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C-H-C
11-25-2010, 08:28 AM
Merrimack, the newly ranked team, is the real deal. UNH should benefit from having Friday off while Merrimack is tussling with BC. Plus, it's always better to play Merrimack outside the confines of the Lawler Arena. Should be an intense battle.

GoUNH
11-25-2010, 09:50 AM
Merrimack, the newly ranked team, is the real deal. UNH should benefit from having Friday off while Merrimack is tussling with BC. Plus, it's always better to play Merrimack outside the confines of the Lawler Arena. Should be an intense battle.

Merrimack has the tools to beat any division 1 team. Talented forwards, solid goaltending, the Cats will need to be ready for a battle.

WarriorDJ
11-25-2010, 12:29 PM
Merrimack has the tools to beat any division 1 team. Talented forwards, solid goaltending, the Cats will need to be ready for a battle.

How is the health situation with the Cats? Is there anyone who will be out for Saturday--I feel like both teams will need all hands on deck.

unhpuckfan2001
11-25-2010, 03:12 PM
How is the health situation with the Cats? Is there anyone who will be out for Saturday--I feel like both teams will need all hands on deck.

Greg Burke will miss this game, along with every other game left in in 2010. However, the line he was on has been just fine without him.

This game is a game that I remember UNH playing poorly in, so hopefully they get the message that this Merrimack is arguably the best Warriors team to roll into Lake Whit in the buildings existence...

WarriorDJ
11-25-2010, 11:09 PM
Greg Burke will miss this game, along with every other game left in in 2010. However, the line he was on has been just fine without him.

This game is a game that I remember UNH playing poorly in, so hopefully they get the message that this Merrimack is arguably the best Warriors team to roll into Lake Whit in the buildings existence...
I love going up to the Whitt, and Merrimack has played better there in the last few years, but last season the Wildcats really hurt the Warriors by potting a goal with less than 20 seconds to go in OT...I believe it was Paul Thompson...that one was felt the most during playoff seeding time...

Merrimack will be hungry for this one, but I feel like DiGirolamo will be the key--if he plays up to his ability, the Wildcats will do well.

One question for Wildcat Nation: what do you make of the change behind the nets? Now that there is less room in the corners and in Gretzky's Office does that help/hurt based on what you've seen so far?

I initially thought it would encourage more physical play and bottle up the speedsters at forward, but I was curious to hear what you folks are seeing so far?

gounhwildcats
11-26-2010, 12:59 AM
I love going up to the Whitt, and Merrimack has played better there in the last few years, but last season the Wildcats really hurt the Warriors by potting a goal with less than 20 seconds to go in OT...I believe it was Paul Thompson...that one was felt the most during playoff seeding time...

Merrimack will be hungry for this one, but I feel like DiGirolamo will be the key--if he plays up to his ability, the Wildcats will do well.

One question for Wildcat Nation: what do you make of the change behind the nets? Now that there is less room in the corners and in Gretzky's Office does that help/hurt based on what you've seen so far?

I initially thought it would encourage more physical play and bottle up the speedsters at forward, but I was curious to hear what you folks are seeing so far?

Although Merrimack coming into your barn has rarely elicited much excitement in the past, I'm looking forward to this game. MC is a tough team and look to give UNH fits. Although I'm a UNH fan I love seeing teams like MC get competitive, as it's good for the league and the sport as a whole.

As for your last question, I'm not sure it's hurt UNH much as they've averaged over 40 shots a game so far. They move the puck really well and like to take a lot of shots to try and get that garbage goal.

I agree that DiGi is extremely important to the Cats overall success this year. When he's been hot the Cats win. When he's been off, a la the last two games, things get pretty dicey. We'll definitely need him to be much more consistent, although with the team defense the Cats play, he doesn't need to stand on his head every game.

Looking forward to Saturday night. :)

C-H-C
11-27-2010, 10:56 PM
It was fun to see a respectable contingent of Merrimack fans at the Whitt. It must be satisfying to have years of fan support finally pay off with a competitive team. Beating BC on Friday then losing to UNH by just one goal is impressive.
One suggestion for one over-the-top fan who sat in Section 106, between the blue line and goal line, right on the glass - learn a little respect. Two of her displays were just obnoxious:
- hiking her Merrimack home jersey up a bit and pressing her chest against the glass (presumably so the Merrimack players on the ice could see, whatever) and
- standing in a Jesus on the Cross pose while pressing her jersey against the glass (a little creepy).
And then there was the big no-no when one visits an opponents' rink - repeatedly banging both her hands (equipped with rings) against the glass.
It's fine and appropriate to cheer loudly for one's team when they play in an opponent's arena but this lady crossed the line.

As for the Merrimack team, they have some skilled players, oversized defensemen, and an outstanding goalie who will keep them in a lot of games. For a couple of periods, the Warriors beat UNH to a lot of pucks and got an abundance of chances.
One strategy I just don't understand, though - leaving one forward parked on the opponent's blueline while the other 9 players are up in the Merrimack zone playing away. I first saw Merrimack do this a couple years ago when they were not a very good team. I figured they did this hoping for a homerun pass leading to a surprise goal - which were hard to come by given the lack of talent. The strategy is reminiscent of a pee wee team trying a trick play in order to end a 20 consecutive-game streak of 0-0 games. But this crop of Merrimack players are too talented to trot out this play. Play 5-on-5, player-on-player, and may the best team win.

thecomicbookguy
11-28-2010, 09:30 AM
One strategy I just don't understand, though - leaving one forward parked on the opponent's blueline while the other 9 players are up in the Merrimack zone playing away. I first saw Merrimack do this a couple years ago when they were not a very good team. I figured they did this hoping for a homerun pass leading to a surprise goal.

I believe this is also known as the "Paul Kariya Special".

Salvo1017
11-28-2010, 09:46 AM
I believe this is also known as the "Paul Kariya Special".

It's called stretching. Merrimack didn't invent it, it's been done by a number of teams. They only do it when the match-ups are favorable. It forces the opponent to play 4 on 4 in the zone.

They also do it right off the PK, which lead to 2 goals against the defending champions two nights ago so I think something is being done right. Also we have yet to give up a goal while stretching.

WarriorDJ
11-28-2010, 09:51 AM
One strategy I just don't understand, though - leaving one forward parked on the opponent's blueline while the other 9 players are up in the Merrimack zone playing away. I first saw Merrimack do this a couple years ago when they were not a very good team. I figured they did this hoping for a homerun pass leading to a surprise goal - which were hard to come by given the lack of talent. The strategy is reminiscent of a pee wee team trying a trick play in order to end a 20 consecutive-game streak of 0-0 games. But this crop of Merrimack players are too talented to trot out this play. Play 5-on-5, player-on-player, and may the best team win.

It seems silly when you first see it, I was initially surprised when the team first trotted the strategy out a few years ago. From what I've been able to piece together from interviews, Dennehy places just as much confidence in his team 5x4 or 4x4 as he does 5x5. The ironic thing about the "stretch" player is how many games it has won for the Warriors over the last two years...most notably on Friday afternoon against BC. Two of our goals were on stretch plays, one after a PK and the other the garden variety--just hover at the blue line and wait for a pass.

Coach isnt a riverboat gambler...but you probably noticed the show of confidence in his players last night pulling Cannata with 2:23 to go. No doubt it was a gutsy call--but Coach really believes in his guys, and to the players credit, they kept the puck in the attacking zone and had two great offensive chances.

Back to the "stretch" play--Merrimack has slightly curtailed it's use this season, and focused more on 5x5 play because of the recruits he has been able to bring in to close the skill gap in Hockey East. Last season the stretch play was used in every single game as an important cog to our offense.

Either way, the boys put forth a strong effort at the Whitt last night, and hopefully the lessons they learned last night will serve them well when they come back in February.

C-H-C
11-28-2010, 11:06 AM
It's called stretching. Merrimack didn't invent it, it's been done by a number of teams. They only do it when the match-ups are favorable. It forces the opponent to play 4 on 4 in the zone.
They also do it right off the PK, which lead to 2 goals against the defending champions two nights ago so I think something is being done right. Also we have yet to give up a goal while stretching.

It seems silly when you first see it, I was initially surprised when the team first trotted the strategy out a few years ago. From what I've been able to piece together from interviews, Dennehy places just as much confidence in his team 5x4 or 4x4 as he does 5x5. The ironic thing about the "stretch" player is how many games it has won for the Warriors over the last two years...most notably on Friday afternoon against BC. Two of our goals were on stretch plays, one after a PK and the other the garden variety--just hover at the blue line and wait for a pass.

Back to the "stretch" play--Merrimack has slightly curtailed it's use this season, and focused more on 5x5 play because of the recruits he has been able to bring in to close the skill gap in Hockey East. Last season the stretch play was used in every single game as an important cog to our offense.

Fair enough. It's hard to argue with success. Maybe it's time to rename it - The Merrimack Mirage, maybe?

WarriorDJ
11-28-2010, 11:25 AM
One thing I saw last night that impressed me from the Wildcats was their defense--holding Merrimack to one goal is a rarity this season (twice so far in 12 total games before last night).

The Wildcat D was very active putting their sticks in passing lanes and were particularly adept at stopping the behind the back passes that Merrimack attempted in the offensive zone. In the neutral zone, UNH was able to bottle up the MC forwards and take away their space. The transition game was the difference in the end and UNH's D sprung the speedsters to get the W.

I will be very curious to see what happens when the width of the ice shrinks 15 feet when the two teams face off at Lawler...I foresee a very physical game.

C-H-C
11-28-2010, 11:37 AM
The Wildcat D was very active putting their sticks in passing lanes and were particularly adept at stopping the behind the back passes that Merrimack attempted in the offensive zone.
I will be very curious to see what happens when the width of the ice shrinks 15 feet when the two teams face off at Lawler...I foresee a very physical game.
I thought Merrimack did a great job stopping passes and shots with their sticks, as well. They also clogged up the zone in front of Cannata, keeping the Cats away.
Judging from some of the other threads involving Merrimack, there seems to be this undercurrent of "Merrimack is a cheap shot team" and "They're going to get theirs someday." I don't know about all that but now that Merrimack is a legitimate threat, teams will be ready to play against them.

Snively65
11-28-2010, 12:15 PM
It's called stretching. Merrimack didn't invent it, it's been done by a number of teams. They only do it when the match-ups are favorable. It forces the opponent to play 4 on 4 in the zone.

They also do it right off the PK, which lead to 2 goals against the defending champions two nights ago so I think something is being done right. Also we have yet to give up a goal while stretching.

Stretching also helps for simply tipping into the zone for a line change or for circumventing icing, even before the rule change this season.

WarriorDJ
11-28-2010, 12:31 PM
Judging from some of the other threads involving Merrimack, there seems to be this undercurrent of "Merrimack is a cheap shot team" and "They're going to get theirs someday." I don't know about all that but now that Merrimack is a legitimate threat, teams will be ready to play against them.

I can see why people don't like the way MC plays, but you have to look at it logically: Merrimack is one of the bigger teams in Hockey East (on average) and any team that can exert a physical style of play, will... MC has only two active players under 5'11" and they play a physical style of hockey. The one thing I love about MC in particular is that the team is bringing back the hip check--specifically Jordan Heywood. I have never seen a defense so adept at forcing forwards wide and crunching them along the boards to separate them from the puck. Heywood's hip checks are some of the best I've seen in years.

With that said, the Warriors aren't all saints, and neither are their opponents. From MC's perspective, they have players that force teams to create turnovers and make mistakes--it's part of their game. They thrive off of taking teams out of their element and forcing their own pace.

If folks want to make the argument that MC are thugs, go right ahead, but I severely doubt any other college hockey team is completely innocent.

unhpuckfan2001
11-29-2010, 05:42 AM
One suggestion for one over-the-top fan who sat in Section 106, between the blue line and goal line, right on the glass - learn a little respect. Two of her displays were just obnoxious:
- hiking her Merrimack home jersey up a bit and pressing her chest against the glass (presumably so the Merrimack players on the ice could see, whatever) and
- standing in a Jesus on the Cross pose while pressing her jersey against the glass (a little creepy).
And then there was the big no-no when one visits an opponents' rink - repeatedly banging both her hands (equipped with rings) against the glass.
It's fine and appropriate to cheer loudly for one's team when they play in an opponent's arena but this lady crossed the line.



Couldn't agree more; she was sitting directly across the ice from me. When she stood up when they scored, all four of us were like, "wow, that's ballsy, considering you're sitting in a section of UNH fans. Have a little class, maybe?" Fortunately, I've been to Lawler enough to know that this is NOT indicitive of Warrior fans.

My suggestion to her: If you're going to act like that, at least sit with your own fans. Now, I'm sure she'd respond with, "I paid for these sits, and I'll sit here if I want," and that's great -- but you can't have your cake and eat it too. You have to temper your behavior when you're in somebody else's barn, but you can get away with a bit more volume and displaying yourself, if surrounded by sympathetic fans (rather than lots of opposing fans).

goblue
11-29-2010, 07:33 AM
I believe this is also known as the "Paul Kariya Special".

And as I remember, BU as well as UNH used to do this home run-pass kind of thing waaaayyyyyy back when (I'm thinking mid-'70's, and perhaps more recently as well.) I never had a problem with it -- it led to some interesting breakaways.

goblue
11-29-2010, 07:51 AM
Oh, and by the way MC fans, I send hearty congratulations for having success thus far (the national ranking alone is proof.) Your team is causing shivers across Hockey East (and probably beyond.) It seems likely you'll make it to the HE 1/4's, maybe as a #5 seed, and depending upon the match-up (please please, please, not UNH), you could be playing in the Garden. at which point all bets are off. I think it's fair to say that, were you to make it to the HE championship game, there would be a lot of vocal support, as just about everybody (save your opponents' fans) would be cheering you on.

ClOuD 9
11-29-2010, 08:26 AM
Fortunately, I've been to Lawler enough to know that this is NOT indicitive of Warrior fans.
Yeah, they usually just wave their middle fingers around mocking the goal count or write obscene messages on paper plates. Never had any problems with anyone but the student aged fans at Lawler, in the past the few who have shown up have felt that they had to over-compensate.

p.s. Is it true that the ceiling inside Lawler is made of Jiffy Pop?

GoUNH
11-29-2010, 08:26 AM
Couldn't agree more; she was sitting directly across the ice from me. When she stood up when they scored, all four of us were like, "wow, that's ballsy, considering you're sitting in a section of UNH fans. Have a little class, maybe?" Fortunately, I've been to Lawler enough to know that this is NOT indicitive of Warrior fans.

My suggestion to her: If you're going to act like that, at least sit with your own fans. Now, I'm sure she'd respond with, "I paid for these sits, and I'll sit here if I want," and that's great -- but you can't have your cake and eat it too. You have to temper your behavior when you're in somebody else's barn, but you can get away with a bit more volume and displaying yourself, if surrounded by sympathetic fans (rather than lots of opposing fans).

I was sitting behind her in the 5th row. While I was tempted to throw an M&M at her during her 4th "Jesus on the Cross" pose, I refrained. My guess is she had 1 too many Harvey Wallbangers at Libby's before the game.