Pregame: Merrimack vs. UMass Lowell
NORTH ANDOVER — Merrimack and UMass Lowell will complete a weekend home-and-home series tonight at Lawler Arena. Merrimack is looking for the series sweep after it beat the River Hawks 5-3 on Friday night.
There are no lineup changes for the Warriors, although it’s expected that Hugo Ollas will get the start in goal (if Merrimack sticks with its rotation).
Merrimack has already clinched a first-round bye and home ice in the Hockey East quarterfinals.
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Hockey East’s playoff picture has the Warriors with the chance to finish anywhere from 1st-4th, but I don’t believe that Merrimack can finish below third place. Right now, Merrimack has 44 points, which is six points ahead of UConn in fourth place (38 points). UConn can tie Merrimack if the Warriors lose their remaining two games and UConn wins their remaining two games. The tie-breaker is head-to-head, which is 1-1, and the second tie-breaker is the best regulation winning percentage. In that scenario, Merrimack would have 12 regulation wins and UConn would only have 10 regulation wins (the Huskies currently have 8).
According to the Hockey East formula, Merrimack cannot finish lower than third place, which will be the highest regular-season finish in the history of the program.
Tonight’s Referees: Walker Holton and Marty Hughes