CHESTNUT HILL — Losing in the playoffs is never easy, but it was particularly harder on Saturday night for the Merrimack men’s ice hockey team.
The Warriors now had to say goodbye to a strong class of seniors; this senior class is the only class in Merrimack’s Hockey East history to win playoff series in three different seasons.
It was hard for Merrimack head coach Mark Dennehy to hide his emotions when asked about the class following Saturday’s 4-3 overtime loss to Boston College in Game 2 of the Hockey East quarterfinals, which ended Merrimack’s season.
“This is a special senior class,” he said. “They came in with a little bit of turmoil. We had an eight-win season prior to them getting here. Everyone expected more out of this year, we did as well, but this class is a special group. They left it all out there, no doubt.
“There’s nothing you can say to them. There’s no use talking about the game, it’s over. For them, their college careers are over. What we did talk about, briefly, was more about their impact on this program. I’m forever indebted to them for choosing Merrimack and making it a better place. It’s personal stuff, and there will be more time to talk about it.”
Merrimack’s seniors were among its best players in the playoffs. Brett Seney, who finished his career with 115 points, is one of the top-20 scorers in the program’s Division I history. Jace Hennig had an 80-point career and that doesn’t even include defensemen Marc Biega and captain Jared Kolquist, who played 20+ minutes per night from the second they arrived on campus.
Mathieu Tibbet has battled through injuries and set the tone from an energy perpsective and Aaron Titcomb added the muscle, and the courage, continuing to be a leader blocking shots.
“It’s an unbelievable group,” Dennehy said. “If we didn’t have the senior leadership we had this year, with all the trials and tribulations, it may have fallen apart. But those guys were fantastic. All of them, led by Jared and Marc, but right down the list. They all gave us everything they had.”
– Merrimack reached the quarterfinal round of the league tournament for the third time in the last four years and third time since the playoff format changed in 2014 to add an Opening Round. Merrimack’s senior class graduates as the only one in program history to win three Hockey East playoff series since the Division I era.
– The Warriors controlled the bulk of play in both games of the series, doubling the Eagles in shots on goal (70-35) in both games. Alfred Larsson potted his second goal of the playoffs and third of the year, while Tyler Irvine recorded his first collegiate playoff goal in the process. Ludvig Larsson, meanwhile, netted his second goal this postseason alone.
– Merrimack ended a drought of 19 power plays without a goal dating back to Feb. 17 after converting its first man advantage of the night.
– Merrimack fell to 22-70-7 all-time against Boston College and 1-30-3 at Kelley Rink since Halloween of 1997. The Warriors finished the year 11-3-2 when scoring three-plus goals compared to 1-18-2 when being held to fewer than three goals. The Warriors also played their 11th overtime game of the season and finished 4-3-4 in overtime contests.