Merrimack dominates Brown to open second half
Ed. Note — A version of this story will appear in Monday’s edition of The Eagle Tribune
PROVIDENCE — The Merrimack men’s hockey team returned from its holiday break in style, cruising past Brown, 7-1, at the Meehan Auditorium on Sunday afternoon.
The Bears were outmatched by the Warriors, who took the lead just over two minutes into the first period and never looked back.
“We were definitely attacking more today offensively,” said Merrimack head coach Scott Borek. “That’s what we have to do. In the past, we’ve passed it a lot and played on the perimeter but today we got to the interior more. Because of that, we generated chances and we were able to score.”
The seven goals scored by the Warriors on Sunday were the most goals scored in the Borek era. It’s also the fourth time this season Merrimack has scored five or more goals in a game.
“We’ve had bursts with our goals,” Borek said. “There have been some games where we’ve had a number of chances, but we haven’t finished. Every time you score, or you have wins like this, it’s going to give you confidence. We scored seven and we had the chance to score more.”
Jordan Seyfert opened the second at the 2:27 mark of the first period when he tipped a Mick Messner shot through Luke Kania’s pads to give the Warriors an early 1-0 lead.
Max Newton doubled that lead with his eighth goal of the season at the 17:37 mark. Newton set up Filip Forsmark in the high slot for a scoring chance which Kania stopped, but the puck trickled through his pads and rested behind him in the crease. Newton noticed the loose puck and jammed it into the net while contested by two Brown defenders.
“I thought the goal by Newton at the end of the period ended the game,” Borek said. “We knew it was going to be hard for them to bounce back with how well we were playing.”
It looked like Brown had scored a late power-play goal with under a minute left in the first period, but the goal was called back on review after the Bears had six men on the ice.
The Warriors found the back of the net again just over a minute into the second period. Justin Jallen put Brown on the board with a power-play goal but Newton scored again late in the second to give the Warriors a 4-1 lead going into the locker room.
Forsmark scored again early in the third period — Brown then pulled Kania — and the Warriors struck two more times en route to the 7-1 win.
“I liked our offensive game,” Borek said. “I thought sometimes defensively we struggled a little bit and we continued to have some struggles on our special teams, but overall it was a good first game back.”
Liam Walsh and Mick Messner were both banged up during the game and Borek said they would be questionable ahead of tomorrow’s matchup against UMass. The Warriors are already without Mac Welsher and Mike Brown, who are in health and safety protocol.
“Guys stepped up when those guys went down,” Borek said. “They’re both questionable. We’re playing a good team (Monday) and it’s a non-league game. We’ll be cautious. We’ll see what happens for tomorrow but I think both guys will be OK moving forward.”
Hugo Ollas made 22 saves in goal for the Warriors.
“Hugo was good,” said Borek. “He gave up some second chances he didn’t need to give up. He’s had a long break just like our team. He was big in the net and played the puck well, but too many pucks came off of him for rebound opportunities. Usually, he suffocates those pucks, so hopefully, that comes back to him.”
Several Warriors had multi-point games, including Newton (2 goals), Steven Jandric (2 assists), Forsmark (2 goals, 2 assists), and Declan Carlile (2 assists).
Warriors Ready for UMass
Merrimack’s scheduled game on Saturday against Yale was canceled after the Bulldogs experienced a flu outbreak, according to reports. UMass had its weekend series at Union scrapped due to COVID protocols in the Union program. After Merrimack lost the Saturday game off its schedule, Borek hit the phones and UMass head coach Greg Carvel was eager to fill the opening.
"I think it’s fair to the players,” Borek said. “I think we owe it to the players to play. We had that challenging thing with UConn, you know how I felt about it, and I wasn’t going to let it happen to our guys again. We lost a game late, it’s not Yale’s fault, but it happened. Greg Carvel at UMass said ‘let’s play.’ I think they make us a better team and we want to go down there and compete.”
GAME NOTES: Matt Copponi scored his first collegiate goal in the third period. … The seven goals for the Warriors today were their most in a game since a 10-0 win over Arizona State on Jan. 31, 2016. … Defenseman Zach Uens finished with a plus-7 rating. It’s believed to be the first time any NCAA player has finished with a plus-7 rating or better since Shayne Gostisbehere finished with a plus-7 in the 2014 NCAA Championship game against Minnesota.
NEXT: The Warriors are back on the ice Monday night when they travel to Amherst to face UMass in a non-conference game. This game was added this past weekend after Merrimack had a game against Yale canceled and UMass had a series at Union scrapped due to their opponents dealing with health and safety protocols.
Merrimack 7, Brown 1 at Meehan Auditorium Merrimack (7-9-1): 2-2-3—7 Brown (3-11-0): 0-1-0—1 First Period: 1. MC Jordan Seyfert 2 (Mick Messner, Zach Uens), ev, 2:27; 2. MC Max Newton 8 (Filip Forsmark, Declan Carlile), ev, 17:37. Second Period: 3. MC Filips Forsmark 7 (Declan Carlile, Liam Walsh), ev, 1:05; 4. BRN Justin Jallen 5 (Michael Maloney, Tristan Crozier), pp, 3:03; 5. MC Max Newton 9 (Steven Jandric, Jake Durflinger), ev, 14:23. Third Period: 6. MC Filip Forsmark 8 (Steve Jandric), ev, 4:01; 7. MC Ryan Nolan 1 (Ben Brar, Zach Vinnell), ev, 6:44; 8. MC Matt Copponi 1 (Filip Forsmark, Filip Karlsson-Tagtstrom), ev, 15:56 Shots: Merrimack 9-8-11—28; Brown 8-10-5—23 Saves: MC Ollas (60:00) 22/23; BRN Luke Kania (44:01) 13/18; BRN Gabriel Vinal (15:59) 8/10 Power Play: Merrimack 0-1; Brown 0-2 Penalties: Merrimack 5-10:00; Brown 3-6:00 Attendance: (3,100)