Oct. 10, 2003
NORTH ANDOVER, MA - Senior Tim Reidy scored a pair of goals for Merrimack College as his teammates peppered Sacred Heart goalie Kevin LaPointe (Quebec, QC) with 42 shots to lead the Warriors to a 4-2 win over the Pioneers in the 2003-04 season opener for both teams.
The Pioneers found themselves in an early 2-0 hole as Merrimack senior Marco Rosa scored just 15 seconds into the game. His goal was followed quickly by one from sophomore Brent Gough, who broke in with a two on one rush with sophomore Matt Johnson at the 3:35 mark of the first period.
Sacred Heart would answer just as a Pioneers power play expired with a goal from freshman Pierre-Luc O'Brien (Westbank, BC). The goal, the first of O'Brien's collegiate career, was assisted by junior Ryan Bremner (Williams Lake, BC).
Play would settle down after that offensive outburst to start the game as both teams played much better defensively as the period wore on. While the Warriors did have more scoring chances the Pioneers were able to hold off their attack.
"We responded well to the slow start," said Sacred Heart coach Shaun Hannah. "It just took a few minutes to get our game legs under us after only practicing for four days."
Merrimack's best chance to extend their lead came when sophomore Rob LaLonde tipped a cross-ice pass on goal, but couldn't get it past the outstretched right pad of Pioneers junior goaltender LaPointe.
The Pioneers would enter the second period shorthanded and narrowly escaped without surrendering a goal as Gough camped out at the top of LaPointe's goal crease, but was unable to put the stuff attempt home.
Shortly after Pioneers senior captain Chuck Metcalfe (Edmonton, AB) had a tip attempt of his own that went just wide of the Warriors goal.
O'Brien would tie the game at 2-2 with his second goal of the game at 5:23 of the second period. The puck took a strange bounce off the dasher in the near corner and careened in front of the net where O'Brien was waiting.
The Warriors tried to get the lead back immediately after the Pioneers goal, but LaPointe was there to squeeze the pads and prevent the goal. He would then catch a break as a shot off the ensuing face-off got by him, hitting the post and deflecting wide of the net.
Merrimack would get another quality scoring chance as they broke in on a two on one advantage. Junior Steve Crusco would fire a shot that hit the crossbar. A small scrum would ensue after the play, resulting in a Merrimack power play.
That power play would end as Merrimack received a penalty of their own and after 18-seconds gave the Pioneers a power play opportunity. The Warriors would kill off the penalty without any damage on the scoreboard.
The third period would open with Merrimack regaining the lead at 3-2. Reidy would score on the power play from junior Tony Johnson and Crusco 1:11 into the period.
Senior Michael Reagan (Flin Flon, MB) would have an excellent chance to tie the game as he tipped a centering feed just wide of the net with less than five minutes remaining in the third period.
Reagan would then be called for a goaltender interference penalty, putting Merrimack on the power play once again. The Warriors would capitalize again as Reidy scored his second of the game from LaLonde and Johnson to seal the game.
Despite the loss, Hannah had praise for a couple of his players. "Kevin LaPointe had a great night as we expected," he said. "He's played in big games for us before. And Pierre-Luc did what we thought he would coming in this year. He can play a variety of roles for us as the season goes on."