This week the Merrimack College hockey team had to do something it hadn't really had to do much of this winter.

Rebound.

And we're not talking about the loose pucks kicked out in front of the goal by Merrimack goalie Joe Cannata.

This "rebound" was different. This rebound had more to do with this Merrimack team trying to pick it up two or three notches after last Friday night's loss to last place UMass-Lowell, 6-4.

It was only the fifth loss of the season for Merrimack, now 13-5-4, which ranks them eighth in the country in winning percentage.

For much of the past two decades, Merrimack hockey was all about "rebounding," as it seemed all to often hard-luck losses were part of program. But this winter, Merrimack has methodically moved up the college hockey ladder and climbed into the Top 10 in a few college rankings before the loss to the Riverhawks.

After going 1-1 last week (Merrimack beat B.U. 3-2 last Tuesday), the Warriors are ranked 14th in the country in two polls.

Next on the docket are the University of Vermont Catamounts, which come to Lawler Arena for two games tonight and tomorrow night.

"It's a wakeup call if we recognize it and embrace it," head coach Mark Dennehy said. "Without giving away too many secrets, there have been teams who have grinded out wins against us and we have been unwilling to participate to the extent we need to."

But the Warriors have shown the ability to bounce back.

Merrimack hasn't lost two in a row all season, posting a 3-0-1 record in games coming off losses this season.

Cannata, a nominee for the Hobey Baker Award along with sophomore forward Stephana Da Costa, is a big reason why.

In games following a loss, Cannata has stopped 106 of 111 shots (.955 save percentage), posting a 1.21 goals-against average.

The Warriors set a program record (since joining Hockey East) with 16 wins last season. They're just three wins shy of that number with 12 regular season games remaining.

Injury update

The status of Joe Cucci and Kyle Bigos for the weekend series is still up in the air.

Bigos suffered a lower-body injury against Alabama-Huntsville two weeks ago and was on crutches, but was walking without crutches last week.

Cucci suffered a blindside hit from BU's Adam Clendening 10 days ago and suffered multiple injuries on the play.

Bracketology begins

With almost two months left to play in the regular season, it's still awfully early, but USCHO posted its first Bracketology of the season, attempting to predict, if the season were to end today, what the NCAA tournament would look it.

The website had the Warriors as the third seed in the West bracket, playing second-seeded Michigan.

Free T-shirts among weekend offerings

The Warriors are offering a list of promotions at this weekend's slate of Hockey East games against Vermont, including Saturday's which will be televised live on NESN

All Games

Free shuttles from the Merrimack parking lots to the arena.

Friday

Buy a ticket for Friday's game and get a ticket for Saturday's game, free.

Also, TSR Hockey is sponsoring rally towel night, where the first 500 fans will get rally towels.

Saturday

Merrimack will try to "gold out" the Catamounts, with free gold Warrior T-shirts handed out to the first 2,000 fans for the NESN game.

Tale of the tape

Merrimack vs. Vermont

Category Merrimack Vermont

Record 13-5-4 5-13-4

Goals 3.41 (75) 2.00 (44)

Goals Against 2.23 (49) 3.27 (72)

Power Play 19.0% 12.5%

Penalty Kill 88.2% 76.8%

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