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UNH 5, Merrimack 4 – Reax

Post-game Reax

Mark Dennehy, Merrimack head coach

Dick Umile, UNH head coach

Phil DeSimone, UNH forward

Paul Thompson, UNH forward

Warrior Hockey Podcasts (with radio personality Mike Machnik)
Mark Dennehy
Dick Umile (pre game)
Dan Parkhurst (UNH radio and Hockey East)

The Grades
Offense – A
The Warriors put up 40 shots on net and scored four goals; 99 times out of a 100, that wins you a hockey game. The scoring was also spread out – four different goal scorers and not a single skater with more than a point. In fact, every player except Jesse Todd and Chris Barton had points. The offense wasn’t the problem.

Defense – F
Hard to come up with any other grade here. Really it goes back to the “A” on offense – Merrimack had 38 shots and four goals, that should win a hockey game. Merrimack allowed 32 shots, which isn’t terrible but at the same time isn’t great. The real problem was MC’s inability to clear pucks and clear out the front of the net. It’s been a problem for the second-straight game, and it’s quickly becoming a disturbing trend. It wasn’t a problem for MC earlier in the year and it hasn’t been a problem, really, since 2004-05, the year before this coaching regime even started and any of these players even arrived. The Warriors have always prided themselves on hard work and a defense-first attitude. It’s not “defensemen” we’re talking about here, it’s team defense as a whole. If it keeps up, the Warriors could have the same one-goal loss trend they suffered through last season, only instead of 3-2 games they’ll be 6-5. If you discount the BU empty-net goal, the Warriors have had four of their six losses come by one goal (5-2 at UND and 6-3 at UML the other two games). In all four of those games, MC has had at least three goals.

Special Teams – D
The penalty kill was OK. The power play worked well when the puck got deep, but UNH applied great pressure on the point-men, and converted it into scoring chances on multiple occasions and a shorthanded goal that really broke Merrimack’s back.

The Difference Maker
UNH’s shorthanded goal
Merrimack, up a goal late in the second period, had a chance to ice the game. The Warriors were up 2-1 and going on the power play. But it was UNH, applying heavy pressure on the point, forced a turnover and tied the score. Merrimack was able to take a 3-2 lead just 1:05 later, but if the Warriors were able to make it 3-1 heading into the third, it could have secured a win.

Warrior Of The Game
Brandon Sadlowski, Sr. defense
By my count, Sadlowski was the only Warrior not on the ice for a UNH goal.

The Leftovers
> Justin Bonitatibus had a heck of a night in the circle, going 10 for 12 on draws. He led the way on both teams and MC held a 36-32 edge for the game. Bonitatibus also has doubled his career goal output in just five games this season. Coming into his senior season, the forward, who doubled last season as a defensemen when his team needed, had three tallies and he has the same number through five games as a senior.

> UNH had four SH shots, and all were quality. Not only did the Wildcats register Butler’s shorthanded goal, but there was a 2-on-1 in the first period where Joe Cannata made a heck of a save with his left pad.

> Kyle Bigos was the only Warrior to finish with a plus-rating.

> Merrimack registered nine shots in 9:18 of power-play time while UNH totaled seven shots in 6:31 of time. MC was a plus-five in shot differential on the PP (9-4) while UNH didn’t allow a shorthanded shot (7-0). Each team had five power plays.

> All four of Jeff Velleca‘s goals on the season have come at even strength.

> With the loss, the Warriors drop their second seven-game series 4-2.

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