No. 4 Adelphi survives No. 3 Merrimack with fourth quarter rally to win 11-10
GARDEN CITY, N.Y. –- No. 4 Adelphi faced off against the No. 3 Merrimack on Motamed Field on Saturday. The Panthers fell behind 9-7 entering the fourth quarter, but scored four consecutive goals late in the frame to come away with an 11-10 victory. With the win, the Panthers improve to 11-1 overall and 9-1 in the Northeast-10 Conference, while Merrimack falls to 9-2 overall and 8-1 in the conference.
The Panthers were led by Vinny Coiro, who recorded three points behind three goals. Nick Watson led the team in points, as he recorded four behind one goal and three assists. Joe Celano also recorded three points behind a goal and two assists, while Patrick Starke netted two goals for two points. Kevin Kennedy, Robert Rossi, Salvatore Tuttle, Brian Prendergast and Cory Stavis all assisted in the Panthers' effort by tallying a point.
On defense, Gregory Puskuldjian continued to impress as he picked up a game-high 14 ground balls and won 15 out of 20 faceoffs. In goal, Eric Janssen and Aidan Bennardo each played 30 minutes and allowed five goals; Bennardo recorded six saves while Janssen added five in the first half.
For Merrimack, Corey Lunney led the team with four points behind a pair of goals and assists. Connor Reagan played all 60 minutes in goal and made 15 saves.
The Panthers struck first as Prendergast fired a pass from Celano into the back of the net less than three minutes into the game to give the Panthers a 1-0 lead. However, the visitors scored three unanswered goals behind Tim Towler, Jamie Shand and Kyle Guilbert to take a 3-1 lead at the end of the first frame.
Coiro and Watson went back-to-back in the first five minutes of the second quarter to knot the action at 3-3; Coiro netted an unassisted goal with 11:39 remaining while Watson took advantage of a man-up opportunity with 10:41 remaining. It was the first of five ties in the game, but Merrimack reclaimed the lead less than a minute later behind Poirier's first tally of the contest.
Coiro's second of the frame came as time was winding down, as he netted a pass from Kevin Kennedy with 4:46 to go to knot the game at 4-4. The Warriors responded yet again behind Guilbert's second of the game to take another one goal lead, but Tuttle scored his first of the day as time ticked down in the frame to send the game to halftime tied at 5-5.
Poirier's third score put the visitors back on top by a one goal margin to open the third frame. Behind two consecutive goals, the Panthers took their first lead since 1-0 when Starke and Stavis tallied two scores in five minutes to put Adelphi on top 7-6. However, the Warriors responded with three consecutive tallies in the final two minutes of the period to take a 9-7 lead.
Neither team had an opportunity to score early in the fourth frame until Celano fired a pass from Watson into the back of the net with 10:03 remaining to cut the deficit to a single goal, 9-8. This was the first of four consecutive Panther tallies as Rossi, Starke and Coiro added on during the next seven minutes to turn a one-goal deficit into a two-goal lead at 11-9.
Merrimack had few chances to score in the fourth quarter, but made good on one of their opportunities with 1:35 remaining as Shand recorded an unassisted tally to close the gap to 11-10. In the final minute, Bennardo came up with a clutch save and the Panthers' defense did the rest to come away with the victory.