Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

UMass and Merrimack amp up play in second period

The Minutemen secure a two-goal second period
Devin Lippman
Daily Collegian (2024)

The Massachusetts hockey team bounced back from a lull in its second half of the season with an aggressive front in the second period against Merrimack.

Looking to keep the Warriors (9-10-1, 2-7-1 Hockey East) at bay, UMass (12-5-3, 5-3-2 HEA) put up a two-goal campaign to give it a 3-1 lead roughly halfway through the period.

“I [liked] the way we were playing in the second period,” head coach Greg Carvel said. “I thought we were really doing good things in the offensive zone.”

Coming off of his time at World Juniors, Dans Locmelis placed himself in the right circle opposite of where the Warriors’ goaltender Zachary Borgiel was focused. Taking in a quick pass, the freshman had an open opportunity. Capitalizing off of it, Locmelis locked in a Minuteman goal.

“[Locmelis] had a goal, it’s good to have him back… He’s an important player,” Carvel said.

The lamp-lighter started with Aydar Suniev’s attempt to rebalance himself, swiping the puck over to Linden Alger. The senior defenseman took control of the puck, weaving around the Warriors and looked like he was going to take his shot against Borgiel. Alger looked over to the freshman forward and gave the puck away just before wrapping around the net and kept Merrimack’s senior in net off guard long enough to keep Locmelis’ opening wide.

Junior forward and veteran Ryan Lautenbach opened up the two-goal series for the Minutemen with the help of Cam O’Neill.

The freshman first attempted a wraparound goal. However, the shot was deflected and bounced into the stick of Lautenbach. With the swarm of Warriors crowding around O’Neill, the junior quickly put the puck behind Borgiel’s left side as he frantically made a last-ditch effort to glove the puck. This gave UMass the 2-1 lead and handed Lautenbach his seventh goal of the season.

“The line before us had a really good shift,” Lautenbach said of the fourth line. “O’Neill made a really good pass to me.”

The force of the Minutemen was not left unanswered by the Warriors. In fact, Merrimack opened the tone of the second period with a sneaky goal from junior Matt Copponi.

After corralling the puck from Zach Bookman, the forward wrapped around the net and left Michael Hrabal out to dry on the left side of the net. Looking to make up for his read, the freshman goaltender poked out his stick and met the puck along the right-hand post. This attempted block was just a millisecond too late, though, as the puck just barely crossed over the goal line and tied the score, 1-1.

The second period was plagued by penalties as a result of the burst of energy. From boarding to high sticking, UMass was at a disadvantage three times and Merrimack killed its one penalty.

This ultimately led to the Warriors cutting down the two-point lead the Minutemen created.

On Merrimack’s second power play of the period, Ben Brar tallied the second point of the evening. With a loose puck in UMass’ zone, Bookman was the first to get it off his stick. At the last second, the graduate forward tipped the puck to sink it in behind Hrabal.

Even with three scoreless power plays of the period, both Hrabal and Borgiel were put to the test.

With Scott Morrow seated in the box on the Warriors’ first man advantage, Merrimack kept the puck in its control for a majority of the two minutes. UMass’ true freshman in net kept himself locked in, deflecting, blocking and gloving four shots on goal.

Giving their goaltender a breather, the Minutemen turned the puck around on their final penalty kill to try and up their lead. However, Elliot McDermott’s shot was quickly blocked by Borgiel and killed the senior’s opportunity to secure his first goal of the season.

On the other end of the ice, UMass did not allow Borgiel to take a break as the Minutemen tallied seven shots on goal. The senior goaltender saved five of the attempts, relying on his special teams to take in the remaining shots.

“I like the way they play,” Carvel said of Merrimack. “They play tempo, they compete and they have good goaltending [and] good special teams. They’ve got a good combination of things.”

The eventful second period of the HEA matchup ultimately resulted in a 4-3 Minutemen victory, giving them a slight upper hand as they travel to Lawler Rink in North Andover. The second puck drop of the series is set for 7 p.m.

“No bad wins,” Carvel said. “We found a way to win.”


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