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 falls on the road to Merrimack, 4-1

Minutemen drop back end of weekend series
Matt Skillings
Daily Collegian (2024)

NORTH ANDOVER – The Massachusetts hockey team couldn’t finish the weekend sweep against Merrimack on Saturday night, falling by a score of 4-1 to the Warriors in North Andover. Unlike Friday night’s matchup, the second period was the dagger in the back for the Minutemen (12-6-3, 5-4-2 Hockey East) who gave up three goals in the frame.

After an evenly matched first period where both teams traded scoring opportunities, the Warriors (10-10-1, 3-7-1 HEA) came out hot to start the second period. Just a minute and a half into the frame, Merrimack was cycling in the offensive zone when Ryan Ufko let Merrimack forward Ty Daneault sneak behind him in the slot to make himself available for a pass from teammate Mark Hillier. Completely unmarked in front of the net, Daneault was able to easily chip the puck over the left pad of Michael Hrabal to put his team up a goal.

This slow start to the second proved to be the downfall of the night for the Minutemen, who allowed another goal to Hillier just a few minutes later, a suave deflection by the forward off of a point shot from Liam Dennison. This goal, which came at the 5:41 mark of the second period stood to be the game winner when the dust settled, as the UMass offense was nowhere to be found outside of a goal from Owen Murray later in the second.

“They do a really good job here, they get it in and they get it at the net right away,” head coach Greg Carvel said of the offensive efficiency of the Warriors on their home sheet.

Although the final shot total read just 28-25 in favor of Merrimack, the ice was certainly tilted in its favor for a majority of the night, as they found ways to capitalize on their home ice advantage of having a smaller ice surface.

“[Merrimack does] a good job, they know how to get the puck to the net with a little more urgency here than we do, that is a difference, and we’re not used to playing on this size sheet,” Carvel said.

UMass’ lone goal came from Murray in the middle of the second period. Murray flung a shot from the point towards Merrimack goaltender Hugo Ollas who was effectively screened by a mixture of Minutemen and his own teammates. The puck snuck into the far corner of the net for Murray’s second goal of the season.

Ollas was otherwise stellar between the pipes, shutting down every other UMass scoring chance on the night. He finished with 24 saves.

Despite the negative result, Carvel wasn’t unhappy with the effort from his team, rather he was disappointed in their inability to capitalize on scoring chances.

“I liked our game tonight, better than last night other than we left two guys all alone in front of the net and they both scored,” Carvel said. “We need to finish better, have a little more urgency, but I thought our guys competed for 60 minutes, that part I liked.”

The Minutemen will be back in action next Saturday when they face off with Northeastern for the second time this season in a stand-alone matchup at Matthews Arena in Boston. Puck drop is slated for 4 p.m. and can be streamed on ESPN +.

Matt Skillings can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter at matt_skillings.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All Massachusetts Daily Collegian Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *