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Notebook: Merrimack’s power play best in the nation since Nov. 10

Photo: Jim Stankiewicz/Merrimack Athletics

BOSTON — Merrimack’s power play has been has been the best in the nation for almost the last month. Since Nov. 10, the Warriors have converted on 47.1 percent of their power plays. Denver is the next closest, and the Pioneers are 11 points behind the Warriors (36.0 percent).

Merrimack put eight shots on Cayden Primeau in its first power play of the game on Friday night (a 3-1 loss to Northeastern). Later, Cole McBride found the back of the net on a major penalty to Matt Filipe in the third period.

“I thought that if we played hard enough we’d get some power plays in the third, and our power play is dangerous so that can get us back in the game,” Merrimack coach Mark Dennehy said. “I would have liked to score a little earlier in that major, and then maybe we can call a timeout. But we didn’t. We had plenty of chances.”

Lineup shakeups on both sides

Merrimack changed almost every forward line from its last game 13 days against Providence. Northeastern split up Dylan Sikura and Adam Gaudette, and Northeastern coach Jim Madigan said it was the first time in a while they have played separately.

For Merrimack, Brett Seney moved back to the left wing in what was perhaps the most notable change. But several combinations received a shakeup.

“When you’re not playing as consistently as you’d like, you’re looking for some difference combinations,” Dennehy said. “That group for the most part was good throughout the week. There were things I liked about the lineup and things that I think we need to change.”

Quick Quote

“He played fine. He played with poise, too. This can be a tough building to play in. We can’t break down as much as we break down. It didn’t happen a lot, but out of the four times it happened, it ended up in the back of the net twice.” – Dennehy on Merrimack goaltender Craig Pantano.

Final Notes

McBride notched his second collegiate goal and first since Oct. 21, 2017, at Minnesota Duluth. … Northeastern won its fifth straight game in the series, as Merrimack’s last win against Northeastern was when it swept the Huskies in the 2015 Hockey East Tournament Opening Round series at Matthews Arena. … Merrimack has been kept to fewer than three goals nine of 13 games and is winless (0-8-1) in those contests, compared to 2-0-2 when scoring three-plus goals. … Northeastern now has eight wins in 14 games, the fastest to eight wins since 2013-14.

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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