WARRIORS AIM FOR FIRST ROAD WIN AT BC SINCE 1997 FRIDAY NIGHT
NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. – Participating in its first one-game weekend since Frozen Fenway, the Merrimack College men's ice hockey team will travel to Chestnut Hill to face second-ranked and first-place Boston College and seek its first win at Conte Forum since Oct. 31, 1997, when the Warriors meet the Eagles on Friday night. Puck drop is set for 7 p.m.
Date/Time: Friday, Feb. 7, 2014 | 7 p.m.
Records: Merrimack (7-15-3, 2-9-2 HEA) | #2 Boston College (20-4-3, 12-1-1 HEA)
Location: Conte Forum | Chestnut Hill, Mass.
Lifetime vs. Boston College:
In a series that dates all the way back to 1972, Merrimack and BC meet up for the 87th all-time meeting on Friday night, marking the last regular-season showdown this season between the two schools. After playing twice when Merrimack was still in the Division II ranks, the two schools have faced off annually since 1989-90. The Eagles have the upper hand in the series, as Merrimack has gone just 21-60-5 against BC. Those struggles are more enunciated at Conte Forum, where Merrimack owns just an 8-35-2 all-time mark and is winless in its last 27 (24-0-3) games played in Chestnut Hill. The Warriors' last win at BC was a 6-4 win on Oct. 31, 1997.
Last Time Out vs. UMass Lowell
Connor Hellebuyck turned away all 33 shots he faced, leading eighth-ranked UMass Lowell to a 4-0 shutout decision against Merrimack to sweep a weekend conference series last Saturday night.
Held scoreless for the first time since Nov. 23 at Northeastern, Merrimack strung together 33 shots on net and outshot the River Hawks by nine (33-24), but Hellebuyck – who entered the night as the nation's leader in goals-against average – was brilliant, backstopping the River Hawks to victory by means of his third shutout of the year.
Meanwhile, four different UML skaters lit the lamp, as the visitors carried a one-goal lead into the intermission thanks to a penalty-shot tally by Adam Chapie, scored twice more in the second before adding a late marker in the third to round out the night.
Sam Marotta finished with 20 saves in his first start since November, while fellow senior Mike Collins led all Warriors with six shots. Merrimack also came up empty on five man advantages, while the River Hawks finished 1-for-6 on the power play.
For the full recap from last Saturday, please click here.
A Win Friday:
- Would give Merrimack its first road win at Boston College in 28 tries, snapping a drought that stretches back to Oct. 31 of the 1997-98 campaign
- Depending on the BU-UMass Lowell result, could bump Merrimack into 10th place in the league standings
- Would snap a two-game losing streak after dropping a pair last weekend to UML
- Could also snap a two-game losing streak to BC; after winning at home against the Eagles in overtime last February, Boston College returned the favor with an OT win at Lawler Rink in the series finale and took this season's opener back in January (4-1)
- Unbeaten in their last 13 games (12-0-1), Boston College is mounting plenty of momentum heading into the last month of the season and is sitting pretty both in the national polls (2nd), the PairWise Rankings (2nd), and the Hockey East standings, which they lead by a whopping eight points with six games to play over second-place UMass Lowell and Northeastern
- BC boasts a trio of 30-point scorers, one 40-point skater, and one 50-point collector, highlighted by Hobey Baker Memorial Award favorite Johnny Gaudreau; the junior forward and Calgary Flames draft selection has scored at least one point in each of his last 23 games and leads the nation with 53 points and 1.96 points per game (24-29--53)
- Senior Kevin Hayes is no slouch either, ranking third behind averaging 1.73 points per game (20-26--46). Classmate Bill Arnold is seventh on that national leader board averaging 1.41 (8-30--38)
- Junior Brian Billett and freshman Thatcher Demko have split most of the action between the pipes. But it has been Demko who has started the last four games and ranks fifth nationally with a 1.90 GAA and 11th in SV% (.930). Owning a record of 9-1-2 in net, Demko's .833 win percentage also ranks second in college hockey
- As a team, the Eagles lead the country in scoring offense, averaging 4.33 goals per game. BC's penalty kill has also been lights-out, fending off 91.1 percent of opponents' power-play chances, good for first nationally. Their scoring defense (2.19) ranks fifth