The Boston University women’s hockey team (3-0-1) will face off against the Merrimack College Warriors (0-5) on Friday for a 7:00p.m. matchup at Walter Brown Arena. This is the women’s team’s only game of the weekend, so they’ll be able to put their full focus and effort towards the home ice competition.
The Terriers are coming off a productive start to their 2021-2022 campaign with a sweep of the University of New Hampshire (0-3-1) and an electric win against the Northeastern Huskies (3-2). The group ended up tying UNH in their third meetup of the season last Saturday, but still gained a point in the standings.
One of the main things that has stuck out about this year’s BU squad is their unity and team-oriented play on and off the ice. Although led by upperclassmen like junior forward Julia Nearis, senior forwards Courtney Correia and Mackenna Parker, as well as senior netminder Kate Stuart, they’ve gotten contributions from up and down the lineup in all four of their games.
Freshman forwards Christina Vote and Kylie Roberts have two goals apiece in their rookie seasons thus far and have been a prominent part of the Terriers’ offensive production. Sophomore defenseman Julia Shaunessy has also garnered two goals and stood tall for BU at the blue line using her physicality and size to limit opponent chances.
Beyond the individual successes though, the women truly play as a unit. Their victories taste so sweet because they’ve come into this year like a well-oiled machine––outplaying other teams simply because they know how to work together.
Stuart is the expected starter for BU between the pipes on Friday after making her season debut last weekend. The veteran goaltender had a terrific showing with a .942 save percentage while averaging 1.92 goals against. Stuart was a big reason the Terriers came out on top in the Northeastern game, and she will no doubt bring that same competitive spirit with her tomorrow night at Wally B.
Merrimack, on the other hand, has had a tough start. Ending the 2020-2021 campaign with the brutal record of 1-15, things have not seemed to get brighter in North Andover as the Warriors have dropped their first five games of the season.
Most recently, they fell 2-1 to Boston College last weekend––perhaps one of their better performances after going down 3-9 against Minnesota State University in late September. Merrimack got shutout by BU in two consecutive games last February in the shortened season, so we’ll see how they respond while back in Boston.
Junior forward Katie Kaufman leads her group in the points column with 2 (1g, 1a). A two-point leader forces you to recognize the offensive struggles the Warriors have had thus far, cumulatively scoring only four goals in five games while being shut out three times. This weakness should be something the Terriers take advantage of and use to try to get ahead early.
Junior goalie Emma Gorski has been in the crease for Merrimack in the majority of their games, earning a .874 save percentage and 4.11 goals against average. She is the likely starter for the away team and will definitely be tested by BU’s talent upfront.
Friday’s game is set up with the narrative of an easy win, but that’s what the Terriers need to be most careful about. BU must maintain the same energy and drive to win that they’ve had in previous competitions and not stoop down to the opponent’s level.
The puck will drop tomorrow night at 7:00p.m. at Walter Brown Arena and we will have a recap with post game reactions up on the blog shortly after the final buzzer.