The Mack Report

My Take: Merrimack 4, Army 2

NORTH ANDOVER – Merrimack freshman Vinny Scotti came up with the biggest goal of his young career, netting the game-winner with just over seven minutes to play as Merrimack defeated Army on Tuesday night at Lawler Arena, 4-2.

Scotti beat Army goalie Rob Tadazak with a shot after a wide shot by fellow freshman Justin Hussar found its way to his stick at the bottom of the left circle.

Shot barrage: Merrimack threw 94 shot attempts on Army sophomore goaltender Rob Tadazak. The Black Knights blocked a whopping 23 shots, with 46 making their way to Tadazak, who turned aside 42 of the 45 shots he faced (the Warriors added an empty netter). The Warriors offense shrunk the ice for large stretches, with some of the best work in the offensive zone that the Warriors have displayed all season.

Tradazak tremendous: Rob Tadazak was tremendous. That’s all I can say. He’s the only reason that Army was still in the game during the first period, where the Warriors really turned up the heat. The Black Knights were battling bus legs, having taking the roughly four-hour ride from West Point to North Andover yesterday afternoon, and the Warriors outshot Army 19-4 in the first period, but, Tadazak stopped every shot. Tadazak not only had to stop a high volume of shots, but the Warriors were buzzing around Army’s zone for large stretches early in the game, meaning Tadazak had to stay on his toes. Once Army got its legs, the Black Knights were able to transition out of some Merrimack pressure to create chances on their own at the other end.

Doing their best: Merrimack played, what I thought, was one of their best games of the season. There have been times this season where the Warriors were too much on their heels, too reactionary to what their opponent was doing, but the Warriors were on the attack against Army. It was something that head coach Mark Dennehy stressed after the game as well – initiating more of the game’s tempo.

 Bring the hard hats: I’m always impressed with Army’s style. You’d be hard-pressed to find a harder working team than the Black Knights. The game was physical from the start, including a first-period skirmish after Shawn Bates poked a puck into the Army net right as a whistle blew. Later, Kyle Singleton found himself wrapped up with Army’s Josh Richards in the neutral zone.
Power surge: Merrimack’s power play looked much better from the weekend. They moved the puck quickly, which really created a lot of space. Even at even strength, the Warriors’ puck skills seemed far and away better than this past weekend against Harvard and the U-18 team.