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Merrimack—Boston College Preview: Warriors look to extend winning against #2 Eagles

Marcus Antonelli – Sports Editor

NORTH ANDOVER – Men’s Hockey has had its share of tough opponents this season. At an overall record of 10-10-1, the boys are back in the mix, as high as 23rd in the national rankings. That comes off 4 wins in Merrimack’s last five games.

For the Warriors, the focus lies in the Hockey East. Merrimack has steadily risen in the standings after a good weekend against the UMass Amherst Minutemen. Still, the team has some ground to cover. At 9th place, the Warriors have 12 points to their name. Their opponent this weekend has 10 more.

THE OPPONENT

Boston College is undoubtedly the most electric college hockey team in the country. The Eagles are ranked second in the nation, with a record of 14-4-1 overall.

In the fall, they notably beat (4) Quinnipiac, swept (3) Michigan State, and consistently remain within the top 5 of many NCAA power rankings. (Pretty legit, right?) 

While being consistently ranked among the best in the nation, locally, the Eagles still soar at the top of the Hockey East. They’re second in the conference, behind their archrivals, the Boston University Terriers.

BC’s roster is full of young talent. How talented, you may ask? For one, they sent eight players overseas to represent the United States at the 2024 World Junior Championships, who eventually won gold in Gothenburg, Sweden. 

Their ‘Fab Four’ forward core of Cutter Gauthier, Will Smith, Ryan Leonard, and Gabe Perreault all highlight as NHL 1st-round draft picks on this team. A total of 105 points add up among the four players. All four are among the top 10 scorers in the Hockey East. 

These guys are a problem together. On the power play, they convert at a 27.6% success rate, which puts them 5th in the nation in PP%. Merrimack will look to match that, as they currently boast a top 10 penalty kill in the NCAA.

Leading the team in goal scoring is Cutter Gauthier. The now Ducks prospect has 14 goals (26 points) in 19 games in his second year with the Eagles, tied for 18th in the nation. 16 of those points come from 11 conference games. When you look at the former 5th overall pick, he’s a bonafide shooter. 

Among all this, Boston College has lost twice in their last five games of conference play. They fell to the dead last (in Hockey East) Northeastern Huskies in a split series and failed to sweep the Providence Friars, losing in the third game of the season series 4 to 3. 

LATEST ON MERRIMACK

Looking at the Warriors, the team has some steady momentum in their favor. They’ve won four of the last five games, steamrolling their out-of-conference competition and splitting against the (14) UMass Amherst Minutemen this past weekend. 

A key factor of Scott Borek’s forward group is unlikely to play in this weekend stint. Senior Alex Jefferies suffered a collision in the game vs UMass Amherst on Saturday the 13th. He went down the tunnel where he was unable to make a return.

There is no official word on his status but speculation is that Jefferies may not suit up. If it develops into a long-term injury that would be a substantial blow for this Merrimack team. 

Merrimack went 3-0 against Boston College in the 2022-23 season. The last time these two teams played, the Warriors sent BC packing on our way to the TD Garden in the postseason. For returning Eagles from that loss, there is revenge on their minds. It’s up to our boys to continue putting W’s on the calendar. 

Boston College will arrive at a sold-out Lawler this Friday the 19th for a 7 p.m. puck drop. Then both teams will take Saturday to rest and review the film before heading down to Chestnut Hill on Sunday, where the teams will finish the weekend in Conte at 3 in the afternoon. If you’re at the game on Friday, make some noise for our boys! 

For more coverage on Merrimack Men’s Hockey follow me on Twitter (@antonelli7jr) for all things Warriors Hockey. Don’t forget to check out the Beacon Newspaper website for articles on games, players, and more!

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