The Wayne State Warriors (2-2-0) came close to pulling off a rare road sweep, but a were forced to settle for a split in their two-game set against the Merrimack Warriors (2-3-0) at the Thom Lawler Arena in North Andover, Massachusetts.
The Warriors used a brilliant special teams effort to roll to a 5-1 win over Merrimack in the series opener on Friday night.
Freshman Stavros Paskaris (2-1--3) started the scoring with a shorthanded marker in the first period. Then after Merrimack tied the scoring early in the second period, Nate Higgins (1-3--4) notched the eventual game winner at the 10:28 mark.
Jason Baclig (1-3--4), Mike Forgie (3-1--4), and Jason Bloomingburg (6-0--) each added power-play goals as the Warriors moved their season record to 2-1-0.
Junior Matt Kelly got his first start of the season in the Wayne State net and turned aside 23 of 24 shots.
WSU finished the night with a 3-9 power-play effort and held Merrimack to 0-8.
Wayne State had the sweep all but wrapped up until giving up three unanswered, third period power-play goals in Saturday’s 5-4 loss.
The two Warrior squads traded goals in the first and second periods and were deadlocked at 2 after forty minutes of play. John May (1-1--2) and Forgie scored for Wayne State lit the lamp for the Warriors in the second period.
Wayne State came out hot in the third with Bloomingburg and linemate Tylor Michel (2-3--5) to open up a 4-2 lead.
Then in a span of just over four minutes, Merrimack fired in a 4 on 3, 5 on 3, and finally a 5 on 4 power play goal to rip away the win.
Brian Schmidt led the way with a pair of markers and Matt Byrnes registered 4 assists to lead Merrimack.
Kelly made his second straight start in net for the Warriors and stopped 25 of 30 shots.
The Wayne State special teams that were so good in the team’s first three games, sputtered on Saturday by going 0-12 on the power-play and rewarding Merrimack with a 4-12 effort with the man-advantage.
Wayne State will return home and host the Canisius Golden Griffins (1-2-0) in a pair of non-conference games at the Compuware Arena in Plymouth on Saturday night and Sunday afternoon.