Merrimack sophomore forward Matt Johnson suffered a broken jaw in a 6-1 loss at No. 10 Boston University on Nov. 15 and is expected to miss the remainder of the season.
Johnson had surgery to set the jaw at a Boston hospital and was released. He will have to avoid contact for three to four months, which would likely mean that he cannot return this season.
Johnson is tied for the team lead in scoring with seven points. All came on assists, also tying him for the team lead in that category. He skated on the Warriors’ top line.
As a rookie, Johnson led Merrimack in assists (14) and was tied for second in points (22), adding eight goals. In 47 career games, he has 29 points on eight goals and 21 assists.
The injury came nearly one-third of the way into Merrimack’s season, making it unlikely that Johnson will able to obtain an extra year of eligibility through a medical redshirt. The cutoff for a medical redshirt is considered 20 percent of a team’s games.
It is the fourth major injury to a Warrior player in just over a year. Last season, Merrimack lost Steve Crusco for 14 games after an injury in practice severed five tendons and an artery; leading scorer Marco Rosa for six games with a broken wrist late in the season; and All-Hockey East goaltender Joe Exter with a severe head injury in the Hockey East playoffs.
Crusco and Rosa are playing again this season, while Exter, who graduated and has recovered from his injury, is continuing to rehab in hopes of starting a pro career soon.