Game Blog: #17 Merrimack at #19 BU

Merrimack looking to reclaim lost points here at Agganis tonight

Merrimack looks to reclaim lost points here at Agganis tonight

Final: BU 5, Merrimack 2

With this Merrimack loss and a ULowell win over BC tonight, Merrimack falls to 29th in the PairWise Rankings as well as fifth in Hockey East, as there’s now a 4-way tie for first. Merrimack stands only a point ahead of BU, and is currently out of a home playoff spot for the Hockey East Tourney. It was just too little too late. Headed down to the pressers now, if there’s anything worth posting I’ll update in a bit. Merrimack next takes the ice at ULowell Friday night, then again at home on Sunday.

Midway through the 3rd: BU 5, Merrimack 2

Jordan Heywood just found the back of the net twice in under 2 minutes. The first came from a one-timer from the point on the Power Play from Hussar and Collins. I missed the second, but Toomey and Scotti got assists. At least there’s a bit of an upside here.

This is a a bad BU team. 6:49 to play as I type this. Do I smell a comeback?

Second Intermission: BU 5, Merrimack 0

The bad gets worse. Dennehy pulled Marotta in favor of Rasmus Tirronen, who hasn’t played in nearly 2 months, for the second period. Ras had a tough time of it in the period, giving up 2 goals of his own. Both came from Matt Nieto about 7 minutes apart, both were high snipes, the latter of which came on a wide open breakaway. What’s worse: BU only attempted 6 shots on goal in the period. At the time of Nieto’s  second goal, they were 2-for-2 in shots/goals.

As Mike McMahon (@MikeMcMahonCHN) points out here a Merrimack loss drops them to 29th in the PairWise Rankings, 13 spots out of contention for an at-large bid.

There are creepy men dancing poorly to Ne-Yo on the jumbotron. We’re losing 5-0. Can it get worse? I’m uncomfortable. I actually wouldn’t be totally shocked at a Nick Drew sighting tonight. For his sake, I hope he gets some time.

First Intermission: BU 3, Merrimack 0

Merrimack simply looks horrible. I really don’t have a single good thing to say right now. Here’s some notes –

The lines look a little different tonight. Dennehy started his second line of John Gustafsson, Shawn Bates and Josh Myers, as well as the Brendan Ellis-Justin Mansfield D-pair. Sam Marotta started in net as usual.

The Power Play units were a bit different too  – Vinny Scotti, Bates, and Quinn Gould came out with Ellis and Kolomatis first, followed by Connor Toomey-Rhett Bly-Justin Hussar with Mike Collins and Jordan Heywood.

Early in the period, Dennehy was using a stretching technique – essentially leaving a forward in the neutral zone while the team is on defense – to try and catch BU off guard or draw a defender out of the offense. BU completely missed it at first, but a defender quickly reacted and stayed around the blue line to be safe. Gould was the first to do it, then Myers after him. Interesting strategy that Dennehy used to employ a lot years ago but hasn’t really done much of recently.

The scoring opened when BU soph. Evan Rodrigues got out on a breakaway 1-on-1 with Jordan Heywood, managed to edge him off and somehow sneak a nice backhanded shot past Marotta. It was a really weird angle, and it looked like Marotta thought Heywood had cut it off enough that no shot would get by, or he’d at least be square to it if it did. Rodrigues was nearly even with Marotta at that point. Definitely caught me off guard, at least. The goal came at 9:47.

The second came under 2 minutes later as BU assistant captain Garrett Noonan danced around in the offensive zone and gave a nice look to Wade Megan, who sent a one-timer top shelf past Marotta. The shot was straight down the middle, so you’d have to think Marotta might not have seen it, or just completely missed it.

After the second goal, Dennehy used Merrimack’s timeout. There’s been a lot of frustration on the MC bench tonight, and with a nearly empty arena you can hear players yelling things like “Let’s get it together!” on the ice.

Only 2 and a half minutes later BU struck again as Marotta let up an uncharacteristic huge rebound, which soph. Cason Hohmann managed to grab with his stick extended just before a sprawling Marotta covered it. Hohmann spun around, and hardly pushed it towards the net, but it struck just inside the outside pole and in for a goal. Just like that, Merrimack trails 3-0.

Teams are back on the ice for the second period, so stay tuned, but this could be a long night. Be sure to follow me on Twitter for live updates at @PatBradleyUSCHO

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