NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. – Jordan Heywood scored 1:42 into overtime to lift 11th-ranked Merrimack to a 3-2 win and a weekend sweep of the sixth-ranked University of New Hampshire men's hockey team in the Hockey East action Saturday night in front of a sellout crowd of 2,489 at Lawler Arena.
UNH is now 17-7-4, 15-4-2 in Hockey East. Merrimack improves to 19-5-4, 13-5-3 in league. The 'Cats remained tied for first place with an idle Boston College with 32 points in Hockey East play.
Heywood's tally, just the second of his collegiate career, came on a one-timer from the top of the offensive zone and was assisted by Mike Collins and Shaun Bates. Heywood factored in all three Warrior goals (1g,2a).
Merrimack held a 2-0 lead after two periods that was erased early in the third by a pair of power play goals. Overall, UNH struck twice during a five-minute major. The first tally, a 5-on-3 goal came from the left slot by Paul Thompson (Derry, N.H.) at 3:03 of the frame and was assisted by Mike Sislo (Superior, Wis.) and Mike Beck (Long Beach, Calif.). The second was netted just over a minute later as Dalton Speelman (San Jose, Calif.) scored from the high-center slot at 4:14 with helpers from Thompson and Sislo to tie the score at 2-2. New Hampshire held a 14-10 shot edge in the period.
In an even-played first period, it was Merrimack breaking through late in the frame as Carter Madsen scored on a wrister from the left slot at 17:36. The tally was assisted by Ryan Flanigan and Heywood. The Warriors held a 14-12 shot advantage in the period.
Merrimack extended the lead with a late goal in the second period. Joe Cucci scored with assists from Heywood and Elliott Sheen at 18:10 of the frame. Shots were even at 14 aside in an even-played second period. Merrimack was whistled for a major and minor penalty with 9.6 seconds remaining in the frame to setup a 5-on-3 opportunity.
In a penalty-filled contest, UNH was whistled for 11 penalties for 38 minutes, while Merrimack was called for 14 penalties netting 47 minutes. UNH was 2-7 on the power play, while the Warriors were 0-3 overall.
Junior netminder Matt Di Girolamo (Ambler, Pa.) stopped 36 shots including 13 in each of the first two periods to move to 17-7-4, while his counterpart Joe Cannata stopped 38 shots including 14 in the second period and improves to 19-5-4.
UNH returns to action Feb. 18-19 at the University of Vermont for a two-game road series in Burlington, Vt. The teams play Friday night (7:30 p.m.) live on CBS College Sports and conclude the series on Saturday (7 p.m.). New Hampshire next home game is Friday, Feb. 25 against Northeastern (7 p.m.). Tickets to the Northeastern game are available online at www.UNHWildcats.com.