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Merrimack clinches NCAA Tournament, Despite Gut Wrenching Finals loss to BU

Marcus Antonelli

Staff Writer

It never feels good. When you’re one goal away from lifting a trophy you’ve never lifted before. When you have a chance to raise a banner you never have raised before. When you worked so hard to get under the rafters at TD Garden and come up short. It sucks. It hurts that I’m writing this.

Merrimack loses the Hockey East final to Boston University 3-2 in overtime. To recap, Merrimack started hot in the first going up 1-0 in the first despite being short handed. A nice pass from Ben Brar to Christian Felton off the rush. After the fact, Merrimack had three more penalties called against them in that same period. Two of them called 10 seconds apart from each other with under a minute in the first. Coincidence?

Not even a minute into the second, and Lane Hutson made it a tie game on the 5 on 3 powerplay. Then late in the second period, right after the commercial break off the draw it was Mac Welsher who made the game 2-1. This lead would carry on halfway through the 3rd period before BU’s Devin Kaplan, who snuck a wrister under Hugo Ollas’s arm to tie it.

Heading into OT, Merrimack fans felt confident knowing that we had been in this position twice before. But 2 minutes in BU won the race on a dump in, the puck got back to the Hockey East Rookie of the Year, Hutson, who flung a shot past several bodies, and above Hugo Ollas’s glove.

With all that, we cannot discredit Merrimack from what they accomplished not only this year but in the past few years in the Scott Borek era. From 2018 starting at only 7 wins, Borek took this team from nothing all the way back to the Hockey East final. 

Merrimack however does have some more positivity to come out of this devastating loss. They clinched a spot in the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2011. 

And they will be playing the Quinnipiac Bobcats. 

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