North Andover, Mass. -- It was a physical battle that emulated a late February game rather than one in early October.
In front of a packed house at Lawler Rink on the school's homecoming weekend, Merrimack College capitalized on its chances en route to a 3-1 win over St. Lawrence.
"Little early for a playoff game," remarked Merrimack coach Mark Dennehy. "We had great energy in the building for homecoming."
"I thought it was a really great team win," added sophomore goaltender Collin Delia. "We had a lot of chances. They had a lot of chances. It was back and forth all night. The boys played great in front of me."
It was the second consecutive win over an ECAC foe on the weekend for the Warriors, who start the season 2-0 for the second year in a row.
"We knew they were going to play hard. We know how good they are. That's a team that's going to compete for an NCAA bid, but I thought we answered the bell. We matched their intensity. We made a couple more plays and ended up with a hard fought win," explained Dennehy.
Merrimack drew first blood 2:53 into the second period off a face-off win by Justin Hussar who drew it right back to Brian Christie at the top of the circle. Christie wasted no time, snapping a wrist shot off that cleanly beat Kyle Hayton glove-side.
Brett Seney scored the game-winning goal with 3:58 to play in the middle frame on a brilliant individual effort. The sophomore picked up a puck in the neutral zone and raced into the Saints zone down the right side. He cut past one defender before tucking a shot in the top near corner of the net for a 2-0 lead.
"I saw Johnny [Lashyn] get it behind the net. I just wanted to pick up some speed. He made a nice play to me. I saw a hole and got around the defenseman. I saw the goalie had his glove down so I just put it over top," explained Seney.
St. Lawrence cut the deficit in half 7:56 into the third period. Freshman Michael Ederer scored his first collegiate goal, taking a hard wrist from just inside the blue line as he zipped down the left side in transition.
The Warriors gained some breathing room with 2:15 left in the game. Hampus Gustafsson and Mike Babcock cycled the puck out to the right circle. Chris LeBlanc won a battle for a loose puck and on his second attempt, he beat Hayton high above his glove.
"Chris has gotten off to a great start for us. It's great to see him playing hard. He's winning battles. It was a big goal," Dennehy commented.
Delia made 21 saves for his second win of the weekend in his first year as the full time starter. The Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. native allowed just two goals over the course of the two games.
"[Delia] was excellent all weekend. Our goalies only have to make one save: the game-winning save. He's done that. We're really confident with him. He's gotten off to a good start," said Dennehy.
"I can't tell you how many blocked shots the defense had. It was amazing," said Delia, who credited the team in front of him.
Merrimack opens up conference play next weekend with a Friday night tilt against archrival UMass Lowell. St. Lawrence continues its stretch of nonconference action with a two-game set at home against Miami.
Jeff Cox covers college, junior, high school and prep hockey, NCAA recruiting and NHL Draft prospects. Follow him on Twitter @JeffCoxSports.