Hugo Ollas made 30 saves in his collegiate debut, but it wasn’t enough. Merrimack fell to Colgate, 2-1, in overtime to begin a two-game series at Class of 1965 Arena.
“Hugo played with a lot of confidence,” said acting head coach Bob Emery. “He was very poised. Most people would be jittery before their first college game but I saw a lot of confidence in Hugo, even before the game. He was square to the puck and he played a solid game.”
Ollas was put to the test right away when the Warriors had to kill a 5-on-3 power play in the first period of the game.
Merrimack killed all five penalties it faced in the game.
“We took too many penalties,” Emery said. “Hugo was our best penalty killer but our kill overall was good.
“We did a good job forcing them to go offside. I think they went offside three or four times in the first period. We were good on their zone entries and battling for loose pucks.”
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Colgate scored the game’s first goal in the second period but the Warriors answered back and tied the game back up 1:24 after the Raiders took the lead. On Merrimack’s goal, Max Newton finished a feed from Alex Jefferies on a 2-on-1.
“We answered the bell,” Emery said. “That was a great play by Max and Alex.”
Merrimack finished with 20 shots on goal, but only five shots came in the third period and overtime. Merrimack was out-attempted 24-12 over the final 25 minutes of the game.
Colgate finished with 12 blocked shots; Merrimack blocked 14 shots.
“I’ve seen a lot of teams pack it in, but I haven’t seen a team pack it in like Colgate in a long time,” Emery said. “They do a five-man net front. We could not penetrate. We need to do a better job trying to spread them out and we need to scratch and claw to get rebounds.”
In the overtime, Colton Young scooped up a puck in the neutral zone and banged the puck off the far post and in from the right slot.
“We have worked (on 5-on-3) but have we worked on it enough? I’m not sure,” Emery said. “We have worked on it quite a bit but there are so many things to practice early in the season. I think you can say that about nine or 10 other parts of the game, too.
“What I’ve seen on 3-on-3 is that teams usually sit back and wait for mistakes and then try to jump on those mistakes more so than trying to create offense and trying to do things in a risky manner. I think the idea was that they wanted more run-and-gun but it’s slower than they thought. It’s easier to score a goal, but it happens slowly.”
Merrimack and Colgate close out the series on Saturday at 4 p.m.
Merrimack wore their road blue jerseys while Colgate wore their home white shirts. … Max Newton was terrific on faceoffs and went 21-4 on the night. … Devlin ‘O’Brien had two shots on goal and blocked three shots (leading all forwards) in his debut. … Declan Carlile and Zach Uens led Merrimack in shot attempts (7).
Colgate 2, Merrimack 1 at Class of 1965 Arena Merrimack (1-2-0): 0-1-0-0—1 Colgate (4-0-0): 0-1-0-1—2 First Period: None. Second Period: 1. CU Tommy Bergsland (Colton Young, Ethan Manderville), ev, 10:16; 2. MC Max Newton (Alex Jefferies, Ben Brar), ev, 11:40. Third Period: None. Overtime: 3. CU Colton Young (Josh McKechney, Jeff Stewart), ev, 3:17. Shots: Merrimack 8-7-4-1—20; Colgate 11-10-8-3—32 Saves: MC Ollas 11-9-8-2—30; CU Gylander 8-6-4-1—19 Penalties: MC 5-10:00; CU 2-4:0 Power Play: Merrimack 0 for 2; Colgate 0 for 5