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Preview: No. 1 Merrimack Men’s Lacrosse Hosts No. 12 LIU Post Saturday

The Merrimack College men’s lacrosse team will meet another nationally ranked foe on Saturday, as the Warriors entertain regional rival and 12th-ranked LIU Post at Merrimack Stadium. Game time is set for 12 p.m.

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 (note: with the women’s team playing after the men on Saturday, the beer garden will remain open for the entire game!). Light snacks are also available for purchase.

Inside the Series:

  • Merrimack and LIU Post have played one of the most fiercely contested rivalries over the past five years, as the Warriors have now won five straight dating back to the 2014 season.
  • Four out of those five games have been decided by two goals or less, with two being one-goal decisions.
  • Merrimack posted the only lopsided result in that span in last year’s season opener, a 12-5 victory on the road.
  • The two sides met twice in North Andover in 2016 with Merrimack winning both times, including a 15-13 victory in the quarterfinal round of that year’s NCAA Tournament.
  • LIU Post hasn’t defeated Merrimack since the 2007 season, when the Warriors dropped a 9-4 decision on the road against then-C.W. Post.
  • Merrimack has a 5-4 edge in the nine meetings played since 2000.

Last Time Out:

  • Merrimack returned from a 13-day layoff and topped Lake Erie in its first home game of the season (and second overall) last Saturday by a 16-11 score.
  • The Warriors erased a three-goal deficit in the second quarter by scoring the final three goals of the half and pushed that momentum into the third quarter with four more tallies, building a three-goal lead after 45 minutes that reached as high as seven goals before ultimately winning by five.
  • Merrimack’s two lead scorers from the season opener were in familiar territory in Saturday’s contest, as Charlie Bertrand (5g, 2a) and Sean Black(1g, 6a) both led the way with seven points. Rookie Christian Thomas also had six points with four goals and two assists.

Poll Watch:

  • Merrimack, which earned its first-ever No. 1 national ranking in the USILA/Nike 2017 Division II Coaches’ Poll last April, started the 2018 season in the No. 2 spot before rising to No. 1 in the first weekly poll of the nation’s top-20 programs, and the Warriors have stayed there since.
  • As is usually the case, the Warriors will face 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 NYIT (ranked eighth when they played), and are yet to face Le Moyne (2), Pace (4), Adelphi (10), LIU Post (12), Saint Anselm (18) and Southern New Hampshire (20).

‘Mack Facts:

  • Merrimack is off to a 2-0 start on the year thanks to a torrid offense that averages 16.0 goals per game (5th/NCAA).
  • Freshman Sean Black and sophomore Charlie Bertrand have 14 and 13 points, respectively, to lead all Warriors; the former’s nine assists lead the squad, while the latter has netted a team-best nine goals. They rank second and third, respectively, in the NE10 in scoring; Bertrand ranks second in total goals in the conference while Black paces the conference in assists.
  • Senior Blake Boudreau has won 35-of-58 on the X (.603) as Merrimack’s primary faceoff man and he leads the team with 18 ground balls.
  • Four different Warriors share the team lead with two caused turnovers.
  • In net, senior Mitch Green has played nearly every minute so far and owns a 12.56 goals against average and .457 save percentage.
  • Merrimack has won the last 14 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 LIU Post:

  • LIU Post is off to a 2-1 start on the season; it won its first two games, including an impressive 9-8 victory against then-No. 4/5 Adelphi, but it fell on the road to No. 4/5 Pace last Saturday, 12-7.
  • The Pioneers average an even 10.0 goals per game while allowing 8.67.
  • William Snelders is the lone Pioneer in double-digit scoring figures at 14 with a team-high 11 goals and three assists.
  • Connor Farrell is the primary faceoff man who wins 59.4 percent of his draws against (38-64); Ryan Baker paces the way defensively with six caused turnovers.
  • Bryan Ochs has started the previous three games in net and is 2-1 with an 8.41 goals against average and a .615 save percentage.

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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