The Mack Report

Preview: Warriors hope for better competition vs. Boston College

On the heels of a pair of losses last weekend to Boston University and Connecticut, Merrimack College (4-5-1) hits the ice again tonight, when the Warriors travel to the unanimous No. 1 team in the nation, Boston College (8-1-0).

Merrimack’s practice this week was filled with more competition drills, according to head coach Mark Dennehy, after the Warriors had stretches last weekend where they were they were uncharacteristically losing battles.

“It wasn’t about more skill or more speed, it was just that there were times where we were outcompeted,” Dennehy said. “That’s not typical of Merrimack hockey and it’s something we need to get back to. Practice (this week) was very competitive, it was back to business, we had more competing drills.”

The Warriors are facing an 8-1 BC squad whose only loss was at Northeastern on opening night. Since, the Eagles have rolled, including wins over Notre Dame and Boston University last weekend.

The defending national champions are 27-1 in their last 28 games dating back to last season.

“I haven’t seen a faster team in the nation,” Dennehy said of the Eagles. “They pressure you all over the ice, so we need to be ready for that. They do everything quickly, so we’re going to need to be prepared to play a quick game. Things will be faster. They also really pressure you. It’s still early in the season, but they score a lot of shorthanded goals.”

While a starting goaltender hasn’t been announced, I’d expect the Warriors to stick with Sam Marotta, whose turn it is in the rotation. Since opening night, the Warriors have rotated between Marotta and sophomore Rasmus Tirronen on a night-by-night basis.

“Both guys have played well,” Dennehy said. “Each guy has earned the opportunity to keep playing.”

Merrimack vs. #1 Boston College
Where: Kelley Rink (Chestnut Hill, Mass.)
When: Friday, 7 p.m.
Radio: WGAM or online at WGAMthegame.com
BC at a Glance: As I wrote above, the Eagles are an eye-popping 27-1 in their last 28 games dating back to last season. Their +1.44 goal margin is sixth in the country and their power play (27%) and penalty kill (89.6%) are both ranked in the top-6 nationally. BC’s combined special teams (62.4%) is best in the country.