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Frozen Fenway: Merrimack vs. Providence - Inside the Numbers

Providence is the heavy favorite on paper over Merrimack.

Merrimack head coach Mark Dennehy
Merrimack head coach Mark Dennehy
Merrimack Athletics (Courtesy Photo)

Boston -- Merrimack College and Providence get their first crack at playing outdoors Saturday at 4 p.m. when the two Hockey East foes play a nonconference game at historic Fenway Park.

Providence enters the game after a loss in the Ledyard Bank Classic championship game to Air Force. The Friars have been without the services of star goaltender Jon Gillies the past three games due to his participation in the World Junior Championship for the United States. It appears likely he will miss today's game and Nick Ellis will get the start in net for the Friars.

Merrimack will be making its Fenway Park debut after a nearly month long layoff. The Warriors struggled in the first half, but took three of four points from Boston University in their last weekend series before the Christmas break. Mark Dennehy's team was hit hard by the injury bug with senior Mike Collins missing time as well as key defenseman Brendan Ellis and sophomore forward Brian Christie.

On paper this matchup clearly favors the Friars, but anything can happen on a frigid day outside. Despite the disparity in where these two teams sit in the standings, when these two teams met earlier in the season the games were close. Providence eked out a 1-0 win at Lawler Arena in North Andover before winning, 4-2, a night later in Providence. Both were one goal games, if you exclude the empty-netter PC scored in the second game.

Stats Breakdown

Merrimack Providence
Record 4-9-2, 1-5-2 HE 13-3-3, 6-2-1 HE
Goals Per Game 1.73 (11th) 3.47 (3rd)
Goals Against Per Game 2.47 (7th) 2.05 (3rd)
Power Play Percentage 11.7 (11th) 13.3 (10th)
Penalty Kill Percentage 85.9 (4th) 86.5 (3rd)
Leading Goal Scorer Quinn Gould (4) Ross Mauermann (13)
Assists Leader Mike Collins (8) Ross Mauermann (14)
Projected Starting Goalie Rasmus Tirronen (.924) Nick Ellis (.892)
NHL Draft Picks 1 5

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