While most of the students at Merrimack prepare for a fun “Halloweekend” The Merrimack College Men’s Hockey Team is set for a scary Halloween weekend of their own. The boys this week prepare for a huge two game slate against the UMass Amherst Minutemen. Who by the way are ranked second in the country. Lord have mercy. Merrimack will travel west for the first game on October 28th at the Mullins Center, then Mack hosts Amherst Saturday October 29th here at our beloved Lawler Rink.
Merrimack so far has started off pretty decent; with an overall record of 3-2-0. Taking their wins against Clarkson, UNH, and Colgate who they split the series with last weekend. Merrimack isn’t in the Top 20 nationally but ranks 37th on USCHO.com’s PairWise standings and 6th in Hockey East. UMass on the other hand, is 4-1-1 and are red hot with 4 consecutive wins. Most notably they destroyed the defending National Champion Denver Pioneers twice. This weekend will be the Minutemen’s first look at a Hockey East opponent as they have yet to play a division opponent and with that rank 9th in the HEA standings.
To really emphasize how tough of a challenge this will be the emphasis on Massachusetts strengths which is their special teams. They lead the country in power play percentage scoring half the time as they’ve gone 8/16 with the man advantage. Merrimack has had 16 PP’s as well but have only notched 3 goals converting only 18.8%. Both teams have a really good penalty kill but UMass has a 94% success rate. Killing off 16 of 17 penalties committed.
On top of that Umass has only allowed 5 goals this season so far. Averaging under a goal a game allowed thanks to Umass’s Goaltender Luke Pavicich who leads the country with a .962 SV% (save percentage).
But right behind him ranked #2 is our very own Zachary Borgiel who also stands tall in the crease with a .951 SV% and leads the nation with the lowest GAA (Goals Against Average) allowing only 1 goal a game. Obviously both these goalies won’t play both games on a back to back but definitely look out for them. (And be sure to chant against whoever’s between the pipes behind our student section.)
Both games this weekend will be watchable via ESPN+ but definitely make sure to show out on Saturday at Lawler. You wouldn’t want to miss a huge upset in beating the second best team in the whole nation.