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Warriors Hockey send UMaine into Hibernation

Marcus Antonelli

Merrimack took yet another two wins over the weekend. This time it was the Maine Black Bears who came in looking for their first win against a Hockey East opponent. The boys would deny them that opportunity behind Matt Copponi’s 3 goals and unsung hero Slava Demin, who had 3 assists over the weekend. Merrimack has now won 5 straight games in a row and the vibes are immaculate. Here is how the weekend went.

Game 1 on friday was a dog fight as both sides were neck and neck at each other the whole game. Matt Copponi would cash the only goal scored for MC off a rebound created by Alex Jefferies in the first period. Maine controlled most of the game with a high press forecheck and great neutral zone defense. 

Maine fired a whopping 33 shots on goal but that didn’t matter as our beloved Hugo Ollas denied the Black Bears left and right, notching his second career shutout. The boys snuck by with a 1-0 win.

Game 2 on Saturday saw a lot more action. Merrimack would come out the gates flying behind Matt Copponi who scored 2 of 3 goals in the first period, with his second being tallied under 2 seconds left (both scored on the PP.) The second period began with defenseman Zach Bookman scoring his first collegiate goal on Merrimack’s third power play, giving the Warriors a 4-1 lead. 

Maine however didn’t let up. The Black Bears would amount to a comeback that saw them down only a goal. MC would hold on as Ben Brar would put the cherry on top with an empty net goal. The Warriors would win 5-3. 

Merrimack defeated a fierce, young Black Bear team that is 5th in the country in Penalty Kill percentage. The Warriors are now 8-3-0 overall and are ranked 15th in the country, securing a safe spot in the Top 20. In Hockey East they are 6-1-0-1-1-0 with 18 points; making them the #2 seed in the division. Knocking on UConns doorstep who sit atop the HEA with 20 points. 

Merrimack has little time to rest as they’ll journey to Bridgeport, CT on Thursday for a date with the #23 SHU Pioneers. Who are undefeated at home, 2-0-0. While Sacred Hearts has played 8 games on the road, MC has had an advantage playing with the comforts of home. So they’ll have to get out of their shell if they want to keep their hot streak going.

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