Merrimack

A Look at the Merrimack College Warriors Hockey Team

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The Merrimack College Warriors, coming off a 23-win season, made it to the Hockey East Tournament Championship game, as well as to the NCAA Hockey Tournament. Head Coach Scott Borek and his staff are getting ready for the 2023-24 season with some exceptions associated with it. First, in the league preseason poll, the Warriors were picked to finish third behind both Boston University and Boston College. In the first Top-25 poll, Merrimack was picked at #14. They are one of five Hockey East teams named in the first county-wide poll.

A season ago, the Warriors recorded seven wins against ranked teams, the trip to the HE championship game was their first, and they made their third trip to the field of 16. This year they look to take that next, but very hard step. A trip to the Frozen Four in April. To do that, the pieces need to be in place for such a run to materialize.

Like most teams, it starts with goaltending. Merrimack has two capable netminders junior Hugo Oilas and senior Zachary Borgiei. Oilas ended last season with a 10-9-0 record and a .915 save percentage to go with a goal against 2.31. He played over a thousand minutes between the pipes for the Warriors. In addition, Olias posted five shutouts on the year. Borgiei had a record of 13-5-1 with a 2.09 GAA and a .919 %. He was the starting goalie for the semi-final win over UMass Lowell in OT in the HE tournament, as well as the NCAA Tournament game against Quinnipiac.

On the blue line, Merrimack returns six members from last year’s team. Included in that group is sophomore Zach Bookman who led the defense in points with 15. He is joined by junior Mike Brown who had four goals and five assists for nine points a season ago. He also has a game-winning goal to his credit vs Boston College on November 5. A good shot blocker, Brown finished the year with 52 blocked shots. His experience should be a big help to the team. He played in 34 games for Merrimack last year.

Up front, Merrimack brings back firepower from last year’s team. The trio of Alex Jefferies, Matt Copponi, and Ben Brar combined for 96 points. Jefferies, a senior, played in 38 games and had 41 points on 14 goals and 27 assists. He was named HE Player of the Month for December. Copponi, a junior this year, appeared in 37 games. 14 goals with 15 assists for 29 points. He had the game-winning goal vs the River Hawks in the semifinals of the HE tournament. For the season, he put 97 shots on goal. Brar is a graduate student and was named captain of this year’s team. Last year in 38 games, he had 14 goals and 12 assists. He was big when his team needed him. Ben had four game-winning goals and three power plays tallies. He too put 97 shots on goal which for Brar was a career-high.

The season gets underway on October 13-14 on the road at Arizona State. The home opener is scheduled for October 20 vs Clarkson University.

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