NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. -- Aidan Bennardo made 13 stops, including eight in a hotly contested second half, pushing top-ranked Adelphi University past Merrimack College, 12-10, on Saturday. With the victory, the Panthers remain perfect at 13-0 overall and 10-0 in the Northeast-10, while the Warriors fall to 9-4 and 8-2 in conference action.
Salvatore Tuttle and Ikerson Hopper led the Adelphi offense. Tuttle found the back of the Merrimack goal on five occasions, while Hopper scored twice and added a helper. Tim Daly, Robert Rossi, Gregory Puskuldjian, and Connor Duddy each contributed one goal to the win and Brandon Goodwin came up with a goal of his own, while earning two assists.
Tyler Felice Jennings was a disruptive force on the defensive end for the Brown and Gold, causing three Merrimack turnovers, while Ralph Faiella, Hopper and Tuttle ere each credited with one. Puskuldjian was a force at the face-off "X", winning 19 of 24 attempts and collecting a game-high 10 ground balls. Bennardo, picked up his 13th win of he season, making 13 saves, including eight in the second half.
Adelphi opened the game on fire, scoring five of the first six goals of the game, all off of different sticks, to close the first 15 minutes of action with a comfortable, 5-1 advantage. The Panthers kept the pressure on, scoring three straight goals, between Merrimack tallies, including two from Tuttle, heading into the locker room with an 8-3 lead at the half.
The hosts, scoring the first two goals of the third quarter, and held the Brown and Gold to just one score, a Tuttle goal, off a Goodwin feed at the 4:29 mark, cutting Adelphi's margin to four, 9-5. The action really heated up in the fourth quarter, as Merrimack scored four of the first five, pulling to within one goal on a tally with 6:24 remaining, 10-9. Tuttle answered the bell for the Panthers, scoring 26 seconds later to push Adelphi's lead back to two, 11-9.
However, the hosts were undaunted, responding with a score of their own 33 seconds later to pull back within one, 11-10. That was as close as the Warriors would get, after four minutes of back and forth action, Robert Rossi managed to put a ripple in the back of the Merrimack goal, to give Adelphi its final margin of victory, 12-10.
The Panthers out shot Merrimack, 42-35, picked up more ground balls, 40-26 and won more face-offs, 20-6 in the victory.