NHIAA Hockey: Merrimack remains undefeated with win over Bow
Merrimack's Ryan Downie gets checked to the ice by Bow's Nate Courriveau in the first period of Wednesday's game at West Side Arena in Manchester. (DAVID LANE/UNION LEADER)
MANCHESTER - Scoring isn't much of a problem for the Merrimack High School hockey team, so there's no reason to panic even when it gives up a goal just seconds into a game.
The Tomahawks managed to rebound from a quick strike by Bow and, powered by two goals from Jason Fortin, remained perfect with a 3-1 win in a battle of undefeated Division II teams at West Side Arena on Wednesday.
"We know, essentially, it's going to be tough for teams to shut down a Connor (Powell), a Dom (Valluzzi) or a Jason," Merrimack coach Kurt Mithoefer said. "We have a lot of offensive power."
Merrimack moves to 5-0 while the Falcons, who needed just 12 seconds to score their lone goal, are now 3-1-1.
Bow struck quickly with a strong rush off the opening face-off. Tomahawks goalie Brett Glendye made saves on the first two shots he faced, but the second rebound went right to Matt Murray in front and he buried it to make it 1-0 just 12 seconds in.
"That's what we were hoping, to get a good start," Bow coach Tim Walsh said. "But obviously you can't win a game in the first minute."
Merrimack responded well. It killed off a power play and then went on the offensive with a charge led by Fortin.
The sophomore defenseman carried the puck behind the Bow net and made a nifty move to beat a Falcons defender. He played the puck to himself off the back of the net, spun back to the direction he came from, moved out front and roofed a shot by Bow goalie Connor Simpson (33 saves).
That tied the game 1-1 with 11:28 left in the first.
"I just tried to do what I could," Fortin said.
He did a little more later in the period when he gave the Tomahawks the lead for good.
This time it was amidst some confusion in front of the Bow net. Simpson had made a save, but the puck remained in the crease. Fortin quickly pounced on it and flipped the puck by Simpson for the power-play goal to make it 2-1 at the six-minute mark.
The Falcons' best chances to tie the game came late in the second period. The first was when they had a couple of swipes in front of the net with about two minutes left.
Then, with about 1:30 remaining in the period, they got a 2-on-1 with Chris Fournier and Murray but Glendye made the save on a shot by Murray. It was one of his 30 on the day.
"That's what is frustrating about (Merrimack)," Walsh said. "They're talented and they make you pay for your mistakes."
Merrimack had all the good scoring opportunities in the third.
One was when Powell made a nice move to beat a defenseman and deked around Simpson, but missed the open net with 12:00 left to play.
Shortly after that, Valluzzi hit the crossbar with a shot and the Tomahawks finally got the insurance when Tyler Brewster scored with 2:39 left to play.
"We started off a little slow," Fortin said. "But we ended up getting there the way we wanted to."