Final: Merrimack 3, Huskies 2
The Huskies lost in OT on Saturday 3-2 to the Merrimack Warriors at Matthews. The loss means NU will finish the season 0-2-1 against Merrimack.
Photo Courtesy of Dave Luca
- Mike McLaughlin and Robby Dongara picked up goals for the Huskies.
- McLauglin, Joe Manno, and Drew Daniels each had an assist.
- Chris Rawlings saved 28 out of 31 shots.
- The Huskies were 0-7 on the PP, including a 5 minute major at the end of regulation. They also gave up a game winning, shorthanded goal in OT. Merrimack was 2-5 on the PP.
- The Huskies were outshot 31-19. They managed just 5 shots in the 3 period and OT to Merrimack’s 12.
What You Need to Know
- The Huskies jumped out to an early 2 goal lead but were unable to hold it.
- Both goals were scored by the 3rd line of Rob Dongara, Mike McLaughlin, and Joe Manno. The Huskies have had trouble finding consistent lines, but they may be getting close.
- Josh Manson was ejected early for a hit from behind in one of many questionable calls on the night. Late in the 3rd, a Merrimack player was ejected in similarly questionable situation.
- Kyle Bigos was gooning it up all night. Ryan Flanigan, who scored the game winner, was also a disgrace. He dove and faked injuries every chance he got. At the end of regulation, he put Mike McLaughlin in a head lock. McLaughlin threw him off, at which point Flanigan rolled around on the ice and begged for a call.
- The Huskies played much of the 2nd and 3rd with just 4 defenseman. Manson was kicked out early and Anthony Bitetto got hurt and had to go to the locker room for a while. He returned midway through the 3rd.
- The Huskies PP was again dreadful. Despite blowing the 2 goal lead, they were given a chance to a win with a 5 minute major PP for at the end of regulation. They were unsuccessful.
- Merrimack picked up another penalty with1 second left in regulation. So NU began No Tee OT on the Power Play.
- Not only did they not score, they also gave up the game winning goal during it. An OT loss on a shorthanded goal. Rough.
- No Tee OT failed yet again, leading some to call for its removal.
Another blown lead. Another game of missed opportunities. Another home loss. This formula is nothing new to you if you have followed the Huskies fro any amount of time, but it hurts all the same.
This loss can and should be blamed on 1 thing: the Power Play. Another 0 for. 7 straight minutes on the Power Play to end regulation and start OT is about the best case scenario you could ever ask for. The Huskies not only failed to convert, but allowed a shorthanded goal for Merrimack. Its just unacceptable. It never worked under Croninn and its looked equally as bad under Madigan. Its time for a new system. Merrimack played really stupid hockey last night. And despite giving NU 7 power plays, including an extended 5 on 3, the Huskies failed to punish them and ultimately lost because it. NU is a good team, they out played Merrimack for much of the weekend. But instead of coming out with 4 points, which they should have, they finish with just 1. And failing to convert countless PP chances is the reason why. It hurts to say this, but NU sucks on the PP.
Now onto the positives. The third line scored both goals. And they were both great goals. This line is quick and they used it to get 2 odd man rushes, which were both finished beautiful. Manno’s pass to McLaughlin was just as nice as the Captain’s finish. The next one was McLaughlin setting up Dong and then Dong pulling one of my favorite moves. With the goalie coming across with the pass, Dong could have stopped and tried to just get one a time flick before Cannata got over. Instead he just kept skating full speed right to the spot Cannata had just left and slid it into the empty net. It was a great goal. The shorthanded defense also deserves a shout out: Luke Eibler, Dan Cornell and Drew x2 all had to step up and play serious minutes. And they handled it very well. None of Merrimacks goals came even strength.
One last thing: the refs were awful. Kicking Josh Manson out was a ridiculous call. And it forced them to make an equally ridiculously call on Merrimack to make up for it. There was also no desire to call anything after the whistle. It was a chippy game and they were plenty of scrums after whistles. There were more than a few occasions where players got away with cross checks or two handed shoves right in front of officials.
So its yet another disappointing weekend for the Huskies despite some moments of quality. And they find themselves still buried deep in the standings with another tough weekened ahead. This team will get the wins, but the question of when still remains.