More injuries pile up for Merrimack in loss to UMass
NORTH ANDOVER — Two more Warriors went down on Friday night during a 3-2 loss to UMass at Lawler Arena.
It's been a season of injuries for the Warriors. Alex Jefferies has the best points-per-game average on the team and has missed 10 games due to two separate injury stints. UNH transfer Chase Stevenson entered the season penciled in as a top-six forward, but he has only been healthy enough to dress in nine games. Tyler Young, who had emerged as a top-nine forward, has missed 14 games and is out for the rest of the season. Defenseman Mike Brown, a regular last season, has been out all season after surgery.
That's just to name a few.
The Warrior's locker room resembles an infirmary. Now, add Ethan Bono and Mac Welsher to that list.
Bono and Welsher took hard hits in the third period of Friday's game. The hit Welsher took appeared to whiplash him on his way down to the ice, and he needed help back to the bench.
"I really like the way we played the last two games," said Merrimack coach Scott Borek. "We just have to get healthy. Tonight didn't help that."
The Warriors may have less than 12 healthy forwards on the roster when they travel to New Hampshire on Saturday night to take on the Wildcats.
Merrimack only dressed 11 forwards last week against Northeastern. The had 12 in the lineup last night but lost two of them.
"We lost a few guys in the middle of the game with head injuries, so that was frustrating," Borek said. "But our guys kept playing. We played hard, and we played pretty well in our own end. We controlled it for the most part. We had some good chances, too. We just can't finish. We're a little snake-bit right now."
Bono scored a goal before his injury forced him to leave the game. His linemate, David Sacco, scored his first collegiate goal in the first period. Sacco was playing in his first game in over a month (Dec. 31 vs. Stonehill).
"They did really well," Borek said. "All three of those guys were physical and they pushed pace. It was good to see David get his first, and he'll get more with where he plays on the rink. He's always around the net. Ethan has had a great start to his career here. I'm really pleased with all of those guys."
Merrimack outshot UMass 28-21. Part of that disparity was due to Merrimack's 18 blocks. Liam Dennison led the Warriors with four blocks.
"Their blue line is mobile and it's difficult to block shots against them because they are good at staying in lanes," said Borek. "We did a good job in those lanes. I have no issues with the way we played, we played hard, we just need to find a way to get positive results."
Zachary Borgiel got the start for the Warriors and made 18 saves.
"He was outstanding," Borek said. "He battled and gave himself an opportunity to get the second save."
NOTES: Both teams were perfect on the penalty kill. ... With the victory, UMass won the season series 2-1.
NEXT: The Warriors travel to UNH tonight to take on the Wildcats (7 p.m.).