Mack’s Mailbag

To participate in the Mailbag, send me a question on Twitter @MikeMcMahonCHN or click here to shoot me an e-mail.

What does Merrimack need to do to still make the NCAA tournament after (last night’s) loss at BU? Do you think they can still get in without winning the Hockey East Championship? – Mary P.

What they need to do is simple … win. That’s it. That’s all they can control at this point. For Merrimack, making the NCAA tournament as an at-large, at this point, seems unlikely. But, the only thing MC can do to change that is win. They need wins. That’s it. They need wins here in the final two weekends and they’ll definitely need to win, at the very least, their league quarterfinal series, which makes home ice even more critical. They might even need to win a HEA semifinal. And, they might even need to win the HEA title game. The bottom line is we don’t know yet. What MC needs to do now is win. But, there are a few hundred games around the nation that still need to be played. It’s impossible to know, with certainty, exactly what they need to do (i.e. go 3-1 down the stretch and win a series). There are too many unknown factors, the biggest of which is who are they playing in the quarterfinals?

So basically, their NCAA hopes aren’t dead, yet. They’re not great, they’re not even good, but they’re not dead. Winning games, especially this weekend, can change all of that though.

You talked a lot about coverage on defense last night, but I don’t think it’s fair to put the blame all on the defensemen when they have had trouble scoring goals. – John

I wasn’t “putting it on the defensemen.” D-zone coverage is everyone in the d-zone. Forwards, too. Going all the way back to the goal BC scored in OT on Sunday, that was an unmarked man. That happened again tonight on Nieto’s first goal. Wade Megan’s second period goal was the byproduct of there being miles of open space for him to make his move in the slot. The quality isn’t great, but take a look at this screenshot here:

MC-BU sapce

That was right after Megan made a move around a defender at the top of the circle (you can see his stick on the left side). But, as soon as he beat that man, there was too much room through the center of the ice for him to close in on Marotta and make a move.

Do you think that playing on Sunday had any affect on Merrimack’s legs (last night?) – Bryan L.

No. It was Merrimack’s only game on the weekend, and remember, most times these guys are playing back-to-back games on Friday-Saturday. If anything, it should have been more of a factor for BU, who played twice this past weekend.

Do you think Merrimack will get home ice and who will they play? A lot of people I’m reading since last night on the message boards think no home ice for MC. 

It’s definitely a six-team race for four spots. They very much control their own destiny for home ice in a lot of ways, especially this weekend vs. Lowell.

On the flip side of that, I’m not a Merrimack fan I’ll admit I’m a Maine fan, who do you think is out of the HEA tournament?

Based on running some projections on strength of schedule, I think Vermont is in. UMass and Maine are battling for that last spot, in my mind, and I think that it’s practically even as to who will end up with that last spot.


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