In a game between the two oldest teams in Hockey East, the youngest player made the difference.
Matt Copponi scored at 10:05 of the second overtime, lifting Merrimack to a 2-1 win over UMass Lowell as the clock approached midnight Friday and sending the Warriors to face Boston University in Saturday night’s Hockey East championship game.
Seconds after a faceoff in the Lowell zone, the 19-year-old sophomore center buried a perfect setup from Ottoville Leppanen for his 14th goal of the season. He’s now tied for the team lead in goals with Alex Jefferies and Ben Brar.
“I thought tonight was the best game he’s played,” coach Scott Borek said early Saturday morning. “He was really good off of the puck, he was really good on it. People forget he’s an '03. Here on the biggest stage, he gets the biggest goal of our season. I’m really happy for him because he earned it.”