The Boston University women’s hockey team (3-5-0, 2-4-0 Hockey East) hosted the Merrimack College Warriors (2-7-1, 1-6-1 HE) at Walter Brown Arena this afternoon where they bounced back from Friday’s loss with a 5-2 victory.
“It was obviously good to get the win, I thought we finally played as a team,” assistant coach Abby Ostrom said in the post-game press conference. “We were a little more effective breaking out of our zone quickly and maintaining time in our offensive zone.”
Graduate student goaltender Andrea Brändli was between the pipes for the second matchup, splitting the weekend with sophomore Callie Shanahan. As they’ve done for the last three weekends, the Terriers kept their netminders on rotation. Brändli stood tall with 29 saves and protected the BU lead later in the competition.
“We’re lucky, we have two really awesome goaltenders,” Ostrom said. “Obviously you guys see them in games, but they’re just as competitive in practice as well. That’s obviously for the big boss to decide, but if it were up to me they would keep going back-to-back.”
The Terriers got off to a quick start, showing improvement in an area they’ve struggled with this year. From puck drop, they were active in the offensive zone and had multiple chances on an early power play. Despite this, the Warriors got on the board first with a wrap-around goal from junior forward Allison Reeb at 6:16.
It didn’t take long for BU to find the equalizer. A tripping penalty on graduate forward Madison Oelkers put the Terriers back on the man-advantage where they tied it 1-1 at 7:46. Sophomore forward Christina Vote poked the puck out of a scramble in front to senior forward Julia Nearis on the left doorstep. The team leader in points sent it into the empty net for her third tally of the season.
Captain and senior defenseman Nadia Mattivi left the ice halfway through the opening frame following a hit by the boards from Merrimack’s Teghan Inglis. Mattivi didn’t return for the remainder of the competition and had her right arm in a sling post-game.
Heading into the break, the two squads remained tied 1-1 with shots-on-goal also knotted at eight a piece. BU regained their lead early in the second period with a 4-on-4 top-shelf snipe from Andi Calderone at 2:38. This was the junior defenseman’s second goal of the 2022-2023 campaign after not scoring in her first two years in scarlet and white.
“She’s getting the puck to the net and obviously our other defenseman was there to screen today which was huge,” Ostrom said of Calderone. “She’s just been really good about walking the blue line quickly and getting quick shots to the net.”
The Terriers’ strong effort in the defensive zone led to their third goal of the afternoon. Calderone stepped in the crease to make a big block after a top-tier save from Brändli, allowing junior defenseman Julia Shaunessy to collect the puck and send it up ice. On the other side of the rink, junior forward Catherine Foulem dished it to freshman forward Sydney Healey from behind the net who then knocked it home in front to make it 3-1 at 7:17.
Graduate student Alex Allan was sent to the box at 17:47 for tripping and Merrimack capitalized on the power play to bring themselves within one before the third period. Sophomore forward Alexa Pongo netted one at 18:57 to make it 3-2 after a pretty cohesive 20 minutes from the Terriers.
BU didn’t back down in the final frame and added two more tallys to the score sheet. Junior defenseman Lacey Martin’s shot from the point was deflected in by Nearis who garnered her second of the game at 17:00. Graduate forward Jesse DeVito closed the game with an empty-net goal with 12 seconds remaining on the clock to make it 5-2.
With this victory, the Terriers have broken their four game losing streak and added a level of confidence to their play. They’ll look to maintain this momentum in their series with Providence College next weekend.
“I think we are definitely on the upward trend going into next week and all the other weeks,” Calderone said. “We just need to find that feeling that we had today and just be able to recreate it.”
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