One scenario to host
There’s only one scenario in play where Merrimack can host a Hockey East quarterfinal series next weekend Tonight, the Warriors need to beat the Minutemen at the Mullins Center. That, combined with losses from New Hampshire (vs. Maine) and Boston University (at Northeastern), and the Warriors would host the Wildcats at Lawler next weekend.
There are six teams still in contention for the final four home-ice berths. The Warriors can still play any of the other five, but can only host UNH.
The only thing decided heading into tonight’s final game of the regular season are the eight teams that will be involved in the Hockey East tournament next week. UMass, by losing to Merrimack last night, was eliminated from playoff contention due to Maine beating UNH. Northeastern was eliminated from playoff contention last weekend.
Merrimack honored seniors Kyle Bigos, Brandon Brodhag, John Heffernan and Andover goalie Nick Drew who were all playing, potentially, their final game at Lawler Arena. ... Every Merrimack forward recorded at least one shot on goal. ... UMass senior forward Eddie Olczyk appeared to injure his right shoulder in the first period and did not return. ... Merrimack goalie Sam Marotta had 37 saves. ... UMass center Branden Gracel took 39 of the game’s 89 faceoffs for the Minutemen.
agateHed:Merrimack 4, UMass 3 (OT)
agateText:at Lawler Arena
agateText:Massachusetts (11-19-3, 8-16-2 HE): 0-0-3--3
Merrimack (15-14-6, 13-10-3 HE): 1-0-2-1--4
agateText:First Period: 1. MC Jordan Heywood 8 (John Heffernan, Shawn Bates), ev, 11:53.
agateText:Third Period: 2. MC John Gustafsson 2 (Quinn Gould, Justin Mansfield), ev, 5:56; 3. UMA Shane Walsh (Rocco Carzo, Zack LaRue), ex, 15:59; 4. MC Mike Collins 16 (Brian Christie, Jordan Heywood), ev, 16:48; 5. UMA Conor Sheary 10 (Branden Gracel), ex, 17:23; 6. UMA Rocco Carso 9 (Darren Rowe, Branden Gracel), ex, 19:19.
agateText:Overtime: 7. MC Connor Toomey 5 (Brendan Ellis, Vinny Scotti), ve, 1:45.
agateText:Shots: Merrimack 19-5-8-4--36; UMass 10-18-12-0--40
Goalies: MC Marotta 40 shots, 37 saves; UMA Mastalerz 36 shots, 32 saves
agateText:Power Play: UMass 2 for 6; Merrimack 0 for 1
agateText:Penalties: Merrimack 7-14; UMass 1-2
agateText:Faceoffs: 49-40 Merrimack
agateText:Attendance: 1,700 (2,489)