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Merrimack Battles Saint A’s For NE10 Title Sunday at Home

photo: Merrimack Athletics

Back in the league tournament title game for the 12th time in school history, the No. 2 Merrimack College men’s lacrosse team will play for its third Northeast-10 Conference Championship and first in eight years when it takes on No. 17 and fifth-seeded Saint Anselm College in the 2018 NE10 Finals on Sunday afternoon at Merrimack Stadium. Game time is 1 p.m.

Ticket Prices
Adults: $6
Children/Seniors: $4
Students w/ valid NE10 ID: $1
Note: Ticket sales are cash only. Tickets are required for admission to beer garden.

BEER GARDENS AVAILABLE FOR HOME GAMES
Merrimack is pleased to offer a 21+ Beer Garden on the stadium patio for all home men’s lacrosse games (opposite the press box side, closest to the Merrimack Athletics Complex). The patio opens one hour before faceoff and closes at the end of the third quarter. Light snacks are also available for purchase.

Merrimack in the NE10 Championship

  • Merrimack is making its 20th appearance in the league tournament, second only to Le Moyne’s 22 appearances (including this spring), and is 19-17 in the NE10 Championship.
  • The Warriors have advanced to the semifinal round of the tournament 19 times – including 14 straight after this season – which again is second only to Le Moyne’s 20.
  • Merrimack has also advanced to 12 NE10 Finals (behind Le Moyne’s 17) including this season.
  • Merrimack has won the NE10 Tournament in two previous seasons (2000, 2010); only Le Moyne (13), Bentley (3) and Adelphi (3) have more league championships.
  • Merrimack has finished as the tournament’s runner-up a league-high nine times, most recently in 2016 when it dropped an 8-6 decision at Le Moyne.
  • The Warriors will also look to become the first team not named Adelphi or Le Moyne to win the league tournament since their last title in 2010.
  • Since 2000, the only team not named Le Moyne, Merrimack or Adelphi to win the NE10 title was former conference member Bryant in 2008.

Inside the Series:

  • Merrimack is 24-3 all-time against Saint Anselm and has won 13 straight in the series.
  • The last loss against the Hawks was on April 11, 2007 (9-4).
  • Earlier this season, Merrimack clipped the Hawks in a game it controlled from start to finish, emerging victorious by a 17-9 final. That followed a 20-6 road win during the regular season finale at the end of the 2017 season.
  • In the NE10 Tournament, Merrimack is 2-0 in its only two meetings against Saint Anselm, with both wins coming in the quarterfinal round. The Warriors blew by the Hawks, 14-6, in 2014, and had a much closer go of it in an 8-7 win in 2007.
  • Sunday’s meeting is the first between the two schools in the NE10 Finals.

Last Time Out:

  • The second-ranked Merrimack College men’s lacrosse team – backed by a Herculean effort by sophomore Charlie Bertrand, in particular – powered its way to a 17-11 victory over rival and fourth-ranked Adelphi in the semifinal round of the 2018 Northeast-10 Conference Men’s Lacrosse Championship on Friday afternoon at Merrimack Stadium. Bertrand finished with a career-high eight points as the Warriors outscored Adelphi 14-8 from the second quarter onward. Click here for full recap.

Poll Watch:

  • Merrimack enters the week ranked No. 2 in the USILA Coaches’ Poll. It was No. 1 during a four-week span and has been no lower than second all year.
  • As is usually the case, the Warriors have faced plenty of the nation’s top programs this year, as seven other schools that are on Merrimack’s schedule are also ranked in this week’s poll.
  • The Warriors have already played NYIT (ranked eighth when they played), LIU Post (12), Le Moyne (2) Pace (9) and Adelphi (6). Saint Anselm is ranked 17th but was not ranked when the two schools played. Adelphi is now ranked fourth entering the postseason.

‘Mack Facts:

  • Merrimack (14-1, 10-1 NE10) leads the NE10 and ranks seventh nationally in scoring offense (14.53) and ranks second and fifth, respectively, in scoring defense (7.40). The Warriors boast the 13th-best man-down defense in the country (77.8%) and 21st-best man-up offense (35.7%). The Warriors have held 12-of-15 opponents to single-digit goals.
  • Freshman Sean Black (75 points) leads all Warriors on the offensive front with 30 goals and 45 assists. He ranks first in the league in overall scoring and second in assists. His 3.00 assists per game figure ranks second nationally and scoring average (5.00) ranks sixth.
  • Sophomore Charlie Bertrand, meanwhile, is the league leader in goals scored (52), ranking third nationally in goals per game (3.71).
  • Senior Blake Boudreau has won 223-of-336 on the X (.664) as Merrimack’s primary faceoff man, ranking 10th nationally and second in the NE10 in faceoff win percentage. He ranks seventh nationally and first in the NE10 averaging 9.33 ground balls per game.
  • Seniors James Bassett, reigning USILA Defensive Player of the Year, compliments classmate Eric Coburn and juniors Ryan Burke and Dan Cotnoir to form a formidable backline. All four have double-digit caused turnovers, with Coburn leading the way with 15.
  • In net, freshman Peter Brown has started 13 of the team’s 15 games and has been solid, posting a league-best 6.58 goals against average and .493 save percentage in that span.
  • Merrimack has won the last 26 games it has scored 10 or more goals in; its last loss when posting a double-digit scoring total was in double overtime against Le Moyne (12-11) on March 18, 2017.

Scouting Saint Anselm:

  • Making its first appearance in the NE10 Championship Final, Saint Anselm kept its magical postseason run intact after a stunning upset of top-ranked and previously unbeaten Le Moyne in the semifinal round, as the Hawks won in overtime, 9-8, on the road on Friday.
  • Saint Anselm enters Sunday with an 11-4 record and finished fifth in the league standings in the regular season. They cruised over Saint Rose in the quarterfinal round by a 19-9 score.
  • Saint Anselm ranks fourth in the NE10 in both scoring offense (13.00) and defense (8.20).
  • The Hawks boast a balance attack that features four players with more than 40 points; leading the charge is junior Anthony Busconi with 51 points (37g, 14a), while senior Ryan Hesseltine has distributed a team-high 22 assists.
  • Ryan Melley has taken the most faceoffs for Saint Anselm, winning 91-of-182 (50.0%). Derrick LaBranche’s 41 ground balls and 27 caused turnovers lead the Hawks by a wide margin.
  • Nick Richard has started all 15 games for the Hawks and owns an 8.34 GAA and .575 SV%.

Inside the Matchup:

#2 Merrimack (14-1, 10-1 NE10) Category #17 St. Anselm (11-4, 7-4 NE10)
4/28 vs. St. Michael’s (W, 20-2)
5/4 vs. #4 Adelphi (W, 17-11)
Recent Games 5/1 at St. Rose (W, 19-9)
5/4 at #1 Le Moyne (W, 9-8/OT)
14.53 Scoring Offense 13.00
7.40 Scoring Defense 8.20
35.7% Man-Up Offense 37.5%
77.8% Man-Down Defense 76.6%
218-629 (.347) Goals/Shot Attempts (Sh. Pct.) 195-643 (.303)
34.13 Ground Balls 28.93
12.33 Turnovers 13.53
7.07 Caused Turnovers 8.20
65.0% Faceoff Pct. 43.9%
90.3% Clearing Pct. 86.1%

Up Next
A win would give the Warriors their third league tournament title and first since 2010. Regardless of the result, Merrimack would learn its NCAA Tournament fate on Sunday night at 7:30 p.m. when the NCAA DII Men’s Lacrosse Championship selection show airs on NCAA.com. The NCAA Tournament begins at the sites of the higher two seeds on Saturday, May 12.

Mike McMahon is in his 12th year covering Merrimack College for The Eagle Tribune and is the founder and managing editor of The Mack Report. Mike also serves on staff as a senior writer at College Hockey News. Follow him on Twitter @MikeMcMahonCHN

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2018-19 Men’s Hockey Schedule

October
5 - vs. Lake Superior State (7pm)
6 - vs. Lake Superior State (7pm)
27 - vs. UMass (Homecoming) (7pm)

December
28 - vs. Denver (7pm)
31 - vs. Colorado College (4pm)

February
22 - @ UMass Lowell
23 - vs. UMass Lowell

Date Undetermined
TBD - @ Bentley
TBD - vs. Holy Cross

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