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BOSTON - Despite a pair of goals from senior Gina Kearns, the Boston University women's ice hockey team fell to Mercyhurst, 4-2, on Friday night at Walter Brown Arena. Freshman Bailey Bram scored the game-winning goal in her collegiate debut for the fifth-ranked Lakers in their season opener. The Terriers fall to 1-2 on the young season.
"We hung with a ranked team, but couldn't seal the deal," said BU head coach Brian Durocher. The two squads appeared evenly matched in the first period, as Mercyhurst held a 9-8 edge in shots on goal, but neither side could put one in the back of the net.
The Terriers only put three shots on goal in the second period, but two of those were goals, both off the stick of Kearns. BU scored first on the power play 56 seconds into the middle frame. Sophomores Jillian Kirchner and Holly Lorms found the senior captain in the slot and Kearns connected to put the Terriers on the board.
BU made it a 2-0 lead with an unassisted shorthanded tally from Kearns 3:21 into the period, her fourth career shorthanded goal.
The Terriers' lead was short-lived, though, as the Lakers used a pair of power-play opportunities to get back in the game. Senior Hayley McMeekin broke through for Mercyhurst when sophomore Vicki Bendus set her up at the 5:03 mark. Bendus tallied another assist four-and-a-half minutes later when she dished to freshman Jess Jones, who leveled the score with her first collegiate goal.
BU held off the Laker attack for the remainder of the period, despite getting outshot by an 18-3 margin, and prevented a goal on a stellar defensive sequence late in the frame. McMeekin ripped a shot from the top of the circle that was blocked at point-blank range by senior defenseman Amanda Shaw. Reeling in the rebound, McMeekin had another look, but her attempt was saved by junior goaltender Melissa Haber, sending the puck up in the air before falling behind Haber, where several Terriers pounced to keep the puck from trickling the last few inches across the goal line.
The tie was broken early in the third when Bram netted her first career goal three minutes into the final frame, an unassisted tally that came after an initial shot was saved, but took an unfortunate bounce for the Terriers to set Bram up for the score.
Sophomore Jesse Scanzano put the game out of reach later in the period, taking in a pass from freshman Pamela Zgoda and unleashing a shot from the slot to make it a 4-2 game. The Terriers pulled their goalie for the final minute-and-a-half of the game, but were unable to put a shot on net, despite another key block by Shaw to prevent an empty-net goal at the other end.
Haber made 34 saves in goal for BU as Mercyhurst finished with a 38-18 advantage in shots on goal. Freshman Hillary Pattenden stopped 16 shots across the ice to earn the win for the Lakers in her collegiate debut.
"I like our competitive nature and I like that we were there to put ourselves in a good position," said Durocher of his squad's effort in the first of 12 games this season against nationally-ranked opponents in the USCHO.com poll. "But you feel a lot better when you seal the deal."
The Terriers are in action again tomorrow (Oct. 11), concluding the two-game series with Mercyhurst at 3 p.m. at Brown Arena.