Looking to avoid their first 0-3-0 start since 2007-08, BU travels to Merrimack tonight open league play against the Warriors at Lawler Arena.
Last night, BU topped the National Team Development Program 5-4 in overtime on a Shane Bowers goal in their final exhibition game of the season. A week ago, BU dropped two tightly contested games at Minnesota State. The Terriers overcame a 3-0 hole on Saturday to tie the proceedings, but still came away empty-handed, losing 5-3.
“There were a lot of positives to take away from last weekend,” mentioned first-year Head Coach Albie O’Connell. “It’s a good group. It’s a competitive group. We were excited to see that [comeback] out of them. There was no quit, no worry. The bench was pretty calm even when we were down. It was a positive vibe.”
Also on the positive note, defenseman David Farrance is proving that the flash he showed at the end of last year was no fluke. The Victory, NY native posted four points last weekend. Last year he had nine points total.
Farrance worked out and skated with a handful of NHL veterans over the summer and seems to be oozing confidence in the early going. Farrance talked about the influence that both Steven Gionta and Ryan Callahan had on him.
“Obviously they are two really hard workers and I learned a lot from them. I’m just trying to do what they do,” added Farrance.
Last year, BU took all three games against Merrimack, including two at Lawler Rink in Andover. That being said, none of the three games were runaways. BU won twice by a score of 3-1 and then 4-3 behind a Dante Fabbro hat-trick in mid-January. While Merrimack may not have the elite firepower of some other Hockey East teams, they are still a tough opponent, especially at Lawler.
“Over the course of time, Merrimack has been really good at home,” said O’Connell. “They are highly competitive and have really good team speed, good size on the back end and their goalie is good. They’ve had some tight games so far and it’s their home opener, so we are going to have to match their energy right away.”
Scouting The Warriors
Merrimack opened the regular season a week before BU and dropped a pair of closely contested games against Lake State at home. Last weekend, MC bounded back and blanked Bentley 1-0, before falling to Army 3-2 the following night.
So far, junior Tyler Irvine has paced the Merrimack offensive attack. In the first four games, Irvine has two goals and two assists for four points. Irvine seems to be taking the next step in his game, much like David Farrence. A season ago, Irvine had just five goals and three assists in 37 games played. Junior Sami Tavernier is MC’s top returning scorer from a year ago when he registered eight goals and 13 assists for 21 points. So far this season the Morzine, France native has one goal and no helpers. Other players to watch include Logan Coomes, Derek Petti and Michael Babcock.
In goal, Craig Pantano and Drew Volger have split time thus far between the pipes. Pantano has the Warriors lone win and owns a .934 save percentage to go along with a 1.74 goals against. Volger, on the other hand, has a 3.06 goals against and a .828 save percentage.