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Preview: Playoff Hopes at Stake as Merrimack Women’s Hockey Travels to Vermont

Date Friday, Feb. 17 (7 p.m.)
Saturday, Feb. 18 (4 p.m.)
Records Merrimack (10-19-3, 6-16-0 HEA)
Vermont (12-11-9, 8-7-7 HEA)
Location Gutterson Fieldhouse | Burlington, Vt.
Live Stats Friday | Saturday
Webcast (FREE) Friday | Saturday
Social Media Twitter – @MerrimackWIH  | Instagram – @MerrimackWHockey

BURLINGTON, Vt. – With the opportunity to clinch its first-ever Hockey East playoff berth up for grabs, the Merrimack College women’s ice hockey team will travel to Vermont this weekend to conclude the regular season with two games vs. the Catamounts, where a win and a tie would lock them into the eight-seed in the conference tournament. Friday’s puck drop is set for 7:00 p.m., while Saturday’s will be a 4:00 p.m. start

Hockey East Playoff Picture:
Top eight teams qualify for postseason; seeds 1-4 host 5-8 in quarterfinal best-of-three series; bracket is reseeded, winning teams advance to Championship Weekend at Boston University.

1. Boston College (16-3-3, 35 pts)
2. Northeastern (14-7-2, 30 pts)
3. Boston U. (10-8-4, 24 pts)
T-4. Providence (10-9-3, 23 pts)
T-4. Vermont (8-7-7, 23 pts)
T-6. Connecticut (9-11-2, 20 pts)
T-6. New Hampshire (9-11-2, 20 pts)
8. Maine (6-15-1, 13 pts) (1 game remaining, Sunday @ Boston U.)
9. Merrimack (6-16-0, 12 pts) (2 games remaining, Warriors hold the tiebreaker)

Last Time Out:

  • The Warriors dropped a heartbreaker to Providence at Lawler Rink this past Sunday, missing out on what would’ve been two huge points in the Hockey East standings.
  • Power-play goals from sophomores Jessica Bonfe (Woodbury, Minn.) and Katelyn Rae (Courtice, Ontario) would put the Warriors up 2-0 in the second, then classmate Paige Sorensen (Plymouth, Minn.) made it 3-0 heading into the third period.
  • With that lead still holding more than halfway through the final period, Merrimack would see Providence net four unanswered goals, including the game-winner in overtime, to drop a 4-3 decision to the Friars.

Earlier This Season vs. Vermont:

  • The Warriors and Catamounts met once this season in early January at Lawler Rink. Merrimack would win the game, 2-1 in overtime in another barnburner between these two teams.
  • Sophomore Annie Boeckers (Otsego, Minn.) would open the game’s scoring in the first period to put the Warriors ahead 1-0, then classmate Madison Morey (Fairbanks, Alaska) would net her first of the season in game-winning fashion in overtime to clinch the victory.

The Catamounts:

  • Vermont enters the final weekend of the season with an 8-7-7 record in conference play, currently sitting tied for fourth in the Hockey East standings. They are 2-2-2 in their last six games heading into Friday.
  • Rookie Eve-Audrey Picard has burst onto the scene for the Catamounts, leading her team with 22 points on a team-high 11 goals and 11 assists in 32 games this season.
  • Madison Litchfield has handled the majority of time in net, playing in 18 games and posting a 7-4-6 record with a .935 save percentage and a 1.80 goals-against average. Melissa Black has also seen a fair share of time in net for Vermont, playing in 14 games and posting a 4-6-3 record with a .913 SV% and a 2.68 GAA.

Up Next
If the Warriors are able to clinch their first-ever berth to the Hockey East playoffs, they will travel to Boston College to take on the Eagles in the first round of the tournament next weekend.

Mike McMahon is in his 12th year covering Merrimack College for The Eagle Tribune and is the founder and managing editor of The Mack Report. Mike also serves on staff as a senior writer at College Hockey News. Follow him on Twitter @MikeMcMahonCHN

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2018-19 Men’s Hockey Schedule

5 - vs. Lake Superior State (7pm)
6 - vs. Lake Superior State (7pm)
27 - vs. UMass (Homecoming) (7pm)

28 - vs. Denver (7pm)
31 - vs. Colorado College (4pm)

22 - @ UMass Lowell
23 - vs. UMass Lowell

Date Undetermined
TBD - @ Bentley
TBD - vs. Holy Cross

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