Home > News > Warriors slay No. 10 Providence behind 46 saves from Hugo Ollas

Warriors slay No. 10 Providence behind 46 saves from Hugo Ollas

Marcus Antonelli – Sports Editor

Pat Casey – Sports Writer

Photo by Nate Tacey (@natetaceyphotography)

The regular season is winding down for the Warriors. For a team in their position, any form of momentum is beneficial heading into the playoffs.

Merrimack (13-19-1, 6-16-1 HE) looked to bounce back against No. 10 Providence (18-11-3, 11-8-3 HE) after losing 4-2 down in Friartown the night prior. 

In the comforts of Lawler Rink, they bounced back, and boy was it euphoric.

THE RECAP

The pregame wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows. Notable omissions from the lineup sheets included the likes of forward Alex Jefferies, goaltender Zachary Borgiel and Matt Copponi, the teams scoring leader. 

The first period began and saw Providence firing on all cylinders. At the halfway point of the first, Merrimack had yet to tally a shot. PC had as many as ten shots up to that point. 

Not a bad period from MC but Providence seemed to be carrying the play through the first twenty, nonetheless, the score remained 0-0. Hugo Ollas amassed 15 saves through the frame. He was on one tonight.

Second period saw a continuation of Providence chances early on. Once again, thanks to the stellar play from Hugo Ollas, the dam never broke. 

Eleven minutes into the second, Merrimack found themselves on an odd-man rush with Mac Welsher and Michael Citara. Welsher connected with Citara who roofed it on Providence netminder Philip Svedeback and it was 1-0 Warriors. A much needed goal for #22, who hadn’t scored since November 15th of 2023. 

“It was awesome,” said Citara, “I’ve kinda been on a slow second half, but definitely awesome to score right about now, especially against my old team and when we’re heading into playoffs.”

The tallies for Merrimack would not stop there. Five minutes later, the third line generated once again. Mike Citara slipped a pass to Max Wattvil on the blue line, who fired it on net and the puck trickled in off a Mac Welsher tip. Merrimack led 2-0. 

Despite the MC lead, shots on goal through forty minutes were a whopping 32-12 in favor of Providence. The Warriors, without a doubt, made the most of their chances. 

The third period began on the flip side for Merrimack when Providence winger Liam Valente was able to finally break Hugo Ollas on the 38th shot of the game for the Friars.

PC, throughout the third, continued to put pucks on net. Merrimack, however, clogged lanes and did a fantastic job in breaking up plays to help Ollas lock it up as time ticked down. 

Despite the constant pressure from the Friars in the dying embers, Merrimack held on and secured the three points.

Hugo Ollas finished the game with a career high 46 saves. For Ollas, the more shots faced, the better for him.

“Even though I got a lot of shots, I think my game was a lot easier than the opposing goalie Svedeback,” tells Hugo, “Cause I’m always getting shots. I’m keeping warm, I’m staying in the game the whole time while he’s just standing down there from time to time.”

Merrimack still sits at 10th with 21 points in the Hockey East. Regardless, the win means more than just a number in the conference standings.

“Every win is a big one,” tells Coach Borek, “certainly at this time of year to come back….and for us to beat a really good team like that in that situation was big, and hopefully we can bring that moving forward.”

The Warriors have the week to rest and rejuvenate before they’ll play their final game of the season. No. 1 Boston College will roll back into North Andover looking to sweep the Warriors on March 9th for a 7 PM puck drop.

Merrimack, with three W’s in their last five games, are looking to get some revenge on the Eagles.

For more coverage on Merrimack Men’s Hockey follow Pat (@caseykid12) and Marcus (@antonelli7jr) on Twitter (X) for all things Warriors Hockey. Don’t forget to check out the Beacon Newspaper website for articles on games, players, and more!

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