Mass. College Hockey: Five Games To Watch This Weekend (Jan. 25-27)

By NoontimeSports.com 

It’s Friday, which means it’s officially time to unveil our five hockey games to watch this weekend. As usual, make sure to check back throughout the weekend for recaps and roundups.

Also don’t forget to follow us on Twitter (@NoontimeSports or @NoonSportsBlog) for news, notes and scores throughout the weekend.

Men’s Ice Hockey:

Merrimack College vs. New Hampshire (Friday, 7:30 p.m./ Saturday, 5:00 p.m.) – This is a critical matchup for the Warriors, but also for the Wildcats, too. Merrimack is 5-3-1 in their last nine meetings with the Wildcats, which includes a 1-1-1 season series from last season.

If Merrimack is going to tally one or two wins, they’ll have to stop UNH’s John Henrion, who has registered at least one goal or assist in his team’s last four outings. Against Providence College last week, the senior forward recorded one goal and one assist in a 6-5 loss.

The Warriors penalty kill has been impressive over the past few weeks, according to the latest Hockey East release, and ranks third in the conference, while the Wildcats are number one. New Hampshire is second in scoring and is averaging 3.14 goals per game.

Boston University vs. Providence College (Friday, 7:00 p.m./ Saturday 7:00 p.m.) – It was somewhat surprising to hear that the Terriers lost to Northeastern last weekend, but they can definitely put that nightmare to rest with a win against Providence College, a squad that’s 3-1 in their last four outings.

BU’s offense is averaging 3.13 goals per game, while their defense is yielding 2.50 goals. The Friars defense, which is ranked fourth in the Hockey East, has allowed 2.53 goals, so it’ll be interesting to see if they can fend off the BU skaters.

Look for Providence junior forward Derek Army to continue his point streak. He recorded two goals last weekend against New Hampshire, as well as netted two strikes against UMass two weeks ago.

Babson College vs. UMass Boston (Friday, 7:00 p.m./ Saturday 4:00 p.m.) – We discussed this game earlier this week, but seriously… these two games are very important for the Beavers and Beacons, especially if they’d like to extend their past February.

UMass Boston enters the weekend series having won four consecutive matches, while Babson is coming off a 3-2 setback against St. Anselm.

The Beavers went 1-0-1 against the Beacons in a weekend series last year, but know this year will be different. UMass Boston hasn’t just won more games this season, but has kept pace with Babson, Castleton State and Norwich.

Babson will need to pay special attention to Peter MacIntyre, who was this week’s ECAC East Rookie of the Week following three goals and two assists in his team’s three contests. Jamie Murray, though, went 1-1 for Babson between the pipes last week and racked up 61 saves.

Women’s Ice Hockey:

Harvard at Clarkson (Friday, 7:00 p.m.) – Harvard is 16-1-1 overall, 13-0 in the ECAC Hockey Conference, and on a seven game winning streak. They haven’t lost a game since falling to Boston University in November.

If Harvard wants to keep their perfect mark intact, they’ll need to stop Clarkson’s Jamie Lee Rattray, who’s led her offense this season with 16 goals and 17 assists. However, she’ll be firing shots against Laura Bellamy, who has been the nation’s top goaltender in goals against and save percentages. Harvard’s defense was the focal point in their last win, so hopefully that effort will translate into this particular match.

Amherst College vs. Connecticut College (Saturday, 7:00 p.m./ Sunday, 3:00 p.m.)The Lord Jeffs haven’t registered a win since the first weekend of 2013, which was when they defeated Colby College in back-to-back games. Their two home matches against the Camels are critical, especially if they’d like to keep pace with Bowdoin College and Middlebury College.

Through 14 games this season, Amherst ranks fourth in the NESCAC (New England Small College Athletic Conference) in goals (39). Conn. College’s scoring defense ranks fifth. The Camels have yielded 1.75 goals per game this season, so the Lord Jeffs will have their work cut out for them.

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