By Elizabeth Thomas
NORTH ANDOVER, MA – Merrimack College junior Corey Lunney paced the Warriors offense with three goals on Wednesday, which helped the men dressed in blue, white and gold defeat conference rival Saint Michael’s, 10-9.
“We scouted them pretty well, and we knew what they were coming with on defense and they had a little zone on us last year,” said Lunney. “I just had to catch it and shoot it, [and] the credit goes to all my teammates.”
The win propels the Warriors to a 7-0 record, as well as their highest ranking in a USILA poll at No. 3, too.
Saint Michael’s (6-3) senior Max Zuccarini provided the Purple Knights with an early lead in the first frame before Lunney evened the score for Merrimack at 8:05.
Zuccarini would net his second goal of the afternoon a few minutes later, and gave Saint Michael’s a 2-1 lead heading into the second quarter.
Merrimack senior John Smyth connected with Lunney early in the second before Saint Michael’s registered two back-to-back strikes to earn a two-goal advantage at 7:42.
The Warriors remained composed following the Purple Knights goals, and ended the first half with two goals from junior Paul Gallagher and freshman Jamie Shand, which created a 4-4 tie at the break.
Once the second half started, junior Greg Melaugh found the back of the Purple Knight cage at 13:26, but Saint Michael’s responded with three consecutive strikes by senior Paul Tortora Jr., and sophomores Connor Glackin and Tim McDonald.
Merrimack managed to answer with four consecutive goals, which gave them a 9-7 lead at 11:51 in the fourth quarter.
“Corey [Lunney] Greg [Melaugh] are a great class, [and] having all of them playing since freshman year together [has been key],” said Saint Michael’s head coach Brian Kingsbury. “The [junior class is] becoming really the rock of the team and can come up with a big plays when you need it.”
Saint Michael’s tallied their eighth strike a minute later when junior Marty Vanzo whipped the ball past Merrimack freshman netminder Morgan Green, (14 saves). Although, following the Purple Knights goal, junior Dj Brown registered the eventual game-winner two minutes later for the Warriors before Vanzo recorded Saint Michael’s final tally at 1:17.
“They have a good style of play and ball movement and patience,” said Lunney. “They are a good team, [but] we just need to not turn to ball over as much. All these teams know each other pretty well, so it’s always hard to go out there and play against them.”