Friars fall to Merrimack 5-2

Photo provided by Providence College
Photo provided by Providence College

NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. – Tyler Irvine’s pair of goals paced a five-goal third period for the Merrimack Warriors in a 5-2 win over the Providence College men’s hockey team on Friday afternoon at Lawler Rink.

Providence falls to 4-5-2 (1-3-1 HEA), while the Warriors get their first Hockey East win of the season to improve to 6-6-3 (1-3-2 HEA). Hayden Hawkey made 16 saves to fall to 4-5-2, while Drew Vogler improved to 5-5-3 with 21 stops. The Friars suffer their first loss to the Warriors since Nov. 8, 2014, a span of five games.

Providence came up empty on its first power play of the day, but the momentum carried over into their second chance as North Andover native Brian Pinho camped out front and deflected a Jake Walman point shot into the back of the net at 10:16.

Hawkey turned aside all six shots he faced in the opening period, including a shorthanded breakaway by Alfred Larsson late in the period.

A scoreless second period yielded just nine combined shots between the teams. Hawkey stopped six of those bids after Merrimack carried momentum throughout the period. Solid work on the penalty kill by the Friars held the Warriors off the scoreboard during a 4-on-3 for 1:06.

Shots on goal through two periods were 16-13 in favor of Providence.

The Warriors took advantage of a turnover in the Friars’ zone as Tyler Irvine snapped a shot inside the post past Hawkey to knot the game at one just 3:54 into the third. Merrimack continued the momentum and quickly struck for two more goals from Ludvig Larsson and Hampus Gustafsson to put the hosts up 3-1.

After an apparent Friar goal was waived off, the Warriors extended their lead to 4-1 as Chris LeBlanc found a hole under the left arm of Hawkey with under eight minutes to play. Vincent Desharnais’ wrister from center ice found its way into the back of the net with 1:04 to play to make it a 4-2 game but Irvine sealed things with an empty-netter to give the Warriors a 5-2 win.

The Friars will return home tomorrow night for a non-conference matchup against Colgate beginning at 7:05 p.m. at Schneider Arena.