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Five Takes: Tavernier slides back on the top line

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1. Tavernier slides back in

Sami Tavernier took his spot back as first-line right wing after a one-game suspension from Hockey East.

Taverner looked good in his return, registering four shots on net in the first two periods.

Tavernier is a player who should get going for the Warriors soon. He’s in a lot of prime scoring positions and he’s on the ice a lot. It seems illogical that he only has one goal at this point in the season. He’s in scoring areas often enough that it’s fair to expect his output to increase.

The same goes for Chase Gresock (I realize I keep writing this). Gresock leads the team in shots and he had more than 30 goals in the USHL last season. Players with a history of scoring — especially in that league — who also are leading their team in shots as a freshman, will absolutely have a run of scoring goals.

Jordan Seyfert played a solid game, and he plays his best when he has a chip on his shoulder. The more he plays with an edge, the more effective he is up front for the Warriors.

2. Strong first Period

Merrimack had one of its stronger first periods of the season, despite falling behind 1-0. The game was 0-0 until the 15:30 mark, when JD Dudek put the Eagles on the board. Before that, Merrimack had the bulk of possession. In fact, the Warriors had a 66.7 percent Corsi in the period (24-12 attempts).

Some of that was on the back of 5:40 of power-play time in the first period. But the Warriors looked solid at even-strength as well.

Scott Borek said after the game — and he’s correct — that Merrimack had dictated the possession for long stretches. If the Warriors eliminated eight sloppy minutes, the score is even.

So what needs to change? Honestly, not much. And some of it might be out of their control. Merrimack needs to clean up those eight minutes — no question — and from there the Warriors have to find a way to do something with their long stretches of possession.

Some of that is a matter of skill … but most coaches will tell you, it’s also a matter of will.

3. Merrimack had powerplay chances

As noted, the Warriors had 5:40 of power-play time in the first period alone. In the game, Merrimack spent 11:15 on the power play and put seven shots on Joe Woll.

That’s OK, but it’s not good enough.

The Warriors played with good structure on the power play — the unit is well coached — but the Warriors couldn’t find a way to get the puck past Woll. The Warriors could have afforded a few more shot attempts with the man advantage.

4. BC’s sticks really good

There was a noticeable difference between the sticks on the BC roster and the sticks on the Merrimack roster. Obviously, BC’s roster (despite its record) is filled with NHL-level talent, so saying the Eagles have better sticks isn’t a big stretch. But this was the first game where I thought you could notice some differences.

For example, BC’s passes (especially in transition) were often tape-to-tape, and the Eagles seemed to receive those passes with ease. Merrimack, on the other hand, had to fight the puck at times on those breakout passes.

5. Wahlstrom was invisible

I realize he’s the No. 11 overall pick, and he’s almost certainly going to play in the NHL at some point, but Oliver Wahlstrom didn’t look like he belonged on the same ice as Merrimack and BC on Saturday night. And not in a good way. Wahlstrom was invisible. Come to think of it, he wasn’t heard from much on Friday night at Lawler Arena either.

He somehow finished with three shots — I honestly cannot think of a single time he touched the puck — and he seemed to be quickly thrown off his game the second Merrimack made it hard for him to get to the net.

About Mike McMahon

Mike McMahon is in his 13th 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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