BURLINGTON, Vt. - Alyssa Gorecki's power-play goal with 1:38 left in regulation lifted the Vermont Catamounts (7-12-4, 5-9-2 WHEA) over the Merrimack Warriors (12-8-3, 8-7-1 WHEA) in a high-scoring thriller Saturday afternoon at Gutterson Fieldhouse.
"This was a real gut check for us," said head coach Jim Plumer. "Our team really stepped up all weekend in the face of adversity and I couldn't be more proud of this group. We're excited to keep the momentum going against Boston College next weekend."
HOW IT HAPPENED
- The Catamounts erupted for two quick goals in the first 3:06 to start the game. Kristina Shanahan wheeled around the Merrimack goal and fired a wrist shot from the slot that whistled past the blocker of Samantha Ridgewell (10 saves) at 1:07 in the first period. Saana Valkama assisted on the opening goal and added a tally of her own just under two minutes later for her fourth of the season.
- Katelyn Rae had two unanswered goals to temporarily tie the game, with the first coming a minute after Valkama's tally. Her tying goal came at 2:25 in the middle frame when she received a pass from Courtney Maud and lifted a shot over Blanka kodová's (20 saves) shoulder.
- Vermont regained the lead at the midway point of the game when Shanahan netted her second goal of the game. Valkama added her third point of the day when she intercepted a Warriors' clearing attempt and dished a pass to the UVM sophomore.
- But once again, Merrimack tied the game with Rae's third of the day. The senior forward entered the Catamounts' zone on a 2-on-1 and received a pass from Grant-Mentis before finding the top right corner of the net for her 17th of the season.
- Olivia Kilberg struck at 1:11 in the third period on a breakaway to put Vermont up 4-3 with her fifth goal of the season, but Felila Manu knotted the game with 5:43 left in the game.
- Gorecki received a pass from Karjalainen while on the man-advantage in the waning minutes of the third period and patiently neared the net before firing a shot from the top of the right circle to clinch the game.
- The Catamounts match their season-high of five goals for the third time this season. All three of the five-goal games have come in the last six contests, including twice in 2019.
- With the victory, the Cats Win, Community Wins campaign and Vermont Mutual Insurance Group will donate $100 to a local Vermont nonprofit organization, bringing this year's total to 6 wins and $600.
Vermont returns to action next weekend when they host the 10th-ranked Boston College Eagles Friday and Saturday (Jan. 18 & 19) at Gutterson Fieldhouse. Puck drop for Friday's contest is scheduled for 7 p.m. followed by a 4 p.m. start the next day.