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AMHERST, Mass. - The UMass Minutemen closed out the regular season with a 6-1 win over the Merrimack Warriors Saturday night on Senior Night at the Mullins Center. Six of UMass' seven seniors tallied a point in the win, including Cory Quirk's 100th career point. Quirk became the eighth Minuteman to record 100 career point with his goal and two assists on Saturday. Alex Berry also netted a goal and added two assists, while Paul Dainton made 37 saves in goal for the Minutemen (15-18-3, 10-14-3 HEA). Andrew Braithwaite got the start in goal for Merrimack (9-21-4, 5-19-3 HEA), making 31 saves. UMass will travel to Boston next weekend for the Hockey East Quarterfinals against either Boston University or Northeastern.
The Minutemen outshot Merrimack 38-37 for the game, while the Warriors went 0-for-4 on the power play. UMass was 3-for-6 on the man advantage, generating 13 shots during their power plays.
Although Merrimack took a 1-0 lead just 1:30 into the first period and outshot the Minutemen 14-13, UMass quickly regained its composure and responded with three goals of its own to take a 3-1 lead into intermission. Joe Cucci scored his seventh goal of the season early in the frame off a pass from Ryan Flanigan. J.C. Robitaille controlled the puck in the corner and fed Flanigan with a pass in the slot. Flanigan then flung a backhand pass to Cucci all alone on the far post for the tap-in goal.
Quirk knotted the game at one three minutes later with the Minutemen on the power play. Topher Bevis sent the puck over to Alex Berry at the point, and Berry sent a low shot into the slot. Quirk was stationed in between the hashmarks and redirected the puck past Braithwaite for his 11th goal of the season. John Wessbecker gave the Minutemen the lead near the midway mark of the period when he wristed the puck over Braithwaite's glove for the goal.
Marc Concannon extended UMass' lead 31 seconds later on his second goal of the season. After taking a pass from Jordan Virtue, Chris Davis sent the puck to Concannon, who deeked and backhanded the puck past Braithwaite.
It took the Minutemen a few minutes to get going in the second period, but Berry gave UMass a three-goal lead nearly eight minutes into the frame. After Martin Nolet flew into the Merrimack zone and fired a shot on goal, he gathered his rebound behind the net and dished a pass to Berry on the doorstep for the one-timer goal.
UMass took a commanding lead almost two minutes later on Marcou's 14th goal of the season while the Minutemen were on the power play. Justin Braun sent the puck into traffic in front of Braithwaite, where Chase Langeraap tipped the puck to Marcou, who redirected the puck just over the goal line.
The Minutemen continued to dictate the play in the third period, outshooting the Warriors 14-9 and adding another goal. Casey Wellman notched his 11th goal of the season 1:19 into the frame when he took a pass from Braun and roofed a shot top-shelf. The goal was UMass' third power play tally of the night.