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Weekend Takeaways: Merrimack starts the second half strong

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— Overall, Merrimack has to be happy with a weekend split in Colorado that included a win over the defending national champions. The Warriors also played a solid game on Saturday night at Colorado College, but were the victims of some shoddy officiating in a 2-1 loss to the Tigers. Honestly, Saturday’s game was one of the weaker officiating efforts I’ve seen in a while. However, you could call it a typical non-conference game. Teams tend to get calls in home non-conference games, and it’s a bigger trend in some specific conferences. Back before realignment, the CCHA used to be really bad.

— Ludvig Larsson got hurt in Friday’s win at Denver. I haven’t heard an update on his status moving forward, but the fact that he didn’t play on Saturday isn’t a good sign. The initial prognosis didn’t look good, from the people I spoke to in the building on Friday. It looked pretty rough. We’ll see if we can get an update on him this week.

— Simon Loof made his debut on Saturday night and I thought looked good for someone who hasn’t played since the summer. The defense, at least on video, seemed a little staggered in terms of pairs on Saturday with the extra man in the lineup.

— Craig Pantano played an exceptional game on Friday night against Denver and looked solid again on Saturday. The goaltender isn’t the reason for a 2-1 loss, clearly. It’s pretty evident at this point that it’s Pantano’s job moving forward. He has a save percentage near .920 and a goals-against average of just 2.32 on the season. Meanwhile, Merrimack is a .500 team when he’s been between the pipes. Until Pantano gives you a reason not to start him, it just makes sense to keep rolling with him. In four of his last five games Pantano has allowed two goals or less, and he’s allowed two goals or less in eight of his 12 starts.

— Merrimack has UConn (Friday) and Providence (Saturday) on the road this upcoming weekend. Those road trips are usually down-and-back trips for the Warriors, meaning they would not require hotel stays. But, because the road games are on back-to-back days, the Warriors are going to bus to UConn and play on Friday night, and then will stay overnight in a hotel before heading to Providence on Saturday night in an effort to cut down on the fatigue from traveling twice on back-to-back nights.

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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