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BC Women’s Hockey vs. Merrimack: Final Thoughts & Predictions

The Eagles are back in action

BC Athletics

Welcome back! With the Eagles getting just about all of their games in over the opening few weeks, the team got a very well deserved few weeks off for the winter break. Several Hockey East programs — both men’s and women’s — played a smattering of matchups over the holidays to at least try and get some games behind them, but BC was able to take a breather. Good stuff.

WHO

Friday
Merrimack Warriors (1-3-0, 1-3-0 WHEA)
at No. 8 Boston College Eagles (5-3-0, 5-3-0 WHEA)

Sunday
No. 8 Boston College Eagles (5-3-0, 5-3-0 WHEA)
Merrimack Warriors (1-3-0, 1-3-0 WHEA)

WHAT

In theory, a nice, chill warmup to get back into the Hockey East schedule against a bottom-of-the-table team

WHERE

**Games will be played without fans, so don’t show up hoping to get in the door**

Friday
Conte Forum
Chestnut Hill, MA

Saturday
Lawler Rink
North Andover, MA

WHEN

Friday, January 8th, 2020
2:00pm EST

Saturday, January 9th, 2020
2:00pm EST

HOW TO WATCH

Friday’s game will be shown live on NESN. If you don’t live in NESN’s coverage area, you can still watch the game live for free on CollegeSportsLive, but it’ll only work for you if you aren’t in New England.

Saturday’s game will be streamed free on CollegeSportsLive.com, as all non-NESN Hockey East games will be this season.

LAST TIME OUT

The Eagles ended the first half with one of their biggest regular season wins in years — a 2-1 upset win over #2 Northeastern — with several BC players missing due to COVID protocols. It was a statement win for a team looking to show the women’s hockey world that they are back on the rise to being a national contender.

Merrimack has had a rough start to the season. After missing the first couple weeks due to COVID postponements, the Warriors took to the ice and split in their opening weekend against league newbie Holy Cross. Their last weekend of the first half, though, was brutal — Merrimack took a couple on the chin with 0-4 and 0-5 losses to UConn. Not good.

PROJECTIONS

With no inter-conference games this year, a national KRACH calculator would be pretty pointless. But since we’re only playing conference games, we can use a league-only KRACH projection. There haven’t been a ton of games played yet still, but there have been enough where the numbers are starting to take shape.

According to KRACH, the Eagles are 3rd in Hockey East, and Merrimack is last in 10th. The numbers work out to BC having a 90.21% chance of winning — or roughly an 80% chance of a sweep. Still early, so the sample size isn’t great, but that feels about right.

THIS WEEK’S STORYLINE

Don’t have a letdown. Merrimack looks awful so far this season, which is just a continuation of their terrible 2019-2020 season where they ended up last in the league. BC shouldn’t have any problems handling the Warriors, but the Eagles aren’t a juggernaut that can sleepwalk to a win. They still need to score the goals and get the points.

THE BIG QUESTION

Is everyone back? There’s been plenty of time for everyone who missed the Northeastern series to get out of quarantine, but since the players were probably able to go home for the holidays, we have no idea if anyone might have found themselves in contact with a positive family member over the last couple weeks. We won’t know until lineups are released, but hopefully the Eagles have themselves a full roster.

IN THE BEFORE TIME, IN THE LONG LONG AGO

We’ve done the “Random, Possibly Incorrect Fact From Our Opponent’s Wikipedia Page” for so many years now that at this point there’s nothing else in the wiki pages to use. So we’ll change it up, and this year we’ll talk about a women’s hockey memory or some historical context featuring our opponent.

There’s no “long long ago” with Merrimack — the Warriors just started their program pretty abruptly back in the 2015-2016 season to correct some Title IX deficiencies, so there hasn’t been much time to build up a cache of memories. One fun thing that happened at Merrimack, though, was when Lawler Rink hosted the Hockey East tournament for some reason in 2016. BC obliterated BU for the league title, winning 5-0 and not even allowing a BU shot in the first period. That was a good time.

GAME TIME MEAL OF THE WEEK

Grilled Chicken Salad

You know you feel like a gross blob from the holidays. Throw together a little grilled chicken salad to feel better about yourself. I like to throw some chicken tenderloins in a teriyaki marinade for a few hours before grilling them up and throwing them on some romaine with avocado, shredded parmesan cheese, and croutons. Mrs. Salzano likes to throw some hard boiled eggs into the mix. Mix in whatever veggies strike your fancy and top with your dressing of choice, and you’re all set.

GAME TIME SONG OF THE WEEK

Lynyrd Skynyrd — Gimme Three Steps

Gimme three steps, gimme three steps, mister
Gimme three steps toward the door
Gimme three steps, gimme three steps, mister
And you’ll never see me no more

Good tune; fun story. But also, please stay at least three steps away from everyone in your vicinity and wear a mask.

PREDICTION

BC shouldn’t have any problems here this weekend. I’m not even worried about the players coming out rusty from the break, because (1) Merrimack is coming off a break too, and (2) I’m guessing the Eagles aren’t taking any games for granted given how many have been getting cancelled.

Merrimack’s struggling this year and couldn’t find the back of the net against UConn. They’ll score this weekend, but I do think BC gets a shutout in one of the games. Something like a 4-0, 4-1 weekend sweep for the Eagles feels about right.