here reporting from the TD Garden pressbox for North Andover Patch. The Merrimack College Warriors are taking on the University of New Hampshire Wildcats with a shot at the Hockey East Championship game on the line.
For some background info on the game, check out the preview article .
11:02: This is Jay Oza signing off from TD Garden. Thanks so much for joining me this evening. The final score for the final time: Warriors beat UNH 4-1.
11:01: Merrimack won the season series against BC 2-1. Can they win one more tomorrow and bring the Hockey East title to North Andover?
11:00: Merrimack has never seen such a huge win in the history of its program. For the first time ever, they will have a shot to win Hockey East.
10:59: It is all over! Merrimack wins it 4-1 and they are headed to the Hockey East Title game against Boston College.
10:58: Shorthanded goal for Merrimack! Let the celebration begin. Elliot Sheen picks up his second goal of the game on an empty netter. 4-1 Warriors and once again, the roof almost just came off.
10:57: Hold the phone. 14.4 seconds left and Merrimack is called for a penalty. Karl Stollery to the box for tripping.
10:56: Timeout in the final minute. Crowd is chating "Na na na na, hey hey hey!"
10:55: The crowd is going berserk on every play. Crowd is chating "We want BC!" They will get their wish in 27.8 seconds.
10:53: Final minute! 3-1 Warriors.
10:52: I almost don't believe what I'm seeing. Merrimack is moments away from their biggest win of all-time.
10:50: Empty net for UNH! 1:56 left in the game and icing was just called on Merrimack.
10:49: The Merrimack crowd is roaring every time the Warriors bring the puck up ice. It is 3-1 Merrimack with 3 minutes left in the game.
10:47: Timeout at the Garden with 4:15 left. The Warriors are on the verge of reaching the Hockey East Final for the first time EVER.
10:45: Mike Collins scored for Merrimack. He was behind the net and banked the puck off the goalie and into the net. The Garden exploded when Collins lit the lamp.
10:43: Goal by Merrimack! 3-1 Warriors with only 5:49 left!
10:41: Time is winding down in the third. 7:15 left and Merrimack is threatening in the UNH end.
10:39: It feels like all of North Andover is here in the Garden. Merrimack fans have been making themselves heard all night.
10:37: Less than ten minutes left. Warriors still lead 2-1... anyone's game!
10:32: Back to 5-on-5 action. Merrimack still leads 2-1 with 12:25 left in the game. Quick timeout from the Garden.
10:29: Controversial penalty called as Merrimack's Joe Cucci heads to the box for hooking. Austin Block of UNH also gets a penalty for embellishment.
10:26: Offsetting penalties as a scuffle broke out in front of the Merrimack net. Teams will skate 4-on-4 for the next two minutes. UNH has been threatening. 16:02 left in the game.
10:24: Cannata is standing on his head. Three great saves in a row to preserve the Merrimack lead. 17:10 left in the third period.
10:20: Well, it doesn't get much better than this, folks. Playoff hockey at its finest. The teams are back out on the ice and we're set to go for the third period.
10:12: Tonight's attendance was just announced: 16,003! Not bad!
10:05: Second period is over, folks! Merrimack leads 2-1 and they're 20 minutes away from their biggest win in team history!
10:04: There are 30.8 seconds left in the period. Face-off in the UNH zone after a nice Merrimack bid.
10:01: Merrimack does a great job of killing off the penalty. Just over two minutes left in the 2nd period.
9:59: Carter Madsen of Merrimack guilty of hooking. UNH on the powerplay with 4:16 left in the 2nd.
9:55: Second period action has been going back and forth. No clear cut superior team although Merrimack is still clinging to a 2-1 lead with 5:17 left.
9:49: UNH was able to kill off the penalty. Merrimack still leads 2-1 with 8:34 left in the second period.
9:46: Stevie Moses of UNH has gone to the box for an interference penalty. Merrimack powerplay with 10:40 left in the 2nd.
9:41: Joe Cannata has made 15 saves so far tonight. His Warriors still lead 2-1 with 13:01 left in the first period. Quick timeout from the Garden.
9:37: With 15:46 left in the second period, UNH leads 14-12 in shots throughout the game.
9:33: The second period has begun. Cannata with a nice leg save to start things off.
9:28: A correction in scoring has been made. Elliott Sheen gets credit for Merrimack's second goal. He tipped in the slapshot from Brendan Ellis. We're about three minutes from the start of the 2nd period, 2-1 Merrimack.
9:17: End of the first period. Merrimack holds a 2-1 lead over UNH. The Hockey East mascots have taken the ice.
9:13: First period is winding down. 32.2 seconds left. Face-off in the UNH zone.
9:10: Brendan Ellis scored for Merrimack. He ripped one from the left point that deflected off a Wildcat into the net. Warriors have their first lead of the game. 2:52 left in the first period.
9:09: Merrimack scores again and the crowd erupts! 2-1 Warriors!
9:08: A reporter just interviewed a little kid with a UNH shirt on the Garden Jumbotron and the poor kid got booed! The crowd must be 70-30 in favor of Merrimack. Last 5 minutes of the first.
9:06: Joe says no again! Cannata just made another phenomenal save on a UNH breakaway.
9:05: Joe Cannata with another amazing save. This one from point blank range. Merrimack crowd chants "Joe says no!"
9:03: That was Flanigan's 13th goal of the season. Merrimack kills off the penalty, and we have a play stoppage with 7:34 left in the first. 1-1 is the score from Boston.
9:01: Shorthanded goal for Merrimack! Stephane Da Costa passed to Ryan Flanigan on a 2 on 1 break who fired one stick side to tie things up at one.
8:59: Another Merrimack penalty. Karl Stollery made a hit from behind on an unsuspecting Wildcat. UNH on the powerplay again.
8:56: We are about halfway through the first period, 9:56 remaining. The UNH goal has not silenced the Merrimack crowd.
8:52: Stevie Moses of UNH potted the goal. Mike Borisenok gave him a pass in the right circle. Moses one-timed it passed Cannata for a 1-0 lead. 12:37 left in the first.
8:50: Merrimack manages to kill off the powerplay but UNH keeps it in the zone and scores on a one timer.
8:48: With 14:54 left in the first period, we have our first penalty. Merrimack's Elliott Sheen goes to the box for hooking. UNH on the powerplay.
8:45: Joe Cannata just made a phenomenal save on a UNH 2 on 1 rush to keep the Wildcats off the board.
8:42: 17:51 left in the first. Merrimack has 2 shots; none for UNH.
8:40: No goal! The play was offsides, and the score remains 0-0. Already a lot of action in just the first minute of play. The Garden absolutely erupted when the announcement was made.
8:39: UNH leads 1-0. An absolutely fluke of a goal. UNH dumped it into the Merrimack zone, the puck deflected off a stick, and found its way past Merrimack goalie Joe Cannata. The play is under review.
8:38: The puck has dropped and we are underway from TD Garden!
8:33: Starting lineups were just announced and it just got loud. The "Let's go Merrimack" chants have begun. Time for the national anthem.
8:30: Opening face-off is only 5 minutes away. Merrimack is serving as the away team, but they seem to have brought a lot more fans than UNH.
8:20: Here are some pregame notes:
- Merrimack took the season series from UNH 2-1
- Merrimack has never reached a Hockey East Final
- The Warriors are ranked #7 in the nation; UNH is #10
- Merrimack set a school record for wins this year with 24
- Merrimack's record in North Andover this year: 14-2-1
- Warriors Stephane Da Costa and goalie Joe Cannata are both candidates for this year's Hobey Baker Award
8:10: We are just about 25 minutes from puck drop here in Boston. North Andover is well represented as the Merrimack fans are all sitting together, decked out in yellow and blue.
7:55: Jay Oza here for North Andover Patch. I've got quite the view here at TD Garden and I'll be with you all night to see if North Andover's own Merrimack College Warriors can earn a berth in the Hockey East Championship game.