Merrimack enters this weekend’s series against Vermont with 15 goals in its last six games (2.5 goals per game) since the semester break ended with a series against Minnesota-Duluth. That number would still be considered below average (2.5 for the season would rank 40th in the country), but scoring is way up over the last three games, where the Warriors have scored 12 goals (3.0 goals per game). Granted, three games is more of a small blip than a sample size, and the Warriors have had stretches like this in the past (13 goals in 4 games to start the season, 11 goals in 3 games to close out November).
But there are some indications that this blip is more the sign of some players turning a corner than just blind luck.
Let’s look at the last six games since the semester break ended, which includes two one-goal games against Minnesota Duluth and a one-goal outing against UMass Lowell. In those six games, Sami Tavernier has five points (3g-2a) and his shooting percentage is 15.0 percent. Entering this stretch, Tavernier had just one goal on the entire season. Patrick Holway has three points in his first six games as a Warrior, and more importantly, he leads the roster (among defensemen) with 17 shots on goal, which is also third-best overall on the team behind Tavernier and Chase Gresock. Holway has made an immediate impact on the lineup.
The Warriors have struggled on the faceoff dot all season, but Tyler Irvine has a 57.1 percent winning percentage since the second half began. There are other players whose scoring totals are up as well, including freshman Regan Kimens (1g-4a).
Odds and Ends
Both Jim Connelly and Dave Hendrickson picked UVM to sweep the Warriors in their weekly column. … Stephane Da Costa was interviewed by ESPN as part of a KHL player poll. … Karl Stollery is trying to work his way back into the lineup with Frolunda after a knee injury set him back. … The Binghamton Devils are one of the hottest teams in the AHL with former Merrimack coach Mark Dennehy behind the bench and Brett Seney one of the team’s top players. … I missed this, but former Merrimack assoc. head coach Darren Yopyk is now the Director of Scouting for the Minnesota Wild, according to this story.