NORTH ANDOVER — The Merrimack men’s hockey team is about to have some freshmen receive a baptism by fire into college hockey.
Patrick Kramer left Saturday’s game with an injury that required an overnight stay at a Boston hospital. Then on Sunday, a 6-3 loss to Northeastern at Lawler Arena, the Warriors lost another center when Logan Drevitch went down in the first period after a thunderous hit from Jayden Struble.
You add those two injuries to Jordan Seyfert already being out after an injury suffered in practice, and the Warriors’ top-three centers are now all on the shelf.
Kramer and Drevitch join goaltender Jere Huhtamaa, who suffered an injury last weekend against UMass. Borek confirmed that Seyfert is out for the season and the Warriors have also been without Declan Carlile and Zach Uens, two of the team’s top-three defensemen.
“We need to figure it out,” Borek said. “I don’t know yet how we’ll balance our lineup. It’s a tough sled down the middle of the rink for us right now. We’ll probably have to rely on freshmen more than we want to at this stage.”
Conor Lovett, a true freshman out of prep hockey, seemed to plug in Drevitch’s spot. Borek said the Warriors will also likely have to give Jakob Lee and Filip Karlsson-Tagtstrom a look down the middle.
“You look at the two guys who went down this weekend and I feel really bad for both of them,” Borek said. “Logan Drevitch has done everything right and he’s come back in great shape. He’s playing his best hockey. He has good punch and he’s given us a true first line.
“For both of those guys, they’re out for a while. Maybe a month. Maybe longer. Patrick’s situation will evolve, he had some tests done and he was in the rink today, which was great, but I don’t think we see either guy for the foreseeable future.”
Sunday afternoon started perfectly for the Warriors. Freshman Alex Jefferies found the back of the net twice in the first 11 minutes – both on the power play – and Merrimack had a 2-0 lead before the Huskies even had a shot on goal.
After the Warriors had the first three chances with the man advantage, it was Northeastern’s turn. Riley Hughes cut the Huskies’ deficit at the 14:53 mark of the first period and Grant Jozefek tied the score at the 4:20 mark of the second period, also on the power play.
Those two goals started a run of five unanswered for the Huskies.
“Riley’s goal gave us some life,” Madigan said. “We talked about it at one of the timeouts. We needed to cut that lead in half.”
Northeastern had six power-play goals on the weekend.
“You’re only practicing against your own guys so it can be difficult,” said Northeastern head coach Jim Madigan. “Our penalty killers know what we’re running, so they’re cheating a little bit. We needed to get into a game situation. Jerry (Keefe) does an unbelievable job with our whole team, including the power-play units.”
After Northeastern took the first three penalties of the game, the Warriors were assessed five of the game’s next six penalties, resulting in the pair of power-play goals for the Huskies.
“We’re disappointed in the weekend,” Borek said. “We didn’t show enough discipline against a team that has a great power play. That changed the momentum of the game and we got drawn into it. I’m disappointed in our discipline but happy with the way we played. We faced some adversity when Logan went down, but at the end of the day, we need to be more disciplined. This was a big test, and we didn’t pass it.”
NOTES: Merrimack wore their home white jerseys while the Huskies wore their road red shirts. … Conor Lovett scored two goals this weekend on his only two shots.
Northeastern 6, Merrimack 3 at Lawler Arena Northeastern (2-0-0): 1-3-2—6 Merrimack (1-3-1): 2-0-1—3 First Period: 1, MER Alex Jefferies/2 (Patrick Holway/2, Zach Vinnell/2) 5:07 (PP); 2, MER Alex Jefferies/3 (Patrick Holway/3, Logan Drevitch/4) 10:54 (PP); 3, NOE Riley Hughes/2 (Jayden Struble/1, Mike Kesselring/2) 14:53 (PP). Second Period: 4, NOE Grant Jozefek/1 (Jordan Harris/2, Aidan McDonough/1) 4:20 (PP); 5, NOE Zach Solow/2 (Gunnarwolfe Fontaine/1, Jordan Harris/3) 9:39; 6, NOE Aidan McDonough/1 (Steven Agriogianis/2, Julian Kislin/1) 19:57 (GW). Third Period: 7, NOE Ty Jackson/1 (Steven Agriogianis/3, Jayden Struble/2) 6:05; 8, MER Conor Lovett/2 (Filip Forsmark/2, Dominic Dockery/1) 6:24; 9, NOE Aidan McDonough/2 (TJ Walsh/3) 19:09 (EN). Shots: NOE 4-11-9=24; MER 10-8-12=30 Northeastern Goaltending - Connor Murphy (59:45, 30 shots, 27 saves, 3 GA); Empty Net (0:15, 0 GA) Merrimack Goaltending - Zachary Borgiel (59:04, 23 shots, 18 saves, 5 GA); Empty Net (0:56, 1 GA) Power Plays - NOE 2 of 6; MER 2 of 7 Penalties - NOE 9 (37 min); MER 6 (12 min)