NORTH ANDOVER — It’s been an interesting road for Merrimack College this season. Tonight, at J. Thom Lawler Arena, the Warriors will skate against No. 12/13 UMass Lowell, marking their first meeting of the season. On Saturday, they’ll head to Durham to play UNH, wrapping up all three games with the Wildcats in an eight-day stretch, having played a home-and-home with UNH last weekend.
Just two weeks ago, the Warriors played all three regular season games with Maine in a row and earlier this season had wrapped up the season series with Northeastern in just a three-week period — they were done with the Huskies by Nov. 3.
“It’s different,” said Merrimack head coach Mark Dennehy. “I’m not sure if it’s better or worse. It’s hard to take points from a team on back-to-back nights because of the psychological part of it, and where you play has a lot to do with it, too.
“I think there are benefits though as well. You’ve done your scouting work. This weekend is a little different because we have two scouts. We have two teams that play totally different ways and we need to accentuate different parts of our game for different teams.”
Added Merrimack defenseman Kyle Bigos, “You have to adapt a little within your system because they know so much about you. We’ll tweak things a little bit and we notice that other teams have, too.”
The River Hawks come into Lawler Arena the second hottest team in the nation, going 10-0-1 in their last 11 games after starting the year 4-7-1 in the first 12 games. They trail only Quinnipiac, which has gone undefeated in 17 games, in that department.
“Their defensemen are more active,” Dennehy said,” and they’re getting more pucks to the net and as a result, you’ve seen them scoring more goals.”