EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

October 10, 2012

College Hockey: Merrimack opens league play tonight

By Mike McMahon mmcmahon@eagletribune.com
The Eagle-Tribune

---- — Merrimack College opens its Hockey East schedule tonight when the Warriors travel to Matthews Arena in Boston to take on Northeastern.

The Warriors (1-0-0) are coming off an impressive 4-1 win over fifth-ranked Union on Saturday. For the Huskies, this will be their first “real” test after taking a 4-3 exhibition loss to St. Francis (Canada) on the chin Sunday afternoon.

Merrimack cracked the polls on Monday after their season-opening win, ranked No. 19 in the USCHO.com poll.

The Warriors are 4-1-1 in their last six games against the Huskies, including a three-game winning streak at Matthews Arena.

After a 33-save effort by junior goalie Sam Marotta on Saturday, it’s still not known who will start in goal for the Warriors. Previously, head coach Mark Dennehy had hinted that Marotta and sophomore Rasmus Tirronen could split time early in the season before determining a No. 1 goalie.

“They’ll push each other,” Dennehy said. “Competition is never a bad thing.”

After dressing just one freshman – Justin Hussar – against the Dutchmen on Saturday, it’s possible the Warriors could inject another rookie or two into the lineup.

Senior defenseman Kyle Bigos suffered an undisclosed “lower-body” injury against Union on the second shift of the game and did not return; For tonight, he’s questionable. If he is forced to sit, either freshman Matt Cronin or Sean Robertson will debut on the blue line.

MERRIMACK VS. NORTHEASTERN Tale of the Tape *2011-12 statistics used Category Merrimack Northeastern Record 18-12-7 13-16-5 Goals For 2.76 2.85 Goals Against 2.24 2.97 Shots For 30.5 26.7 Shots Against 29.4 33.6 Power Play 18.0 13.7 Penalty Kill 81.2 80.7