Warriors Not Skating on Reputation

Merrimack Hockey Squad Hoping Hard Work Will Pay Off At Goal Line

photo courtesy of Alexis Altman

We work hard. That simple, three-word reminder means everything to the Merrimack Warrior hockey team this season, and it was evident during Saturday night’s 4-1 victory over #5 Union on the road.

“You will not make it two minutes in our locker room without hearing or seeing those three words,” says starting goaltender Sam Marotta. “Some may think it is simple but, with our talent, if we work hard every night, our team will have a very good chance of winning every game.”

For an underdog unranked nationally in the preseason and picked to finish 8th in Hockey East, hard work can’t be overlooked. But are these Warriors really underdogs?

“If people want to classify us as underdogs, that’s fine by me. But I prefer not to concern myself with how others think – I’m more concerned with what we think of ourselves,” said junior captain and defenseman Jordan Heywood, who finished with an assist on the night.  “We won Saturday’s game because we were in better shape…we worked hard last spring, summer and this fall to get ready for the season and we knew few teams have actually trained as hard as we did.”

That hard work in the offseason paid off because, as Heywood notes, “usually the team who scores more goals in the third period is the better conditioned team.”

Sophomore Josh Myers must have worked extra hard then, scoring two quick goals early in the third period that would give Merrimack a lead they would hold onto for the rest of the night. Simply stated by Marotta, “Our team did not make Union’s night an easy one.”

Despite a relatively easy night for the Warriors, however, Heywood isn’t ready to settle just yet.

“It’s the first game of the year, so we can pretty much improve on everything. You can’t expect to be playing playoff hockey in October – but the sooner you get to that level, the better.”

So what about the rest of the season? What should we expect from these unnoticed Warriors? Well, if Saturday is any indication, we’re in for a fun ride. Even in a blowout victory though, Heywood stays focused.

“We’re happy with the win, but we’ve got a long way to go.”

Even so, adds Marotta, “everyone in our locker room believes we can skate with anyone in the country.”

Keep working hard, boys.

~

Merrimack travels to Alaska this weekend to compete in the Alaska Gold Rush. The Warriors will play both Alaska Fairbanks and Alaska Anchorage before returning home for their first home games of the season on October 26th and 27th.

*Note: this article also appears in the October 12th edition of The Beacon and can be found here.

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