House of horrors: Boston College returns to Merrimack's Lawler Arena

Merrimack junior goaltender Rasmus Tirronen - Matt Dewkett (mrd-photos.com)

Both games between the Eagles and Warriors at Lawler Arena last season went to overtime. Each team came away with a victory in the extra session.

Boston College has talent on its side, but Jerry York's teams rarely, if ever, have been on the lesser side of the talent scale against Merrimack. That hasn't meant much when the Eagles have had to trek to North Andover to face Merrimack College in the small, tight confines of Lawler Arena.

The Eagles, winners of three NCAA Championships since the 2007-08 season, own a 4-3-1 record during that time at Lawler Arena. Two of those wins came in overtime, one by a goal, and another by just two goals.

The two teams will meet for the first of two regular season meetings on Tuesday night, and Jery York will trot out the best first line in college hockey. He'll have four NHL Draft picks guarding his blue line and and a myriad of other talented players dotting his lineup.

The Warriors are down this season, sitting in last place entering this midweek contest, but don't look for Mark Dennehy's team to just roll over. After all, Dennehy is a 1991 graduate of Boston College and wants nothing more than to prove his program can keep pace with his alma mater.

Merrimack is fresh off a 6-3 upset victory over highly ranked Quinnipiac on the very same ice surface these two teams will play on Tuesday night.

All signs point to an easy victory for Boston College tonight, but something tells me this game will be in doubt come the third period.

There are three keys to the game, if Merrimack wants to pull off the upset.

  • Merrimack needs to play a physical game and take the Eagles out of their game. Three experienced blue liners, Jordan Heywood, Brendan Ellis and Dan Kolomatis, need to slow down BC's vaunted top line of Johnny Gaudreau, Bill Arnold and Kevin Hayes. The Warriors must do so without entering the sin bin. Keeping BC off the power play will also go a long way.
  • Senior forward Mike Collins needs to connect on his chances. The Roslindale, Mass. native is the one gifted offensive player Merrimack has. He must find the back of the net.
  • Rasmus Tirronen has been on his 'A' game more often than not this season, but he must be stellar, facing a skillful BC attack.

Stats Breakdown

Merrimack Boston College
Record 6-11-3, 1-5-2 HE 16-4-3, 10-1-1 HE
Goals Per Game 2.00 (11th) 4.57 (1st)
Goals Against Per Game 2.50 (7th) 2.39 (6th)
Power Play Percentage 15.2 (9th) 20.5 (4th)
Penalty Kill Percentage 84.0 (5th) 90.2 (1st)
Leading Goal Scorer Mike Collins (7) Johnny Gaudreau (21)
Assists Leader Mike Collins (10) Hayes/Gaudreau (26)
Projected Starting Goalie Rasmus Tirronen (.923) Thatcher Demko (.912)
NHL Draft Picks 1 10

Jeff Cox covers college, junior and high school hockey, NCAA recruiting, NHL Draft prospects and the AHL for SBNation. Follow him on twitter @JeffCoxSBNation.

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