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March 23, 2013

Merrimack will return two all stars

It was clear, in the aftermath of Merrimack hockey’s playoff loss to Boston University last week, that the Warriors need something to change.

After a playing its best hockey in January and into mid-February, the Warriors finished the season on a 1-7 slide, including being swept by BU in their best-of-three series last weekend at Agganis Arena.

“We need to go back to the drawing board and look at ourselves in the mirror as forwards and see what kind of hockey players we want to be,” said junior forward Rhett Bly.

“We need to figure out whether we want to live up to not only the seniors this year but the past alumni who have played here. They’ve been men. We need to get that culture back here.”

But the news isn’t all bad. The only players who will graduate this spring that saw regular ice time are defenseman Kyle Bigos (30 games, 4 goals, 7 assists) and forward John Heffernan (27 games, 4 goals, 7 assists).

“It’s humbling the commitment our four seniors had,” Merrimack head coach Mark Dennehy said. “Physically, nutritionally, weight training and class ... it’s humbling.”

One player that will return is Mike Collins, who on Thursday was named a Hockey East First-Team All-Star. He’s the first “first-team” forward in Merrimack’s Hockey East history.

The junior was second in the league with 32 points in conference games and tied for first with 13 power-play points.

Collins led Merrimack in points, goals, assists, shots and power-play points, finishing with 38 points (17 goals, 21 assists) in 38 games.

Now with 93 points in 109 career games, Collins was also the runner-up for Hockey East Player of the Year.

Along with Collins, junior defenseman Jordan Heywood was named a Hockey East Second-Team All Star

Heywood finished second on the Warriors with 21 points and 13 assists, leading the team in time on ice. He has played in all 114 games since arriving at Merrimack and was also a runner-up for the Old Time Hockey Best Defensive Defensemen.

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