DENVER – Senior forward Brett Seney broke a 1-1 tie with a pair of goals midway through the third period – with his second tally accounting for his 100th career point – to lift the Merrimack College men's ice hockey team to a 3-2 upset victory over second-ranked and defending national champion Denver on Friday night at Magness Arena. The Warriors will conclude their two-game road trip at Colorado College tomorrow night at 8 p.m.
Score: Merrimack 3, Denver 2
Records: Merrimack (5-9-4, 2-6-2 HEA) | #2 Denver (10-5-4, 5-3-2 NCHC)
Location: Magness Arena | Denver, Colo.
Game Duration: 2:25
Each team traded tallies in the first period, with Merrimack drawing first blood just 2:38 into the game off the stick of ColeMcBride, but Denver knotted things at 1-1 at 15:48. The Warriors had the only two power plays of the period, while the Pioneers outshot the visitors by a 9-6 margin.
Despite a combined 21 shots on goal, neither side lit the lamp in a back-and-forth second period. Each team had power play opportunities in the frame, including two for Denver, but goaltenders Craig Pantano and Tanner Jaillet made a number of timely stops to keep the game deadlocked heading to the third.
After holding off an early Pioneer power play, Seney's heroics pushed the Warriors ahead with a pair of goals 44 seconds apart, with the latter strike coming with the man advantage. That second goal proved to be the game-winner after Denver got to within one with a power play, extra-attacker goal of its own, but the Warriors would deny the late equalizer attempt and held on for the victory.
Goal #1 (MC, 1-0): Sophomore Cole McBride opened the scoring just 2:38 into the game. He stole the puck at the blue line and skated in alone on Denver netminder Tanner Jaillet and snuck one through the five-hole for his third tally of the season.
Goal #2 (DU, 1-1): Kohen Olischefski drew the Pioneers even at 15:48 of the first on his third marker of the year. He received the puck in the far corner from Henrik Borgstrom and sent it toward the net from the goal line extended; the puck deflected off the stick of a Merrimack skater on the way in.
Goal #3 (MC, 2-1): Senior Brett Seney gave the Warriors the lead at 8:14 of the third, lighting the lamp for the fifth time this season. Classmate Jared Kolquist started the play with an entry pass from the left wing to fellow senior Jace Hennig, who carried the puck toward the corner before sending a centering feed toward the crease, where Seney would lunge and tap it in at the back post.
Goal #4 (MC, 3-1): Forty-four seconds later, Seney would hit the career scoring century mark with the Warriors on the power play to make it 3-1. The senior beat Jaillet with a wrist shot from the right hash, as both Hennig and sophomore Sami Tavernier helped set up the goal.
Goal #5 (DU, 3-2): Ian Mitchell cut the deficit in half with the Pioneers on the power play at 18:27 of the third. He snuck a shot from the point through a screen that found the back of the net.
NOTES AND NOTABLES
Seney became the 24th player in the program's Division I history to reach 100 career points and the first to do so since Mike Collins '14.
Merrimack is now unbeaten in its last four games, moving to 3-0-1 since Dec. 8 after an 0-3-1 stretch. It is the longest unbeaten streak for the team this season.
The Warriors also picked up their first win in the all-time series against Denver, moving to 1-2-0.
Merrimack improved to 5-0-2 when scoring three-plus goals this season, as well as 2-2-4 when scoring first in games, as well.
Goaltenders: Craig Pantano (36 saves, 5-4-2) // Tanner Jaillet (23 saves, 9-4-4)
Power Plays: Merrimack (1-4) | Denver (1-4)
Shots on Goal: 6-9 // 9-12 // 11-17 -- 26-38