North Andover, MA – Over half of last season’s championship team returned to the campus of Merrimack College on Saturday night to receive their Dineen Cup Championship Rings and unfurl their latest banners in Lawler Arena. Many of them traveled hours from their college campus to be there and GM/Head Coach Sean Tremblay couldn’t have been more pleased. “They are a special group and one nobody will ever forget. They earned their place in history and it was great to see the smiles and excitement when they placed their rings on their fingers.”
A couple hours later the night would be capped off with a 3-1 win over the visiting Boston Bandits. It would not be easy and if not for the heroics of Kalle Andersson in the first period stopping all 14 shots it could have easily gone the other way. Fortunately he showed why he is arguably the top goalie prospect in the east and goals by Mason Biddulph and Logan Fennema would give the IHC a 2-0 lead after two periods of play. Jack Moran (Maine) would assist on both goals.
The Bandits would strike at the 12:04 mark of the third when Mark Zhukov would put a rebound past Andersson for a one-goal game. Just over two-minutes later, Kam Ottenbreit would snap one shortside high on the penalty kill for what would be the eventual score of the game and take the pressure off the team.
The next day the team would travel to the Bandits for a 4pm tilt in Bridgewater, MA. Although playing well for two periods they would surrender a goal in the final minute of the first and second periods and find themselves down 2-0. Many line combinations would take place in the third resulting in a lot of pressure on Bandits goaltender Shane Conlon. The result would be a Hunter McCoy shorthanded goal and a rip from Nick Parody with under two minutes to play sending the game into OT and securing a much needed point on the road. However, the referee would find fault with 2-seconds left when Jack Moran glided into a Bandits player after the whistle and call him for roughing putting the Bandits on the PP for the start of OT. A controversial goal would be scored at the 1:19 mark when Zach Lindewirth would poke the puck from Kalle Andersson who appeared to have it covered. Nonetheless the goal would stand and give the Bandits the 3-2 OT victory.
The IHC will get back to work next weekend when the host the CT Rangers on Saturday (2pm) and Sunday (12pm) in Lawler Arena.
Bobby Murray is still on the IR list and is expected to return within a week or two.
Special thanks to Liam Darcy, JJ Layton, Matt Dillon, George Sennott, Brent Hill, Louis-Felix St-Jean, Tyler Levine, Sam Nestor, Lucas Michaud, Pepper Sawyer, Michael Hardy, James Mosco, Emily Smith, Ryan Dowling, and the Pearson Family for attending the home opener to receive their rings.
Also a shout out to Michael McCarthy and his volunteer crew, Stephanie Wood, the entire IHC staff, as well as the rink staff for making the Home Opener Night a success.