Game Previews

Terriers close out the first-half with series against Merrimack Warriors

Photo by Benson (Hui-En) Lin.

The No. 4 Boston University men’s ice hockey team (9-4-1, 5-1-1 Hockey East) will play a home-and-home series against Merrimack College (6-6-1, 2-4-1 HE) this weekend in a rematch of the 2023 Hockey East championship game.  

The Terriers return to conference play after two matchups with ECAC opponents – a 3-2 win over Quinnipiac University on Nov. 22  and a 2-1 loss against Cornell University Saturday. 

“We’ve got to get back to playing really good hockey going into this weekend against a very good Merrimack team who we had some tough games against last year,” BU head coach Jay Pandolfo said during Thursday media availability. 

On whether or not the win against Quinnipiac bolstered the team’s confidence, Pandolfo said, “I think it gave our team some confidence, it didn’t translate to the next game.”

Pandolfo said that the team was “disappointed” in the result in Saturday’s game against Cornell. 

“We had a one-nothing lead, and then not finding a way to extend the lead, and then giving it up in the third period was tough. We just couldn’t find a way to score, I think that clearly hurt us.”

Despite the loss to Cornell, the Terriers moved up a spot in the most recent edition of USCHO rankings. BU also stands at third in the Pairwise ranking while Merrimack stands at 26th. 

The Terriers are facing the Warriors for the first time since defeating them in the Hockey East championship last year. 

“Obviously every game means the same to us, our biggest focus is being hard to play against this weekend,” junior defenseman Ty Gallagher said. 

Photo by Benson (Hui-En) Lin.

Merrimack, like a lot of Hockey East foes, is known for being a physical, hard-hitting squad. 

“They’re gonna be a hard team, they’re gonna be physical, they’re gonna be fast, they’re gonna have skill, so, just like every other team we can’t approach it any different,” freshman forward Shane Lachance said.

The weekend series is the last for BU before embarking on winter break, and Pandolfo highlighted the team’s inconsistency in the first half as an area of improvement for the spring. 

“I think we’ve been inconsistent. That’s probably my biggest takeaway up to this point is we haven’t been consistent in our game and how we play with our execution,” Pandolfo said. 

Five things to know about the Warriors: 

  • The Warriors have struggled with Hockey East competition this season, posting a 2-4-1 conference record compared to their 6-6-1 overall record. 
  • Merrimack is on a two-game winning streak, most recently beating Bentley University 4-3 on Saturday and Army West Point 7-3 on Friday. 
  • Junior goaltender Hugo Ollas and senior goaltender Zachary Borgiel have split the net for Merrimack. Ollas has a 2.55 goals against average and .913 save percentage. Borgiel has a 2.36 GAA and .916 SV%. 
  • For the second year in a row, graduate forward Ben Brar is serving as captain for Merrimack. The graduate forward has eight points (two goals, six assists) through 13 games. 
  • Senior forward Alex Jefferies is the Warriors’ leading goal scorer with seven goals so far this season. Jefferies is skating on the third line with graduate forward Mac Welsher and junior forward Michael Citara.

Puck drop is set for 7:30p.m. Friday at Lawler Arena and 6p.m. Saturday at Agganis Arena. The Boston Hockey Blog will have full, on-the-ground coverage so be sure to follow along on Twitter (X) @BOShockeyblog and Instagram

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