St. Lawrence tops Merrimack on emotional opening night
CANTON, N.Y. — The road that led the Merrimack Warriors to their season opener Friday night — a 3-1 loss to St. Lawrence — was long and emotional.
Following the news on Monday evening that Merrimack assistant Josh Ciocco had passed away, Merrimack head coach Scott Borek met with his players late Monday night to break the news.
“It was emotional,” he said. “It was an emotional situation.”
On Wednesday afternoon Merrimack College held a memorial service for Ciocco at the chapel on Merrimack’s campus. The team decided it would play, and on Thursday, the group left for New York.
Patches with “JC” were emblazoned on the front of Merrimack’s jerseys, on the shoulder where captains would normally wear captain letters. Ciocco was the captain of his UNH team in 2006-07.
“I was thinking after we got here, this gets our guys together,” Borek said. “It’s good to be together as a group.”
St. Lawrence jumps ahead on the power play
A power-play goal in the first period by the Saints — a 5-on-3 goal — gave them a 1-0 lead and then a shot from the point through traffic snuck past Hugo Ollas to give St. Lawrence a 2-0 lead.
“After the first 10 minutes of the game I thought we handled their speed well,” Borek said. “They play fast and they play hard, and it was a concern.
“The first three penalties, obviously those are difficult. Overall, we were trying to be too fancy with the puck. We need to be more blue collar.”
Merrimack got on the board in the second period on a power play. Mark Hillier scored his first goal of the season on a pretty give-and-go with linemate Filip Forsmark.
Merrimack managed just 22 shots on goal
“They do a good job defensively in the house,” Borek said. “They pack it in, and when you have a team doing that, you can’t be on the periphery and we were far too often. You need to get pucks to the net and then outnumber them there and we didn’t do enough of that.”
— Borek was impressed with the line of Otto Leppanen, Ryan Leibold, and Will Calverley.
“I thought that line was very good,” he said.
— Merrimack defenseman Zach Bookman was the lone freshman to see action in the game.
“He looked like a freshman at times,” Borek said. “He can create things, but we have to rein that in sometimes. He can read the play and he plays at a good pace. We were behind and I think he was trying to help us out and force offense. Overall, you saw some of his dynamic ability.”
Ed. Note — A version of this story will appear in Saturday’s Eagle Tribune
St. Lawrence 3, Merrimack 1 at Appleton Arena Merrimack (0-1-0): 0-1-0--1 St. Lawrence (1-1-0): 2-0-1--3 First Period: 1. SLU Max Dorrington 1 (Greg Lapointe, Mason Waite), pp, 13:46; 2. SLU Tucker McIntosh (Phillipe Chapleau), ev, 16:07. Second Period: 3. MC Mark Hillier 1 (Filip Forsmark), pp, 6:52. Third Period: 4. SLU Drake Burgin 1 (Greg Lapointe), ev, 10:29. Shots: MC 6-8-8--22 ; SLU 13-7-3--23 Saves: MC Ollas (56:44) 11-7-2--20 ; SLU Zetterquist (59:57) 6-7-8--21 Power Play: MC 1 for 4 (3 SOG): SLU 1 for 4 (4 SOG) Penalties: MC 4-8:00; SLU 4-8:00 Attendance: 1,426 (3,200)