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Injuries plague Men’s Hockey, Warriors concede Third Straight Weekend

Marcus Antonelli – Sports Editor

DURHAM, NH. – Merrimack took the trek up to the Whittemore Center, where they were set to take on the UNH Wildcats. If there was anything either of these teams wanted, it was a W to walk away with.

The Wildcats, in the end, clawed their way victorious. Merrimack hasn’t won a game since January 13th. That was 22 days ago. (I really put the salt in the wound there didn’t I?)

Coming into this game, #18 UNH suffered a loss to the #3 BU Terriers the night prior, as did Merrimack to the #11 Massachusetts Minutemen.

The Warriors were without forwards Mac Welsher and Ethan Bono due to injuries suffered in that game against UMass. So it was back to 11 forwards for Coach Borek’s offense. 

(Based on the lineup, and counting who isn’t on it from the roster, Merrimack had 8 injuries for this game.)

The first period was underway and it didn’t take long for the Wildcats to start scratching. Junior forward Robert Cronin scored off a rebound shot from the point. Not even two minutes in, the score was 1-0 Wildcats

From there the first period was back and forth and UNH was present in the possession and physicality aspect. 

In the second period, the ‘Cats continued their disruption of flow. Merrimack had a difficult time getting control of possession and pucks on net. Later in the period, the boys mustered up some momentum and had UNH backing on their heels. Nonetheless, the score remained 1-0.

The third period was the same story, until about eight minutes to go. A costly turnover led to an unfriendly puck that bounced over Hugo Ollas, which made it a 2-0 lead for the Wildcats. 

The game finished with a final score of 3-1. UNH scored an empty netter and Ty Daneault scored his third goal in his last five games, continuing to be a key factor for Merrimack’s offense. 

The freshman notched the teams only goal with 2.6 seconds to go. Wildcats coach Mike Souza challenged it but regardless, UNH Goalie Jakob Hellsten’s shutout was no longer a possibility. 

A positive takeaway from this game was that Merrimack had 20 blocks (38 total on the weekend.) With how the roster has diminished in terms of injuries, both games this weekend saw the Warriors keep it a competitive showing. 

The boys will have a chance to get some revenge on the Wildcats in our beloved Lawler Rink this coming Saturday. It’ll be a “Pink the Rink” night hosted by Zeta Tau Alpha to spread Breast Cancer Awareness. If you’re attending, check your closet and cheer the boys on while wearing some pink! 

For more coverage on Merrimack Men’s Hockey follow me on Twitter (@antonelli7jr) for all things Warriors Hockey. Don’t forget to check out the Beacon Newspaper website for articles on games, players, and more!