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Game 38: Merrimack vs. Quinnipiac (East Regional Semifinal)
(4) Merrimack (23-13-1) vs. (1) Quinnipiac (30-4-3)
This is Merrimack’s first NCAA Tournament game since 2011, when the Warriors fell to Notre Dame in overtime of the Northeast Regional Semifinal.
Merrimack played in this arena earlier this season. Sacred Heart used Total Mortgage Arena as a home rink until its on-campus arena was completed. Merrimack won that game 3-0.
Merrimack went 12-6-1 against its common opponents with Quinnipiac. Meanwhile, the Bobcats finished 19-3-1 against those common opponents. Note that the records are not identical because Quinnipiac played the ECAC teams more than Merrimack did (the Warriors played single games against those opponents, with the exception of Colgate).
Merrimack’s lines are consistent with what they’ve been throughout the playoffs. I’m expecting Zachary Borgiel to start in order to stick with the rotation.
Ottoville Leppanen - Matt Copponi - Alex Jefferies
Ben Brar - Will Calverley - Filip Forsmark
Mick Messner - Ryan Leibold - Jordan Seyfert
Mac Welsher - Tristan Crozier - Mark Hillier
Mike Brown - Zach Bookman
Slava Demin - Christian Felton
Liam Dennison - Ivan Zivlak
Quinnipiac is 2-3 in its last five NCAA Tournament games. The Bobcats baet North Dakota in the first round last season but fell to Michigan in the regional final. Quinnipiac last won a regional tournament in 2016 and advanced to the national championship game, where it fell to North Dakota.
Colin Graf, a transfer from Union, is Quinnipiac’s top scorer. He has 55 points (20g, 35a) in 37 games this season and he has 77 points (31g, 46a) in 74 games over two seasons. Other top players include graduate students Ethan de Jong (37 points) and Zach Metsa, who has 32 points as the team’s top-scoring defenseman.
Goaltender Yaniv Perets has played nearly every minute for the Bobcats (2,177 out of 2,257). He has a 1.52 GAA on the year with a .929 save percentage. Quinnipiac only allows 21.5 shots per game, which is third-fewest in the nation. Last week in the ECAC semifinal they allowed 47 shots against Colgate. Two weeks ago (March 10) they outshot Yale 30-5 in a game. That was the second time this season they held an opponent to under 10 shots (Cornell had 9 shots on Nov. 5). The key seems to be getting shots to the net. Quinnipiac has allowed 32.5 shots per game in its four losses this season and 20.1 shots per game in their 30 wins.
Sam Lipkin - Jacob Quillan - Collin Graf
Christophe Fillion - Skyler Brind’Amour - Ethan De Jong
Desi Burgart - Victor Czerneckianair - Cristophe Tellier
Michael Lombardi - TJ Friedmann - Joey Cipollone
Jake Johnson - Zach Metsa
Jayden Lee - CJ McGee
Ilvari Rasanen - Jacob Nordqvist
Charles Alexis Legault