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Thursday, July 7, 2022
Home Sports NHL Merrimack comes from behind again to sweep UMass Lowell

Merrimack comes from behind again to sweep UMass Lowell


Photo: Jim Stankiewicz / Merrimack Athletics

It’s been almost 11 years since a Merrimack men’s hockey team was as hot as this current version of the Warriors.

With Saturday’s 3-2 come-from-behind victory over UMass Lowell at the Tsongas Center, the Warriors extended their winning streak to five games. Four of those games came against national opponents (Lowell and Providence).

The last time a Merrimack team was on such a streak was October 15-29, 2011, when the Warriors started the season 9-0-1 and were No. 1 in the country at the end of November.

Merrimack improved the season to 12-10-1, and the Warriors are 12-6-1 in games decided in regulation (0-4 in 3-on-3 overtime games). The last time a Merrimack team was at least two games over .500 at this stage of the season was 2015.

More importantly, Merrimack moved up to number 14 in the Paarwys rankings, which could possibly qualify them for the NCAA Tournament at the moment (pending not too much upset in the conference tournaments). Two weeks ago, before this five-game winning streak, the Warriors were number 29 and were as many as 14 places out of a bid.

“I’m really proud of our team,” said Merrimack’s head coach Scott Borek. “Being behind 2-0 and then finding a way to get through and get the victory was very nice to see. It was a whole team effort.

“We felt we had a strong team. They stayed together. There were some situations that happened during the game that were stressful, but our guys played for each other. Our self-confidence is high, individually and collectively. Every game is a meal, and it will not change anything. Our next game will also be a time, but we have some momentum, which is good. ”

Perhaps even more impressive than just the series is who beat the Warriors as part of it.

It started two weeks ago with Bentley, who cut a five-game winning streak for the Hawks.

Then, over the past eight days, the Warriors scored four wins over Providence and UMass Lowell, two national programs that Borek consistently used as an example for the type of program he wanted to build at Merrimack.

“It gave us an identity,” he said. “We have been trying to find it for a while. To succeed against those two teams, knowing how hard they play, these are tough games. … Providence and Lowell are the same, in the sense that you know to enter the match it’s going to be a fight. “I love the way they play, and I’m very happy with how we played and how we kept being aggressive in that type of game.”

The Warriors experienced some prospective breakaways on Saturday. After a draw first period, Reid Stefanson put the River Hawks on the board with just two seconds left in the opening frame to take a 1-0 lead in the locker room.

“It was just a mistake,” Borek said. “It was not a problem of difficulty. We did not do a good job of covering the recharge. Our third forward was too low and was too aggressive. But we knew we were not out of it. Our guys believe we can score points. ”

Blake Wells doubled Lowell’s lead halfway through the second period.

The Warriors, believing they could score, just kept at it. Three minutes after conceding 2-0, Liam Walsh scored his first of two power play goals to make it 2-1. Jake Durflinger redirect a puck of Filip Forsmark three minutes later to level the game and then Walsh’s second power play gave the Warriors the lead early in the third period.

Walsh ended the weekend with four points.

Yet the adversity was not over.

Just 1:18 after taking the lead, Merrimack goalkeeper Zachary Borgiel was hit from behind in his crease by Lowell forward Andre Lee. It did not look like malicious contact, but Borgiel did not see it coming and had to leave the match.

A few minutes before the injury, Borgiel made one of the best saves of the season and stretched from pole to pole to block a Carl Berglund shot with his blocker.

Hugo Potte made four saves in the last 11:14 to clinch the victory.

“His neck bothered him,” Borek said. “We knew he would not be able to finish the game, that’s for sure.

“I did not really see what happened. From what I was told by the officers, their player came from behind him and it was not intentional, but Zach did not know the player was behind him. He hit his head, but there was a whiplash there. He was stunned. I do not know if we will know where he is until probably Monday. Hugo entered in a difficult place, but played well. “

The Warriors will not have much time to smell the roses. After off days on Sunday and Monday, Merrimack will travel to Hartford to face Connecticut Tuesday night at the XL Center.

“We always just look at the next opponent,” Borek said. “You will be overwhelmed if you look at the whole schedule, especially in our league. Now we only focus on the next one. ”

Portions of this story will appear in Sunday’s Eagle Tribune

Merrimack 3, No. 10 UMass Lowell 2
at Tsongas Center
Merrimack (12-10-1):   0-2-1--3
UMass Lowell (13-4-3): 1-1-0--2
First Period: 1. UML Reid Stefanson 5 (Andre Lee, Carl Berglund), ev, 19:58.
Second Period: 2. UML Blake Wells 2 (Brian Chambers, Connor Sodergren), ev, 8:20; 3. MC Liam Walsh 4 (Ben Brar, Filip Forsmark), pp, 11:49; 4. MC Jake Durflinger 2 (Filip Forsmark, Adam Arvedsson), ev, 14:41.
Third Period: 5. MC Liam Walsh 5 (Zach Uens, Declan Carlile), pp, 7:28.
Shots: Merrimack 7-15-7--29; UMass Lowell 8-9-7--24
Saves: MC Borgiel (48:46) 18/20; Ollas (11:14) 4/4; UML Henry Welsch (59:12) 26/29
Penalties: Merrimack 3-6:00; UMass Lowell 4-8:00
Power Play: Merrimack 2 for 4; UMass Lowell 0 for 3
Attendance: 5,471



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