to their home ice, while Merrimack will enjoy a few days off until they face-off against Alaska Fairbanks on October 20.