Merrimack finished out the regular season in extraordinary fashion. After the slump from Christmas break and the resurgence in March, the Warriors are pumped and ready for playoff hockey more than ever. If there was ever a season the Merrimack Warriors could capitalize on making history, this is the time.
The boys finished the regular season with a 4-1 win against Vermont which was their 5th consecutive W after sweeping BU and UMass Lowell earlier. Forward Jordan Seyfert couldn’t be more stoked about how the season ended, “It’s huge that we were able to solidify ourselves through winning those final games,” says Seyfert, “everyone goes through lows and highs, fortunately for us we had our lows in January and are now on a high.”
That final stretch clinched them the 2nd seed in the Hockey East standings. Going into the division playoffs; it’s the highest they’ve ever seeded in the Scott Borek era. Notching 21 wins this year, the most since 2011. What a climb.
Now Merrimack is in a position of power they haven’t been in. Being 2nd in the Hockey East means you’re big time. Especially to eyes around the country. Last they ranked this high in Hockey East was a little over ten years ago so this has been a long time coming.
Looking at the playoff bracket Merrimack has a first round bye secured as seen below, rewarded for their amazing season. (Image via PlayoffStatus.com)
As it may look, the winner of the Providence vs UNH game goes to play Merrimack but it in fact is not that way. Merrimack being the second seed will play the second lowest placed team that advances from the first round. This will be determined after Wednesday night.
As for how Merrimack would match up against the rest of the East, each team regardless of who advances will be a challenge and has their own threatening qualities. Looking back on each season series, Merrimack only swept BU, ULowell and BC. To give some stats; ⅚ teams in the 1st round have found a way to beat Merrimack.
But nonetheless MC has something any hockey team could want heading into a postseason; momentum. But how do you sustain it? “Momentum is difficult to quantify,” says Coach of the Year candidate Scott Borek, “but we are playing good hockey and we need to continue that moving forward.”
Last year the Warriors were knocked out by the River Hawks in the quarterfinal round. Now already being a game from going to TD Garden is there any extra motivation? “There’s always extra motivation in the postseason,” tells Ben Brar, “We know what it’s like to come up short, Saturday will take a full team effort if we want to find success.”
While Merrimack has solidified dominance in the Hockey East they also gave themselves a pretty decent chance to make the NCAA Tournament; finishing the season ranked 14th in the country.
To be one of 16 teams in the national stage to make it would be great for the MC Captain Ben Brar but it doesn’t concern the team at the moment. “Getting into the NCAA Tournament is absolutely one of our goals moving forward,” Brar claims, “at the end of the day we can control our own fate by winning the games in front of us, right now our focus is on Saturday night.”
You can catch the Warriors on Saturday night at 7 for the last game at Lawler Rink this season. Don’t miss the chance to watch some good playoff hockey and cheer on our boys. And if you’re sitting in the student section, don’t bother staying. Get Loud, Be Proud, and Go Warriors!