10 things to know about Merrimack’s matinee at BU

Photo: James Stankiewicz/Merrimack Athletics

Merrimack travels to Boston University for a 4 p.m. matinee on Martin Luther King Jr. Day Monday afternoon. Both teams come into the game on the heels of weekend losses and the Terriers will be looking to avenge a 4-0 defeat earlier this season at Lawler Arena.

Here are 10 things to know ahead of the matchup …

(1) BU has dominated the all-time series

Merrimack and BU have met just about every year since the late 1960s. They will be meeting for the 116th time on Monday and BU holds an 87-20-8 advantage in the series, including a 57-8-3 mark at home.

The Warriors are 4-4-0 in their last eight games against BU, but Merrimack has just one win in its last 11 games at Agganis Arena (1-11-1), which came on Jan. 27, 2017 by a 4-1 score. That win was the back-end of a sweep over the No. 1-ranked Terriers.

(2) The Terriers are coming off a heartbreaking loss

BU fell to Quinnipiac, 4-3, on Saturday night at Agganis Arena. Former BU defenseman Brandon Fortunato, who transferred to Quinnipiac, scored twice for the Bobcats, including the game-winning goal with just 2.5 seconds left in the game.

“When he was here, he was really good for us,” BU head coach Albie O’Connell said. “Things just didn’t work out.”

Jake Oettinger made 40 saves for BU, including one on a penalty shot, and Ty Amonte had two points (1 goal, 1 assist).

(3) The game will air locally and nationally on TV

NESN will have the local broadcast of the game and many of NESN’s live games are also picked up by NESN National. In Canada, the game will be broadcast on TSN. If you’re outside of NESN’s coverage area, you can stream the game on the NESNGo app.

(4) Merrimack blanked BU earlier this season

Merrimack shutout BU, 4-0, in an October matchup at Lawler Arena. Michael Babcock and Logan Coomes scored early for the Warriors while Johnathan Kovacevic and Laine McKay found the back of the net later in the game.

Craig Pantano, the projected starter for the Warriors, made 34 saves for one of his four shutouts this season, and BU goalie Jake Oettinger was pulled for Max Prawdzik.

That win for the Warriors marked the first time Merrimack had shutout BU in the 59-year history of the series.

(5) Babcock, Kovacevic lead Merrimack’s scoring against BU

Senior Michael Babcock and junior Johnathan Kovacevic each have four points in their careers against BU, while juniors Sami Tavernier and Logan Coomes have three points. Babcock and Coomes are the only active players with two goals in their career against the Terriers, while Kovacevic and Tavernier each have three assists.

Craig Pantano became the only active goalie to beat BU after his shutout back in October; he is 1-2-0, 2.38, .918 in three starts against the Terriers.

(6) North Andover native Jake Wise is out for the season

North Andover native, and former Central Catholic star, Jake Wise is out for the season for BU after undergoing surgery. The injury was confirmed by O’Connell in late December, but specifics were not disclosed.

According to sources, Wise suffered a shoulder injury that required surgery. A Chicago Blackhawks draft pick, he was limited to just 12 games as a freshman and had only two assists.

(7) Merrimack will be on the road for almost a month

Monday’s game begins a four-game road trip for the Warriors, which includes a series at Vermont this upcoming weekend and a game at Connecticut on Feb. 9. With a bye week for the Warriors on Super Bowl weekend, the Warriors will not return home until Feb. 15, when they open a two-game weekend series against Maine. This stretch marks the longest time between home games for the Warriors all season, including the three-week semester break.

(8) The first goal always important

BU is 5-1-1 when it scores first and 3-8-1 when it doesn’t. Merrimack is 7-4-1 when scoring first, and 0-12-0 when it doesn’t.

Let’s do some math, then.

The teams have combined to go 12-5-1 when scoring first, and 3-20-1 when the opponent scores first.

Just a guess … but the first goal of the game might be important.

(9) BU added 6-foot-6 goalie Vinnie Purpura

The Terriers added goaltender Vinnie Purpura at the semester break. A towering figure (6-6), Purpura was playing for the Youngstown Phantoms in the USHL after starting the season with the Omaha Lancers.

Purpura hasn’t seen action yet for the Terriers.

Oettinger has essentially played every minute for BU in goal, minus the 35 minutes Prawdzik played against Merrimack; he also played three minutes at Northeastern but Oettinger has played every other second.

(10) Carpenter leads BU in goals

Senior Bobo Carpenter leads the Terriers with 10 goals; he’s the only double-digit goal scorer for the Terriers (and the only one in the game).

Carpenter has been a goal-scoring machine for the Terriers, finding the back of the net 56 times, including 20 times last season. By comparison, Merrimack’s leading goal scorer is Sami Tavernier, who has 18 career goals.

About Mike McMahon 6236 Articles
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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