NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. - The Merrimack College women's ice hockey team built a two-goal lead through two periods of play and then held off Vermont in the third to pick up its fifth victory in eight games, continuing the best start in program history with a 2-1 win over the Catamounts on Friday afternoon at Lawler Rink.
Merrimack lit the lamp once in each the first and second period to build a 2-0 lead through 40 minutes of play while holding the Catamounts to only 10 shots during that span. Seniors Emily Volpe and Katelyn Rae provided the offensive heroics to give the Warriors that two-goal edge before Vermont managed to get on the board early in the third.
The visitors would only get the one tally, however, as the Warriors fended off the Catamounts down the stretch thanks to eight third-period saves by senior Samantha Ridgewell to improve to 5-1-2 on the young season.
Score: Merrimack 2, Vermont 1
Records: Merrimack (5-1-2, 2-1-1 HEA) | Vermont (1-3-2, 1-3-0 HEA)
Location: Lawler Rink | North Andover, Mass.
Goal #1 (1-0 MC) - Volpe put the Warriors ahead at the 8:55 of the first, taking advantage of a turnover to the light the lamp for the second time this year. She picked off a pass in the Vermont zone and then skated to the right circle where she beat the UVM goaltender over the right shoulder.
Goal #2 (2-0 MC) - Rae's team-high sixth goal of the year pushed the lead to 2-0 at 12:20 of the middle stanza. The play started all the way in the Merrimack end, where rookie Julia MacLean fed junior Mikyla Grant-Mentis from the wall to the blue line. Grant-Mentis then connected with Rae to send her skating down the left wing, and she went in alone and deked to the backhand and scored at the back post to make it 2-0.
Goal #3 (2-1 MC) - Vermont made it a one-goal game early in the third with both teams skating 4-on-4. Eve-Audrey Picard won a faceoff in the left circle of the Vermont zone and connected with Maude Poulin-Labelle; the latter then carried the puck up and through the neutral zone before dishing to Theresa Schafzahl, who shoveled a backhander through traffic and into the upper-left corner of the net to get the Catamounts within one.
Notes and Numbers
- Merrimack continued its best start in program history, as the Warriors had never before in any of their previous three seasons have five wins through eight games.
- Ridgewell finished with 18 saves, with eight coming in the third period; she has earned every decision thus far for the Warriors.
- Six different Warriors recorded a point in Friday's victory.
- Goaltenders: Samantha Ridgewell (18 saves, 5-1-2) // Melissa Black (24 saves, 1-3-1)
- Power Plays: 0-4 // 0-3
- Shots on Goal: 9-4 // 9-6 // 8-9 - 26-19
Merrimack returns to action tomorrow on the road against Holy Cross, with puck drop set for 7 p.m.