NORTH ANDOVER -- The Merrimack College Warriors enter this weekend’s home-and-home series with Lowell with four teams ahead of them in the Hockey East standings. Yet, the Warriors are just one point out of first place in the league with four games to play.
It’s been the tightest race in perhaps the league’s history, with the top-six teams separated by just two points. Of those six, four will earn home-ice in the Hockey East quarterfinals, which begins in two weeks on campus sites.
The Warriors enter this weekend losers of two straight games for the first time since November. Entering last Sunday’s game against Boston College, the Warriors were one of the hottest teams in the league.
But, they dropped an overtime decision to the Eagles on Sunday and then were blitzed by Boston University, 5-2, on Tuesday night.
“I watched the video and you’re never as bad as you thought you were or as good as you thought you were,” Merrimack head coach Mark Dennehy said. “We’ve moved on. There’s a lot to play for being one point out of first place with four games left. We can’t get bogged down by results, we need to concentrate on the process.”
Merrimack’s penalty kill has been a bright spot since January. The Warriors have killed 42 of their last 44 penalties, including 31 in a row, and haven’t been scored on at home since the turn of the calendar year.
“First and foremost we’re doing a better job playing with discipline,” Dennehy said. “Those 31 penalties have been spread out more than they have in the past. Our PK has been great, but as with anything, if you overuse it, you’ll get burned out. We can’t take clusters of penalties.”