NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. – Riding a season-high five-game winning streak, the third-ranked Merrimack College men’s lacrosse team will head to Maryland for its final non-conference game of the regular season, as the Warriors will match up with four-time national champion and top-ranked Limestone College, the 2016 national runner-up and last unbeaten team remaining in the country, for a Sunday (April 23) afternoon showdown at Arundel High School. Game time is set for 12 p.m.
Clash of the Titans:
- The Merrimack-Limestone matchup represents a meeting between two of the country’s top programs over the past five years, with 20 combined NCAA Tournament appearances between the two schools (17 – Limestone, 3 – Merrimack).
- Merrimack is coming off back-to-back trips to the NCAA Semifinal, where the Warriors were an overtime goal away from reaching the national title game in 2015.
- Limestone, meanwhile, has won four national championships – a figure that ranks tied for third all-time with NYIT – and is coming off a national runner-up finish last year after an 8-4 loss to Le Moyne in the national championship game.
- Limestone last won it all in 2015 over Le Moyne (9-6) and has made three straight appearances in the national championship game and has qualified for the NCAA Tournament in each of the last 17 years.
- Limestone is also the last unbeaten team in the country (15-0).
Last Time Out:
- Playing in its final home game of the regular season, Merrimack honored its nine graduates from the Class of 2017 on Senior Night and then rolled to its fifth straight victory, 17-4, over visiting Assumption College on Wednesday night.
- Merrimack had a consistent showing in the first half, putting up five goals in both the first and second quarters to stake itself a 10-0 lead.
- Freshman Charlie Bertrand (Baldwinsville, N.Y.) had a hat trick five minutes into the second quarter, while sophomore Edward Hellier (South Portland, Maine) stopped all five shots he faced in the first half in a perfect showing.
- Both sides traded two goals apiece in the third quarter before the Warriors rounded out the night by outscoring the Greyhounds by a 5-2 margin in the final frame, finishing 4-1 at home in the regular season.
- Merrimack owns the top-ranked offense in the NE10 and third-best in the country (16.17).
- The same can be said for Merrimack’s man-up offense, which operates at 40.0 percent, and leads the conference and ranks sixth nationally.
- The Warriors are equally impressive on the back end, ranking second in the league and sixth nationally yielding only 7.0 goals per game.
- Merrimack boasts the second-best average scoring margin in the country (+9.17), trailing only Limestone (10.13).
- Merrimack has been held to a single-digit goal total just once this season (9 at Adelphi, April 1). Other than that, Merrimack has scored no fewer than 11 goals its remaining 10 games.
- Freshman Charlie Bertrand has been recognized as the NE10 Rookie of the Week four times this season; he has posted no fewer than three points in any game he has played in and has nine hat tricks. He leads the NE10 in goals (36) and points (49) and ranks eighth nationally in goals per game (3.27) and 14th in points per game (4.45).
- Junior Blake Boudreau is the conference’s second-best faceoff man and ranks eighth nationally with a 65.1 winning percentage on the X. He also ranks 12th nationally (3rd/NE10) in ground balls per game (6.27).
- Merrimack has been ranked as high as second in the USILA/Nike 2017 Division II Coaches’ Poll (Week 6) and no lower than sixth at any point this season.
- Merrimack is slated to face three more opponents that are currently ranked in the poll: Limestone (1) and Saint Anselm (17), as well as a number of opponents who are receiving votes.
- Merrimack defeated then-No. 7 LIU Post, then-No. 19 Molloy and then-No. 7 Pace earlier this season and lost to top-ranked Le Moyne and then-sixth-ranked Adelphi.
Inside the Series:
- Merrimack is 1-4 all-time against Limestone with its only win coming on March 10, 2012.
- The Warriors won that matchup, 12-11, played in Baltimore.
- All of the last three meetings have been decided by three goals or less, with the most recent outing, an 8-7 loss, coming on March 9, 2014, in Towson, Maryland.
Inside the Matchup:
|#3 Merrimack (10-2, 8-2 NE10)||Category||#1 Limestone (15-0, 7-0 CC)|
|4/15 at AIC (W, 28-1)
4/19 vs. Assumption (W, 17-4)
|Recent Games||4/15 at #11 Mount Olive (W, 10-6)
4/19 vs. Emmanuel (W, 21-3)
|16.17 (3rd/NCAA)||Scoring Offense||17.07 (1st/NCAA)|
|7.0 (6th)||Scoring Defense||6.93 (5th)|
|40.0% (6th)||Man-Up Offense||24.1% (47th)|
|76.9% (17th)||Man-Down Defense||93.2% (1st)|
|Charlie Bertrand (36-13—49)||Lead Scorer||Charlie Sheehan (45-9—54)|
|Kyle Stenberg (5)||Man-Up Goals Leader||Colton Watkinson (4)|
|Blake Boudreau (81)||Ground Balls Leader||Kevin Reisman (166)|
|Blake Boudreau (150-230/.651)||Faceoff Specialist||Reisman (243-327/.743)|
|Eric Coburn (18)||Caused Turnovers Leader||Andrew Martin (16)|
|Edward Hellier (9-2, 7.24, . 546)||Projected Starting Goalie||Cole Aikens (10-0, 6.59, .592)|
Merrimack ends the regular season a week from Saturday when it heads to Saint Anselm College for a 7 p.m. showdown on April 29.
Mike McMahon has covered Merrimack College for The Eagle Tribune since 2006 and he also has been a senior writer at College Hockey News since 2005.
You can follow Mike on Twitter @MikeMcMahonCHN and you can follow the site @TheMackReports.