By David F.P. [Modest Image Gallery]
November 22, 2009
LOWELL, MA- The Merrimack Warriors traveled to nearby Lowell and Tsongas Arena to take on the #4 ranked UMass-Lowell River Hawks on Saturday night before a rowdy crowd. The student section was in the house, the pep band was there, Rowdy Redhawk was wandering the arena and the two teams readied for action. Merrimack sent Joe Cannata into the net, and for Lowell it was Nevin Hamilton opposite him.
Merrimack got in some opportunities quickly including shots by Brandon Sadlowski, Jeff Velleca, Pat Bowen, and Justin Bonitatibus, but it would be Chris Barton’s goal at 6:44 assisted by Kyle Bigos and J.C. Robitaille that opened the lead up for the Warriors. Barton later sent a shot in but Hamilton picked up a glove save.
Lowell had opportunities themselves, including David Vallorani’s hard slap shot. Though at the 9:30 mark Lowell had only 3 shots to Merrimack’s 9. When Lowell’s pass failed to clear the zone, Brandon Brodhag pounced on it but the result was not points.
Lowell scored their first goal when Jeremy Dehner received a ass from Chris Auger. Dehner had ended up right in front and faked out Cannata to get it in at 10:28.
The first penalty of the game came when Ryan Flanigan was called for interference at 10:48 after nailing Jonathan Maniff. Lowell went on the power play and Paul Worthington and Dehner both came close with scoring, but it was Auger who picked up a rebound and knocked it in, with assists from Michael Scheu and David Vallorani at 12:14 for a power play goal.
Bobby Kramer was close on an attempt later, but Merrimack would then commit two boarding penalties simultaneously at 14:48 putting the Warriors down by 2 men for a full two minutes. It took Lowell 12 seconds for Auger to score from in front of the net assisted by Nick Schaus at 15:00.
Merrimack was still killing a penalty and Lowell was all over the net, but didn’t score on the other power play. The first period came to a close with Lowell ahead 3 to 1, Lowell had 13 shots and Merrimack had 9.
Period 2 began and among the shots was Ben Holmstrom’s shot saved by Cannata. The first Lowell penalty was called on Colin Wright for hooking at the 2 minute mark. Merrimack went on the attack with Bonitatibus’s shot saved by Nevin Hamilton, but at 2:43 Bigos was called for cross checking eliminating the man advantage. Schaus’s shot was close but saved, and Bonitatibus let one fly but it was gloved easily by Nevin Hamilton. Neither side benefited from their power play time.
Auger and Scott Campbell added their attempts but with no success on Cannata. At the 7:08 mark, UML had 14 shots for the game, and Merrimack 12. Pat Kimball was called for a contact to the head penalty at 7:58. Kory Falite had a 1 on 1 situation versus Cannata, but was stopped by the keeper. Dehner sent two shots in but with no goals as a result. Merrimack survived the penalty. Kimball received a pass but couldn’t scored as well.
Steve Capraro then was called for high sticking at 10:14 and with Merrimack on the Power Play, Matt Ferreira still managed a short handed try over the net. Karl Stollery got called for hooking at 10:53 negating another power play. Stephane Da Costa went for a wraparound try but was stuffed by Nevin Hamilton, and his second attempt as well. With Lowell now on the power play briefly, Campbell put his own rebound into the net assisted by L25 and Schaus at 12:33 for a power play goal. At this point the shots on goal were Lowell 19 and Merrimack 15.
Schaus picked up a shot later. Brodhag had a 1-1 attack but couldn’t get it in, and Karl Stollery knocked a shot through a crowd of players, but Nevin Hamilton snatched it out of the air. With about 4 minutes left in the period Lowell had 20 shots to Merrimack’s 16. Worthington got the puck and stick handled it by Cannata in a one on one battle, assisted by Auger and Schaus at 16:00.
A later shot by Chris Ickert was gloved by Cannata without incident. Worthington was called for hooking at 17:32 and Merrimack went on the power play eventually scoring when Bonitatibus knocked the puck at Nevin Hamilton from his direct right, it hit the goalie and bounced behind him into the net, assisted by Ross and Sadlowski at 19:30. At the end of 2, Lowell still had a 5-2 lead and 22 shots to Merrimack’s 17.
Period 3 opened with Bigos and Simon Demers getting some shots in. Worthington responded but just missed the net. Barton had a shot of his own, and Demers and Joe Cucci were also attacking. Karl Stollery hit Maniff hard amidst play.
Worthington tried to send one in but Cannata put an end to that and Cannata had to deal with a lot of Lowell attacks which he fought off. At 8:38 Velleca broke in and knocked on to the upper right corner of the net assisted by Da Costa and Sadlowski for Merrimack’s third goal.
Merrimack added to that later with big pressure but was unable to find the net. Scheu went on the attack but Cannata picked up the save but at 11:02, Auger sent a quick pass right to center and Worthington knocked it in the net. At this point Lowell had 22 shots and Merrimack 24.
Merrimack responded with multiple attacks but Nevin Hamilton stopped them all. Auger dived to the ice to poke a puck out of their zone as well to blunt a Merrimack attack.
Later on Campbell had a 1 on 1 showdown with Cannata but the goaltender stopped him all the same. Merrimack would pick up another penalty late in the game, but the scoring was over and Lowell picked up the 6-3 win.