Notebook: Hennig Brings More Of An Edge
NORTH ANDOVER — Jace Hennig scored the game-winning goal on Saturday night, as Merrimack beat No. 13 Notre Dame, 4-2.
Hennig has been one of Merrimack’s best forwards the last few weeks, since the team returned from the semester break. Last week against Cornell, Merrimack head coach Mark Dennehy praised Hennig’s play, and this weekend was more of the same.
“Jace is a good player for us,” Dennehy said. “He’s one of the smartest players I’ve coached. We were kidding with him at break that he’s at his best when he’s a little pissy. I don’t know another word for it. I’ve been prodding him to be pissy Jace more than nice-well-mannered Jace. He’s been giving us more pissy Jace and he’s more an effective player when he plays like that.”
Hennig now has 10 points in 21 games for the Warriors and he had two points on the weekend series with the Irish, assisting on Derek Petti’s goal Friday night.
“(Dennehy) has been all over my case to get me to play with more of an edge and fire and more chippy,” Hennig said. “I’ve been trying to get to the net and be chippy and good things happen.
“We’re not the biggest team up front so you have to play big. If you aren’t playing with an edge, you’ll get run out of the rink, so you need to play with an edge.”
Hennig’s goal in the third period resulted in the game-winner.
“(Irvine) did a great job getting on that puck,” Dennehy said. “Jace is a smart player, he saw he would get there and he jumped down to outnumber them right away. He’s good in tight spaces and he lost the goalie and defender. Good things happen when you take the puck to the net and he got rewarded with that. That’s a big goal. A two-goal lead in college hockey is tough to come back from.”
Power Play Produces
Merrimack’s power play scored goals in consecutive games for the first time since early November.
Last night, Derek Petti scored on the power play in the first period and on Saturday, Chris LeBlanc’s goal at the 13:19 mark of the first period was also scored on the power play.
“That was a hard-work goal,” Dennehy said. “We weren’t really set up but we had every one where we needed them, and then we win a battle.”
Hennig said after the game that the power play has been a focus the last several weeks.
“It’s been a big emphasis on practice to settle it down,” he said. “We have a core group of guys with more familiarity. We broke it down step-by-step, we’ve taken our time in practice and it’s paid off.”
Faces in the Crowd
Boston Bruins general manager Don Sweeney was at the game on Saturday night, keeping an eye on Bruins draft pick Anders Bjork. … Former Merrimack associate head coach Darren Yopyk was at the game on Saturday, scouting for the Minnesota Wild. … Jason Wolfe (’02), former Merrimack goaltender, was at the game on Friday night.