LIVE GAME BLOG: #19 UMass Hockey At Merrimack
Nov. 8, 2008
Looking to extend its five-game win streak, the Mass Attack heads to Merrimack tonight for its only game of the week. Welcome to the live game blog with John Sinnett and Matt Houde of the UMass media relations office. Along with the blog, fans can LISTEN on WRNX 100.9 FM on the radio or ONLINE, watch the game through Merrimack's ONLINE STREAM, or keep up with the game with Merrimack's LIVE STATS.
5:33 PM: Good evening everyone and welcome to the blog here at Lawler Arena in the Volpe Athletic Center at Merrimack. The Minutemen made good time on the drive over and have a bit of extra time to relax. On the way in, we saw former UMass assistant coach and current Merrimack bench boss Mark Dennehy coming in from a pre-game run.
The two hours before a game are an interesting time. The team usually takes a few minutes to walk around the rink, tape sticks, get any pregame treatment, go over last minute scouting details, etc.
Staffwise, equipment manager Josh Penn gets all the gear in order making sure the team is ready, while athletic trainer Jeff Smith handles any treatment guys on the team might need. Donnie Moorhouse and Brock Hines, les voixs of UMass hockey, are setting up the radio equipment and going over the last minute details of their broadcast.
6:11 PM: Congratulations to the Field Hockey team which won the Atlantic 10 Tournament for the second straight year. The Minutewomen defeated Richmond 2-0 in Philadelphia. It is the 11th A-10 title for the team and the second for second-year head coach Justine Sowry - who is also a terrific bowler! The Minutewomen will host Kent State on Tuesday (1 PM) at Garber Field for the NCAA Play-In Game.
6:15 PM: Make sure to join the men's soccer team tomorrow afternoon at Rudd Field at 1 p.m. The Minutemen have a chance to win the A-10 Regular-Season and lock up a first-round bye in next weekend's A-10 Tournament. It will also be Senior Day and the class of Tony Bassett, Chris Brown, Mike DeSantis, Prince Ofosu, and Zack Simmons will be recognized prior to the game.
6:17 PM: Fans are beginning to trickle into Lawler now as we approach the opening face-off. The starters for UMass will be Alex Berry (left wing), Cory Quirk (center), James Marcou (right wing), Martin Nolet (left defense), Justin Braun (right defense) and Paul Dainton will receive his second straight start in goal.
6:19 PM: One thing fans will look for tonight will be power play production. The Warriors have been averaging 8 penalties a game and nine of the 16 goals they have surrendered have been on the power play. UMass enters the game 18-for-18 on the penalty kill in the last four games and is at 92.3 percent for the year. The Minutemen are also 8-for-32 (25 percent) on the power play.
6:48 PM: About 12 minutes before the opening face-off and two updated numbers caught my attention. James Marcou has moved up to third in the nation in points per game (1.87) - that's up from the No. 12 spot earlier this week. The other ranking was UMass' power play moving up to No. 2 in the country. We will see if those numbers hold true tonight.
The starters for Merrimack will be Pat Kimball (left wing), Joe Cucci (center), Francois Ouimet (right wing), Adam Ross (left defense), Joe Loprieno (right defense) and in goal Andrew Braithwaite.
7:02 PM: Less than two minutes into the game and Merrimack strikes first on a Jesse Todd goal. The initial shot by one of his teammates was blocked out to the top of the right circle where Todd one-timed it for his first career goal.
7:06 PM: The first power play of the night goes to UMass as T.J. Syner gets plowed into the boards by Brandon Sadlowski.
7:11 PM The Warriors killed off the power play for UMass, but Brian Keane tallied his second goal of the year to tie the game with 12:29 remaining in the first. Credit Brett Watson and Scott Crowder with the assists.
7:12 PM Alex Berry is whistled for UMass' first penalty of the game and the Warriors will be on the power play. Berry was called for boarding.
7:16 PM Just as UMass kills of the Berry penalty, UMass is whistled for too many men on the ice. Chase Langeraap will serve the two minutes for the Minutemen. UMass has now killed off 19 straight penalties dating back to the RPI game.
7:19 PM UMass kills of its 20th straight penalty and Merrimack gets whistled for interference.
7:23 PM No goal for UMass on the power play, but the Minutemen had several chances including one cross crease pass that found an open Chris Davis right by the post. The puck took a bad bounce before hitting the heel of his stick. 7:28 PM Martin Nolet is whistled for a penalty and the Minutemen - one of the least penalized team's in the country, are on the penalty kill for the third time in the first period. 7:31 PM With 29.8 secconds left the in the first period, John Wessbecker is called for hooking - the fourth UMass penalty. The Minutemen kill off the remainder of the period, but will have to come out in the second period a man down.
7:47 PM: Time for the second period to begin - 1:31 remaining on Merrimack's power play.
7:50 PM: The Minutemen kill off their 22nd consecutive penalty and the game is back at even strength. Merrimack, oddly enough, has called timeout - everyone in the press box is looking at each other.
7:58 PM: Merrimack scores with 12:52 remaining in the second period to go up 2-1. Rob Ricci intercepted a pass inside the UMass defensive zone, took two skates in the left circle and fired a shot to Dainton's glove side that was partially saved before trickling over the goalline.
8:01 PM: Mike Lecomte is whistled for elbowing - the fifth UMass penalty of the game. UMass' high number of penalties this season is 7 which they took at Providence last weekend and at New Hampshire (Oct. 24).
8:05 PM UMass kills off the penalty (23 straight) and Merrimack was whistled for a penalty with 19 seconds left on their power play. UMass is unable to capitalize though on its third power play of the night.
8:08 PM For those men's soccer fans out there, Xavier just scored on Dayton to go up 1-0 in the 48th minute. If the Musketeers can hang on for the win, it will open the door for UMass to claim the regular season title and the number one seed in the A-10 Tournament with a win or tie against Charlotte tomorrow afternoon.
8:14 PM UMass has the sixth penalty of the game called on Chase Langeraap for hitting from behind with 2:09 remaining in the second period. A lot of ice time tonight for the PK unit and players like Justin Braun, Brett Watson and Chris Davis who also play on the power play unit along with their regular line shifts.
8:34 PM The third period begins, UMass remains down 2-1, but holds the edge in shooting: 21-to-12 for the game.
8:48 PM UMass is continuing to build pressure in its offensive zone but are finding no luck in getting the equalizer with 10:34 remaining in the third period. Shots are 7-to-3 for the period, while UMass has won 11-of-18 faceoffs.
9:03 PM With 2:50 remaining in the third period, Merrimack gets called for tripping and roughing giving UMass a 5x3 power play.
9:05 PM 1:50 remaining in the game at UMass calls timeout to set-up its final minute on the 5x3 power play - Minutemen still trail 2-1 in the game.
9:08 PM 42.5 seconds remaining - UMass cannot score on the power play and go to pull Dainton when it ends. Merrimack forces a turnover at the UMass blue line and fires a shot from the left boards that goes into the empty net despite Alex Berry diving in front of the crease head first trying to block the shot.
9:10 PM Merrimack wins 3-1 over UMass - tough game, but the Warriors battled hard for their first Hockey East win of the season. Gotta give credit to Coach Dennehy and Merrimack for a solid game. Hope everyone has a good weekend and thanks for reading tonight. Be sure to come out on Friday night as the Minutemen return to the Mullins Center to host Boston University and Saturday night when UMass Lowell visits.
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