Men’s hockey bested in thrilling contest against Merrimack
The University of Maine (10-18-4, 4-14-4 HEA) men’s hockey dropped an overtime thriller versus Merrimack College (13-13-6, 7-7-6 HEA) at Lawler Rink on Friday, Feb. 17. Third-year forward Jace Hennig was the hero for Merrimack, tucking it past second-year goaltender Rob McGovern for the game-winning goal.
Maine started strong, netting their first goal less than two minutes into the first period. Second-year forward Daniel Perez scored off assists from first-year forwards Chase Pearson and Ryan Smith. It was Perez’s third goal of the season. Maine wouldn’t find the net again until fourth-year captain forward Blaine Byron tallied his 15th goal of the season off another assist from Pearson. The goal was Byron’s 100th point of his career.
Pearson was all over the scoreboard that night as he found the back of the net, raking it over Merrimack’s third-year goaltender Colin Delia to increase Maine’s lead to three. The goal was Pearson’s 13th on the season. He is currently Maine’s second leading goal scorer, behind only Byron. The 3-0 lead was short-lived as Merrimack came back with a vengeance. First-year forward Sami Tavernier was able to beat McGovern on an assist from first-year defender Johnathan Kovacevic. Headed into the third period, the score was 3-1.
Merrimack was able to find another late in the third. Fourth-year forward Chris LeBlanc shot it past McGovern to bring the score within one. All Merrimack had to do now was pull the goalie and attempt to equalize the game with a man up. Second-year forward Derek Petti did his job for Merrimack, pulling off the comeback with the empty net behind him. The goal was assisted by Hennig and third-year defender Marc Biega. In regulation, McGovern made 38 saves compared to Delia’s 35.
The comeback was not completed yet as the teams were headed into overtime with the score knotted at three. Neither team would budge at first, but in the final minute of overtime, the game found its winner. Hennig sailed it past McGovern for his fifth goal of the season. McGovern ended up making 40 saves, four less than his season high versus University of Massachusetts. McGovern boasts a .916 save percentage this season with a 2.86 goals against average and 774 saves.
Maine plays Merrimack again the next day to round out the series.
Maine tied the Merrimack College Warriors on the final note of their weekend series.
Maine would capitalize on four different goal scorers on their way to a 4-4 draw.
Once again, Maine started off strong in the first period, opening up the scoring off a tally from third-year forward Cedric Lacroix. The Shefford, Quebec native has managed to find the back of the net five times this season, notching 10 total points. The goal came on a power play and was assisted by fourth-year captain defender Eric Schurhamer and first-year forward Patrick Shea, a Florida Panthers draftee (192nd overall). Byron would score next off assists from second-year forward Brendan Robbins and first-year defender Patrick Holway. Holway was drafted by the Detroit Red Wings 170th overall in the 2015 draft. Holway has managed to record 12 points this season off four goals and eight assists. Maine would take this 2-0 lead into the second period. Fourth-year goaltender Matt Morris stood stout with 13 saves.
With two periods left, there was still a lot of hockey to play and Merrimack found a way to inch back into the game. Tavernier tallied another goal, scoring on the power play halfway through the second. The goal was assisted by some familiar faces in Kovacevic and Merrimack’s top scorer, third-year forward Brett Seney.
Hennig proved again to be the bane of Maine’s existence, scoring two minutes later to tie the game at two. In a true battle of attrition, Maine came right back with a goal of their own.
Second-year defender Rob Michel checked off his eighth goal of the season. Michel’s total of 18 points is good enough to place him fifth on Maine’s scoring list. The goal was assisted by fourth-year captain forward Cam Brown and surprisingly enough, Morris. The assist is Morris’ first point of the season. The score was 3-2 headed into the third.
The back and forth contest was not over, according to Merrimack’s second-year forward Ludvig Larsson. He notched his goal off assists from Leblanc and fourth-year defender Jonathan Lashyn. Fourteen seconds later, Smith found the back of the net off a broken play in Merrimack’s defensive zone. The freshman from Roanoke, Virginia has tallied 10 points this season. The final score came from Maine’s nightmare Hennig. His second goal of the game tied the match at four which is where the score settled for the evening.
A period of overtime was not going to decide the game either. Morris made 41 saves while Delia made 23.
Looking forward, Maine welcomes Northeastern to the Alfond for one final series before Hockey East playoffs. Maine currently sits in the No. 11 seed in the postseason picture. Northeastern sits at the No. 8 seed. Saturday night’s game is a celebration for the seniors on the team that are graduating from Maine. Merrimack moves on to a weekend series with the University of Vermont. Merrimack rests at the No. 7 seed while Vermont is an inch ahead in the No. 6 seed.