The Boston University women’s hockey team (2-4-0, 1-4-0 Hockey East) took on the Merrimack College Warriors (2-6-1, 1-5-1 HE) Friday night in the first leg of a home-and-home series. The Warriors entered the game winless against BU since 2017, and left the game with their first conference win this year.
The first ten minutes of play were low-energy as the teams struggled to break out of their own zones, but Merrimack held onto a 5-1 shot advantage to start. Merrimack dominated on the faceoff dot and controlled the early parts of the game, but ultimately the Terriers were the first to get on the board.
Junior defenseman Bree Bergeron was sent to the sin bin just over ten minutes into the game on a hooking call, and it only took 28 seconds for sophomore forward Christina Vote to get the go-ahead goal for her group. A traffic jam in the crease of Merrimack’s net caused the distraction that BU needed up front as Vote lifted the puck past senior netminder Emma Gorski’s shoulder from the doorstep. Despite a few minutes of review for goalie-interference, the call on the ice stood and the scarlet and white held onto a 1-0 lead.
30 seconds after the Vote goal, senior captain Katie Kaufman broke up a Terrier offensive-change to go up against sophomore goaltender Callie Shannahan short-handed. The captain’s unassisted goal was her fourth of the season, and tied the game at one apiece. If there’s one pain-point in the Terrier’s game, it’s their inability to make clear transitions into the offensive zone.
Towards the end of a period defined by missed rebounds and failed turnovers, a veteran forward line of senior Julia Nearis and juniors Lacey Martin and Madison Cardaci doubled the Terrier lead to two. Nearis dropped a pass to Martin in the offensive zone and Martin’s cross-crease pass connected with Cardaci’s stick for a tip-in goal to end the period up by one.
With a little more enthusiasm to start the second period, the Terriers continued to struggle clearing the puck at the crease. Early into the middle frame, freshman forward Clara Yuhn was called for body checking, and seconds after the penalty expired, Warrior sophomore forward Tara Blackburn tied the game at two. The Blackburn goal came when a Warrior teammate missed the puck in her own shot attempt, and Blackburn was able to pick it up amongst the confusion.
The Terriers later got their own player-advantage with six minutes left in the period as a result of junior forward Emily Oosterveld’s body check, but failed to capitalize as they were pressured back into their own zone.
A penalty-ridden second ended with another Warrior goal as Kaufman netted her second of the night to give her group their first lead of the night. Carrying the puck over the redline and into the zone herself, the senior’s bullet from the circle went bardown past Shannahan to finish the period 3-2, Warriors.
Early in the third period junior defenseman Julia Shaunessy sent the Terriers back down a player on a holding call, making way for Merrimack to double their lead. Senior captain Madison Oelkers won possession on the dot allowing junior Ally Qualley to get a shot on net. A rebound off of Shannahan’s pad met senior Allison Reeb’s stick for her first goal of the season, and added another tally to her group’s scoresheet. Qualley later sealed the deal with an empty-netter to end the game 5-2.
The Terriers will need to be disciplined as they move along this season. Struggling to clear the zone and rebound confusion in the crease seemed to hold the scarlet and white from reaching their potential against Merrimack. The teams will meet again in Boston on October 29 at 3pm. Follow along for coverage on Twitter @BOShockeyblog and @boston.hockey.blog.