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Boston University was dominant, winning for the fourth time in as many meetings against Merrimack. We see the effect of the win, though, on the Pairwise. As expected, the loss drops Merrimack from the rank of TUCs. And because Record vs. TUC is a main criteria of the Pairwise, that 4-0 mark against Merrimack no longer counts for BU. It's a Catch-22. Still, it was better to win than lose, but BU dropped two spots in the Pairwise to 19th.
Merrimack was a hot team for a while, but finishes the season with losses in five of its last six games, and fell out of the home-ice race. It will travel to Boston University for a quarterfinal series. BU won all three regular-season meetings. UMass was already eliminated from the playoffs by the time this games started, but still managed to find some pride in the shutout win.
"I thought we actually played more consistently better tonight (than in Friday's loss)," Merrimack coach Mark Dennehy said. "We weren't as good as we were in the first (period) last night. ... There's no moral victories. But if our goal is to play better and not get bogged down with results, we played better than last night. ... We did a better job going to the net, but we need a better net-front presence. We do like fly-bys."
Warrior netminder Sam Marotta made 51 saves as Merrimack continued its strong play of late. The win gave it a sweep of the weekend over Lowell and New Hampshire, and suddenly the Warriors are withing striking distance of the Pairwise bubble. Still have a ways to go, though, but it was a surge that most didn't see coming. Merrimack is now third in Hockey East. ... New Hampshire missed out on an opportunity to tie Boston College for first place, but still has one game in hand.
Read more in our blog.
(photo: Josh Gibney)
New Hampshire moved within two points of first place, and is No. 3 in the Pairwise, after splitting a home-and-home with Merrimack. This game was played in Manchester, N.H., and drew 6,605. Friday, Merrimack got a 3-2 win when Brian Christie scored seven seconds into the third period, for the game winner. Jeff Wyer got the start in net for New Hampshire, and played pretty well despite the loss. Coach Dick Umile went back to Casey DeSmith for Saturday's game, and DeSmith, who has been embattled lately after a great start, came up with a huge effort, making 35 stops and keeping his team in the game while Merrimack was pouring it on in the second period.
Read more about the game in our blog.
Merrimack scored two goals in the each of the first and third periods and held off Vermont. “Merrimack's an excellent team with the lead and we gave them two easy goals to start the game,” said UVM coach Kevin Sneddon. “It's hard to dig yourself out of a hole against a team that's excellent defensively. You can't give them easy ones. You've got to make them earn it and I don't think we did that. Offensively we just didn't have a very good night.”
Daniel Carr ignited a four-goal third period, as Union salvaged a split of the Catamount Cup games, after losing to the hosts Saturday. Union has been up and down so far -- at least compared to expectations -- so they are hard to read right now. Certainly, the Dutchmen missed Shayne Gostisbehere, who is playing at the World Juniors, so there's still a lot of open questions. But they needed this one in order to keep some steam going.
Read about it in our Hockey East blog.
Vermont was against left without its first win of the season after three games. Read all about the game in our Hockey East Blog.
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