ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Merrimack coach Chris Serino admits Michigan is a better team, but he is upset because his team “never had a chance” to win.
He blames new CCHA referee John Murphy for taking the Warriors’ chance away.
“I think he’s incompetent,” Serino said of Murphy on Saturday after Merrimack lost 5-1 to the Wolverines, who swept the weekend series.
After Murphy called five penalties against Merrimack (0-2-1) in the first period and just one against the Wolverines, Serino was livid. He also believed Michigan’s Jed Ortmeyer took a shot at the net well after the buzzer.
He argued with Murphy at the end of the period and was hit for a two-minute unsportsmanlike conduct penalty to start the second.
“He could have called eight or nine on [the Wolverines],” Serino said.
Serino had already blasted Murphy after Friday night, when Murphy gave Michigan 13 minutes of power-play time in the second period.
For the weekend Murphy called 26 penalties (74 minutes) against the Warriors to 18 (36) against the Wolverines. Michigan’s power plays outnumbered Merrimack’s, 17-10.
“You don’t have a game like this anywhere,” said Serino, who added that he would not make a formal protest. “There were observers here tonight, they saw.”
According to an article in the (Mass.) Eagle Tribune, Serino said Berenson apologized to him after the game for the officiating during the weekend series.
CCHA director of officials Brian Hart was unavailable for comment.
Murphy is in his first year as a CCHA referee. He worked in the ECAC previously.
Michigan forward Eric Nystrom said Friday that he “knew [the Warriors] were going to be a chippy team.
“We’re a fast-skating team, and the way to beat us is to play a physical game.”
The penalty-ridden game marred a fine performance by Michigan’s freshman class.
Just four games into the season, all four incoming freshman skaters have their first goal under their belt.
Brandon Kaleniecki scored two goals. Danny Richmond had a goal and an assist. Andrew Ebbett added a score. And Jeff Tambellini had an assist to tie him for the team lead in points with five. He also leads the Wolverines (3-1-0) with four goals.
Michigan coach Red Berenson said the newbies played so well, he let them lead the Wolverines’ fight song after the game.
“I think they are adding a lot to this team,” Berenson said.
Michigan converted 2-of-9 power plays, scoring both in the second period.
Berenson said the power-play unit played “better than” Friday, but he still has to tinker with his lineup. Without John Shouneyia, who is out for at least six weeks with a wrist injury, Berenson has used Dwight Helminen and Ortmeyer at the point.
Joe Exter stopped 31 of 36 shots for the Warriors, who got a late goal from Derek Kilduff.
Michigan freshman Al Montoya stopped 11 of 12 shots, before being replaced with a 5-1 third-period lead by Noah Ruden, who made eight saves.
Berenson also said that sophomore forward Jason Ryznar (shoulder) would be healthy enough to play next weekend against Alaska-Fairbanks.