The Mack Report

From the E-T: Merrimack beats UMass, showdown with BC on Friday

Photo by Walter Rossini

Photo by Walter Rossini

NORTH ANDOVER – Despite outshooting UMass 41-18, Merrimack College needed to climb back from a second-period deficit to beat the Minutemen, 4-2, yesterday at Lawler Arena.

The Warriors will now face Boston College on Friday here at Lawler Arena. Merrimack sits a point back of Boston College for first place in Hockey East, meaning Friday’s game will be a showdown for first place in the league.

New Hampshire is tied with Merrimack with 24 points in second place. The Wildcats play Providence on Wednesday, but Merrimack owns the tiebreaker by virtue of winning the regular-season series.

The Warriors dominated the first 20 minutes, outshooting Massachusetts 18-3 and out-attempting 35-7. But, they had just a single goal to show for it – off the stick of Justin Mansfield – and Branden Gracel tied the score with 13.2 seconds left on a shorthanded goal.

“Having lived through it, that (shorthanded goal) did nothing to our confidence,” Merrimack head coach Mark Dennehy said. “We handled that letdown by looking at the positives in that period and moving on.”

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Mike McMahon is a freelance sportswriter. He covers Merrimack College hockey for The Eagle Tribune.