Game Recaps, Women's Hockey

WIH takes first game of Merrimack series in a comeback 2-1 overtime win

Photo by Gracie Davenport.

The Boston University women’s hockey team (3-2-1, 2-2-0 Hockey East) took a trip to North Andover on Friday afternoon to face the Merrimack College Warriors (4-7-1, 1-5-1 HE) where it clawed its way to a 2-1 overtime victory. While Merrimack held the lead until the final minute of the third period, the Terriers never counted themselves out and pulled out a gutsy conference road win.

The Warriors came in trying to snap a four-game losing streak, after they were swept by both Boston College and the University of Vermont the past two weekends. Instead, Merrimack extended it to five games.

Graduate netminder Alexa Matses started between the pipes for BU in her second appearance this season. She last played against Northeastern University on Oct. 7 in the 2-0 loss. Matses looked sharp with her puck tracking and posted a total 16 saves through the 60-plus minutes. 

The Terriers started the game short-handed after the team was late coming onto the ice and was assessed a minor penalty that sophomore forward Clara Yuhn served. 

Sophomore forward Sarah Hirst opened scoring for the Warriors at 7:03 of the first period, knocking in the rebound of senior forward Ally Qualley’s initial shot that popped out by Matses’ glove side for Merrimack to jump on. Hirst gave her team a 1-0 lead with her first collegiate goal.

Captain and graduate defenseman Nadia Mattivi had the best chance for BU in the opening frame. The Terriers were on the power play at 15:08 after graduate defenseman Teghan Inglis was called for slashing, and Merrimack goaltender Calli Hogarth slid her right pad over and robbed Mattivi, who had a wide open net while stationed below the left circle. 

Heading into Friday’s game, the Terriers’ penalty kill was tied for 13th in the nation, and it came through once again in the second period when freshman forward Alex Law got sent to the box for cross checking at 9:09. BU hounded pucks, got in passing lanes and kept the action at the top of the zone before its multiple clears through the two minutes. 

While BU came close to finding the equalizer in the latter half of the second, Hogarth was dominant in the crease for Merrimack and protected the Warriors’ 1-0 advantage ahead of the final 20 minutes of regulation play.

It wasn’t until 19:04 in the third period that the Terriers tied it up 1-1. On the power play, head coach Tara Watchorn pulled Matses to give her team a 6-on-4 advantage with 2:14 remaining on the clock and BU got to work. 

The Terriers were relentless around the Merrimack crease and their second and third efforts made all the difference. Senior defenseman Julia Shaunessy threw the puck to sophomore defenseman Brooke Disher in the slot who got it on net. Hogarth made the initial save, but junior forward Christina Vote worked the rubber loose for freshman forward Neely Nicholson to lift it over and in on the doorstep for his first collegiate goal and point, forcing overtime. 

Senior forward and assistant captain Catherine Foulem was the overtime hero, securing the 2-1 victory at 2:57 with a slick play where she pulled the puck around her defenseman and over to the left side of the offensive zone before snapping it home. The game-winning tally was Foulem’s third goal of the season, and one that was covered in confidence. 

Friday’s win is huge for the Terriers’ believability. BU has game tape evidence that it can come back in tight conference matchups no matter the score or amount of time left on the clock, and that’s really important. This is not a game the Terriers would have won last season – the dedication to never give in has been one of the main identifiers of this 2023-24 group early on, and it’s earned them highly-contested Hockey East points. 

The Terriers and Warriors will rematch on Saturday at Walter Brown Arena with a 4p.m. puck drop as BU looks for its first sweep of the year. The Boston Hockey Blog will have full coverage of the game, so be sure to follow along on Twitter (X) @BOShockeyblog and Instagram

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