January 20, 2008

Merrimack Scores Twice in Three Minutes to Edge Bears, 4-3

Jan. 20, 2008

Box Score

PROVIDENCE, RI - With the Bears clinging to a 3-2 lead midway through the third period, Merrimack (9-11-2, 4-11-1 Hockey East) scored twice in a span of 3:06 to erase a 3-2 deficit and post a 4-3 win over the Brown men's ice hockey team (1-12-4, 1-6-3 ECAC) on Sunday afternoon at Meehan Auditorium.

The Bears outplayed Merrimack in the first period, outshooting the Warriors, 12-9, and generating several quality scoring chances, despite a 0-0 score after the first 20 minutes.

Brown broke the scoreless tie 7:24 into the second period, when junior Ryan Garbutt (Winnipeg, MAN) dove towards a lose puck sitting in the crease and tipped it into the net with the Bears on the power-play. Senior Jeff Prough (Farmington Hills, MI), who picked up his 50th career assist on the goal, started the play when he carried the puck into the zone along the left wing. Prough crossed to senior Chris Poli (Medfield, MA) in the slot, who fired a quick shot on net. Poli's attempt was saved, but the puck trickled through Andrew Braithwaite's legs and Garbutt was able to tip the puck before a Warrior defenseman could clear it.

However, Merrimack tied the game less than two minutes later on a four-on-four that resulted with a pair of matching minors that followed the Brown goal. J.C. Robitaille fired three shots on sophomore Dan Rosen (Syosset, NY), getting stopped on the first two, before finding the net on the third attempt at 9:11.

The Warriors grabbed a 2-1 lead 2:10 later when Chris Barton fed Rob Ricci, back-door and Ricci lifted the puck behind Rosen. The lead was short-lived, however, as sophomore Jordan Pietrus (Vermillion, ALB), back in the line-up after missing two games with an injury, scored on another Brown power-play at 14:16 to tie the score at 2-2. Freshman Harry Zolnierczyk (Toronto, ONT) and sophomore Sean McMonagle (Oakville, ONT) each assisted on the goal.

With just over five minutes left in the period and less than a minute after the tying goal, junior Matt Vokes (Auburn, MA) prevented Merrimack from taking a 3-2 lead with a heads-up play on the Brown goal line. After Justin Bonitatibus's shot was saved by Rosen, the puck bounced high into the air and was headed for the back of the net, but Vokes swatted the puck out of the air to keep the score tied at two.

Sophomore Devin Timberlake (Port Alberni, BC) gave Brown a 3-2 lead at 6:17 of the third when he redirected a centering feed from Garbutt as the Bears' scored for the third time on the power-play. The goal, his fifth of the season, gave Timberlake a point for the fourth straight game. Prough also earned an assist on the goal and is now four points away from earning the 100th of his career with 96 career points (45g, 51a).

The Warriors answered with two goals in a span of 3:06 as Ricci tied the game at 12:31 and then Joe Loprieno scored the winning goal at 15:37. Brown had chances to tie it in the final minutes, but was unable to net the equalizer, despite back-to-back power-plays and a two-man advantage for 21 seconds. The Bears pulled Rosen with 31 seconds remaining for a six-on-four advantage, but a Brown forward was called for a skate in the crease and the Bears couldn't regain possession for long enough and Merrimack was able to hold on for the win.

Timberlake won four of five face-offs during the final minute-and-a-half to finish the game with 25 wins on 35 attempts.

Rosen finished with 28 saves, while Braithwaite made 26 stops for the Warriors. Now winless in their last 12 games (0-10-2), the Bears return to ECAC Hockey action next weekend when they travel to Cornell and Colgate for a pair of 7:00 games on Friday and Saturday.

MERRIMACK 0 2 2 x - 4
BROWN 0 2 1 x - 3

First period - No Scoring. Penalties - M, 1-2; B, 1-2.
Second period - B, Garbutt (Poli, Prough), PP, 7:24; M, Robitaille (Ricci, Bowen), 4x4, 9:11; M, Ricci (Barton, Farrell), 11:21; B, Pietrus (Zolnierczyk, McMonagle), PP, 14:16 . Penalties - M, 4-8; B, 3-6.
Third Period - B, Timberlake (Garbutt, Prough), PP, 6:17; M, Ricci (Robitaille, Barton), 12:31; M, Loprieno (Ouimet, Barton), 15:37. Penalties - M, 4-8; B, 2-4.

Saves
M, Andrew Braithwaite (60:00), 12-6-8-x - 26; B, Dan Rosen (59:32), 9-15-4-x - 28.