On the 11th day of March on the 11th hour of the 11th minute, #11 Mick Messner for Merrimack College snuck a wrist shot past Boston College goaltender Mitch Benson in double OT to send the Warriors back to the TD Garden for the first time since 2011. How many elevens is that?
If there was one college hockey game you could’ve gone to in your whole life, this one would’ve been perfect. Both the Warriors and the Eagles were hot coming into this game. Merrimack was on a 5 game win streak heading into the postseason while BC on the other hand came into Lawler after DOMINATING the defending Hockey East champs UMass Amherst, winning 5-2 in the first round.
If you didn’t watch or go to the game, you missed out. What lacked in goals was made up for with an intense back and forth game, wearing out not only the players, but the fans as well.
No team gave an edge. The neutral zone was No Man’s Land, where the puck never settled. Both teams had several power plays, but defense prevailed nonetheless. For both teams, the game saw a combined blocked shot count of 42. If there was a chance on offense, it was stopped by netminders Hugo Ollas (MC) and Mitch Benson (BC). Both faced 36 shots and kept their teams in the game.
By the second overtime, many fans were worn out. It felt like no one would ever score. Soon enough the grace of St. Augustine shone through. Forward Ryan Leibold (#9) entered the offensive zone untouched and dropped a pass for Messner; his shot caught Benson but trickled under him and past the goal line. The goal was followed by a fitting “heartbreaker” celly.
Merrimack’s 1-0 win gave them a trip to the TD Garden, where they will face UMass Lowell in the Hockey East semifinal on Friday the 17th. Lowell met Merrimack twice towards the end of the regular season, where the Warriors had taken both games. However, this shouldn’t make MC the favorite, as Lowell toughed out a 2-1 win at UCONN to advance to the semis.
Last year, Lowell ended Merrimack’s postseason, beating us 7-2 in the Tsongas Center and embarrassing the Warriors. With the Riverhawks as a rival, MC should have a little more fire under their behinds coming into this game and to seek revenge.
Why Not Us?