Warriors stun #5 Umass Amherst in late comeback
This weekend proved Merrimack’s Hockey team has that dawg in them. After a hard fought game out west, MC fell short. Losing in overtime at Mullins Center on Friday. The boys came back to Lawler looking to get even and finish the weekend slate with a dub. If you missed this game I feel awful for you.
Saturday night approached quickly as the Lawler Faithful poured into the stands with a fueled hatred of the Grey and Maroon. Fans of UMass were booed horrendously and players were given the business. Everyone seeked revenge, and a win for Merrimack would send a shock through Hockey East.
UMass in the first period was dominating on both sides of the puck. Despite The Minutemen gifting Merrimack two power plays, their penalty kill showed valor, not allowing a single shot towards their goaltender Cole Brady, a Junior transfer from ASU. The Maroon cut away passing lanes, had great puck movement and a relentless forecheck. Nonetheless, Merrimack held their own and kept the score 0-0.
However the momentum shifted early in the second period. About 4 minutes in, Merrimack defenseman Trevor Griebel fired a shot from the point that was blocked by UMass’s Reed Lebster. Lebster would take advantage of the loose puck and score on the breakaway, pressing the mute button on Lawler. The rest of the period felt like nap time during Kindergarten.
After the second concluded, the Lawler faithful didn’t have much faith despite being down only 1-0. As many left the student section to go prepare for parties. (You know who you were.) Those who remained used all the lung capacity they had left to push Merrimack back.
19 minutes transpired in the 3rd and it’s been all Merrimack, chance after chance passed by but still Cole Brady stood tall. But the unthinkable happened. When all hope was lost the sheer grace of God shone upon the Augustinian colleges hockey team. With 32 seconds left Mac Welsher off the faceoff buried a shot behind the net. It’s 1-1 and the place erupts. Overtime would commence once again.
UMass started OT, trying to retain possession of the puck but failed miserably. Momentum was on MC’s side. In Merrimack’s second attempt it was Ben Brar who beat Brady and his defender. Brar would score and salute the Minutemen goodbye. You couldn’t describe the moment, it was just poetry in motion. Every fan at Lawler was stunned by the result. MC wins 2-1.
Merrimack, doing the impossible, solidified a top 5 spot in the Hockey East standings, securing 4 points vs Amherst; the most by any of the Minutemen’s opponents this season. The Warriors never gave up and never surrendered, firing 34 shots compared to UMass’s mere 19. I guess they just didn’t bring enough gunpowder to North Andover.