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Resurgence in Lawler

Resurgence in Lawler

Jack Lawhorne
The Merrimack College Men’s Ice Hockey team has had a rollercoaster ride of a season thus far. Before
their 6-1 blowout loss at Providence College on December 31, the Merrimack Warriors were riding a four-game win streak and an impressive overall record of 14-4 going into the new year, ranking as high as fifth
in the country. Coming off of a late-season sweep of top-ten-ranked Boston University, the Warriors are
looking to get back into the rhythm they were in before struggles arose as the new year came. It seems
like it has been months of us just sitting and waiting for Merrimack to find a spark, and it seems as though they have found that spark that they have been looking for.
Going into a short hiatus, the Warriors were riding a three-game losing streak to teams they undoubtedly
should have beaten; Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont. A tough way to represent themselves in the
second half of the season, the Warriors found themselves at a disappointing 2-7-1 overall record in the
month of January, with much to be desired from the squad. After such a strong first half of the season in
which the team shattered expectations in not just Hockey East, but also nationally, the talent and potential this team possessed was undeniable. But amidst a late-season slump, a tall task loomed for the
Warriors: back-to-back matchups against the top-five ranked Boston University Terriers. On the night of
Friday, February 17, the Warriors took on the Terriers at Lawler Rink and started off hot, as forward Matt
Copponi scored early in the 1st period on an assist from Hobey Baker Award nominee Alex Jefferies. The
scoring didn’t stop as Jordan Seyfert got on the board in the 1st, and Mick Messner was a force in this
one, adding three points, including two 3rd-period goals that propelled the Warriors to a much-needed 4-1 victory over BU. The following night in Boston, the Warriors again started off hot in the 1st period and led by two entering the first intermission. A surge from the Terriers, however, saw them score three and take the lead going into the 3rd.
However, this was not enough for BU as Merrimack captain Ben Brar scored twice including his 3rd
overtime game-winner of the season, with just 0.1 seconds left on the clock.

After a weekend that we’ve been anticipating since the birth of 2023, the Warriors are finally on a roll in the final stretch of the season, and they proved it wasn’t a fluke by sweeping another top-20-ranked team in UMass Lowell prior to the conclusion of the regular season on March 4 at Lawler where they’ll take on
Vermont. Merrimack has not looked this good since the turn of the calendar year when they were viewed
as a top 10 team in the country, and I spoke with senior captain Ben Brar on how the team has been able
to be so resilient despite tough stretches on the ice. “We for sure have a resilient team,” Brar said. He
added that it is largely due to having “such an experienced team… It’s a huge help having guys that have
been through these types of situations.” Brar also credited the Merrimack community and fans when
asked what type of impact the community has on the team, saying “It’s definitely great having all the
support from the Merrimack community as a whole. We appreciate everyone who helps us out around
campus. It for sure plays a factor in having that support in the stands during games. The atmosphere in
Lawler gives us an advantage in the games every time we step on the ice.”
Amidst their best season in over a decade in which they fell just short to Boston College in the 2011
Hockey East Championship, it has undoubtedly been a resurgent year for the Merrimack Men’s Ice Hockey program. Since their amazing 2011 season where it looked like the program was going uphill from there, the Warriors have yet to have a season come close to that of 2011. I spoke with freshman student Marcus Antonelli who is a staff writer for The Beacon and has reported on the team this season about it being a special season for the Merrimack hockey program with the potential to be a revival for the program. He said, “Reporting on the team this season has been a privilege. I think Borek’s ability to acquire some under-the-radar graduate talent was part of why the guys are where they are. In general, they all play a team-first game with an old-school twist. It really has been the bread and butter that has gotten them to where they are. They all support each other from what I know and it’s a true family environment.” With only one game left to play and Merrimack sitting at second in Hockey East behind only Boston University whom they swept just two weeks ago, things are looking good for the Warriors as they look to end this resurgent season with a Hockey East Championship, and even better, a national championship.

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