Monday, March 07, 2016

UNH’s Season Draws to a Close; Merrimack Wins Game Three 2-1

Defenseman Matt Dawson
Scores UNH's Only Goal
Freshman Ara Nazarian
Power Play Assist
Danny Tirone
40 Saves

NORTH ANDOVER, MA - Win or go home was the story of game three for UNH and Merrimack College Sunday night and the game was as exciting as it gets.

After a scoreless first period, the two teams played evenly and both had their chances. It was easy to tell we were in for another close game between the Warriors and Wildcats.

At 8:01 of the second period, Merrimack lit the lamp. Derek Petti scored for the third time this series and handed the Warriors a 1-0 lead and a huge momentum swing midway through the game.

Ten minutes later, at 18:34 of the second, Jace Hennig was able to get away from UNH defenseman Cameron Marks and move to the middle of the slot to shoot one past Danny Tirone to give Merrimack a 2-0 lead.

Unfortunately, officiating played a part in the game and it became apparent late in the second period. No penalties had been called for the entirety of the game until the 19:42 mark of the middle stanza. A questionable hit by Matias Cleland resulted in a five-minute major and a game misconduct that sent him to the dressing room early.

UNH was in a two-goal hole and would need to dig themselves out of a five minute penalty kill as well. Then, 1:51 into the third period, it got worse. Maxim Gaudreault was called for interference and UNH would have to kill off a 5-on-3 penalty kill for two minutes. The team rallied and pulled it off, even causing Merrimack’s Alex Carle to commit a penalty. It looked like UNH had turned momentum in their favor.

Just when things were turning the right way for UNH, confusion ensued. As the five-minute major on Matias Cleland expired, Chris Miller was in the penalty box serving the penalty for UNH. The door to the box remained closed and Miller remained seated, much to the confusion of UNH head coach Dick Umile and the rest of the Wildcats.

Umile, in a frenzy, told one of his players on the bench to get onto the ice to put the Wildcats back at even strength. Moments later, a referee's whistle blew for a penalty against the Wildcats. The call was taken down as an “illegal substitution” on UNH and a two minute penalty was assessed.

After the game, Umile was asked about the call and if he had ever seen it before. He simply answered, “Nope.”

Following that, UNH would kill off another 5-on-3, but half the period was gone by the time it was all over and they were still trailing by two.

UNH went to the power play and at 10:34 of the third period, freshman defenseman Matt Dawson scored off a pretty feed from fellow freshman Ara Nazarian to cut the lead in half, 2-1.

With 1:45 remaining in the game Merrimack’s Alfred Larsson went to the box for hooking giving UNH a power play to end the game. Danny Tirone was pulled to give UNH a 6-on-4 advantage.

After a few scoring chances and some great saves by Merrimack’s goaltender Drew Vogler, the Warriors were able to hang on to their one goal lead and bring the Wildcats season to an end with a final score of 2-1.

In the end, it couldn’t have been more fitting for UNH to lose in a one-goal game to end their season. In 2015-16, they were 3-11 in games decided by one goal.

Here are the video highlights of the final game of UNH's 2015-16 season courtesy of Pack Network:


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