NORTH ANDOVER — Only 4.7 seconds stood between Merrimack and at least one point against the defending national champions. But, it only takes a split second to change a hockey game.
Colin Felix scored with just 4.7 seconds left in the game to lift Massachusetts to a 2-1 win over the Warriors on Friday night at Lawler Arena. Felix’s goal was his first in almost two years, dating back to Nov. 2019.
“Our guys played their hearts out,” said Merrimack head coach Scott Borek. “UMass played really hard. We were obviously disappointed with the way it ended. Allowing them a late goal like that was a crusher, because at that point I thought we were carrying the play.”
“To me, that was a coin toss,” said UMass head coach Greg Carvel. “Either team could have com away with a win and we got the last bounce to get the points. Merrimack keeps getting better.”
Merrimack and UMass battered each other from the opening faceoff. Merrimack was tough on the forecheck and forced UMass into some mistakes. The Minutemen feverishly protected the front of their net and there were multiple post-whistle scraps after either goalie covered the puck. It was one of Merrimack’s most physical games of the young season.
“They’re tough,” Borek said. “You need to match their physicality. It’s a man’s game when you play them. I love the way that they play. After the first few minutes, I thought that we leveled the ice and both played really hard.”
It was a step forward for the Warrriors, who answered the bell physically. In recent years, the Warriors would fade in a game that took shape as this one did. But this group not only embraced the physicality, but they also initiated it in the latter stages of the game.
“This group wants to play that way,” Borek said. “They enjoy playing hard. They want to be in a game just like that one.”
Merrimack was held off the scoresheet until the third period when Logan Drevitch potted his first goal of the season at the 4:13 mark. Merrimack goaltender Zach Borgiel made 27 saves.
The Warriors and Minutemen close out the home-and-home series Saturday night at the Mullins Center.
Massachusetts 2, Merrimack 1
at Lawler Arena
Massachusetts (3-2-0): 1-0-1—2
Merrimack (3-4-0): 0-0-1—1
First Period: 1. UMA Bobby Trivigno (Josh Lopina, Colin Felix), ev, 9:06.
Second Period: None.
Third Period: 2. MC Logan Drevich (Zach Vinnell, Ben Brar), ev, 4:13; 3. UMA Colin Felix (Antony Del Gaizo), ev, 19:56.
Shots: Merrimack 12-11-6—29; UMass 13-8-8—29
Saves: MC Borgiel (59:59) 27-29; UMA Murray (60:00) 28-29
Power Play: Merrimack 0-4; UMas 0-3
Penalties: Merrimack 5-10:00; UMass 4-8:00
Attendance: 2,083 (2,549)