AMHERST, Mass. - Merrimack's Jeff Velleca scored with two seconds left in regulation giving the No. 4 Warriors a 4-3 win over the UMass hockey team on Friday night at the Mullins Center. The game-winner was Valleca's second score of the night. Joel Hanley, Conor Sheary and Troy Power each tallied goals for the Minutemen.
UMass (9-12-5, 5-10-4 HEA) will return to action next Friday at No. 3 Boston University before returning to the Mullins Center on Saturday (7 PM) to close out the season series against Providence.
Valleca scored his game-winning goal on a wrap-around attempt coming from the left hand side of the goal to the right side goal-line. He drifted backwards before roofing the shot over Steve Mastalerz (23 saves).
The game saw each team respond to scored goals throughout the night. Ryan Flanigan put the Warriors up 1-0 just 3:25 into the game before UMass' Power responded nearly a minute later.
Merrimack regained the lead 20 seconds after Power's goal with Josh Myers' third goal of the season to go ahead 2-1 at the 4:50 mark.
Sheary wristed home a shot that got knocked home after a scrum in the crease took goalie Joe Cannata (25 saves) off his skates tying the game at 2-2 at the 16:13 mark of the first period.
The second period saw Valleca tally his first goal of the game as Merrimack took a 3-2 lead into the second intermission.
Hanley tied the game after Rhett Bly was given a 5-minute major and a game-misconduct just 41 seconds into the third period. Hanley scored a power play goal 25 seconds into the extended power play, but UMass was unable to score again.
Overtime for the second straight night looked certain until Valleca's game-winner at the 19:58 mark.