CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – Playing in the first playoff game in the history of the program, the Merrimack College women’s ice hockey team was upended in game one of the Hockey East Quarterfinals at top-seeded and sixth-ranked Boston College on Thursday afternoon, falling to the Eagles, 4-0. The eighth-seeded Warriors now face a must-win situation in game two of the series tomorrow.
Score: #1 Boston College 4, #8 Merrimack 0
WHEA Quarterfinals: Boston College leads best-of-three series, 1-0
Records: Merrimack (11-21-3) | Vermont (24-5–5)
Location: Conte Forum | Chestnut Hill, Mass.
How It Happened
- This top-seeded team in the Hockey East Tournament would come out as the aggressor on their home ice in game one, outshooting the Warriors 6-1 in the opening six minutes. After some conventional saves from freshman goaltender Léa-Kristine Demers (Repentigny, Quebec) on the opening shots, the Eagles would manage to get a piece of a loose puck in front of Merrimack’s goal and somehow trickle it by Demers to give the Eagles an early 1-0 lead at 5:42 of the first.
- After a bit of a slow start, the Warriors would find their offensive stride in the latter half of the first period, outshooting the Eagles 6-5 to close out the period. That stretch would feature two quality chances from sophomores Emily Volpe (Whitby, Ontario) and Katelyn Rae (Courtice, Ontario) looking to tie, but Merrimack would be held scoreless in the opening period.
- An early penalty to the Warriors in the second period would shift the momentum back over to the Eagles after Merrimack’s strong finish to the first. The Warriors would come out of the penalty kill unscathed, but saw the Eagles extend their lead to 2-0 at the 4:44 mark of the middle frame on a well-executed two-man rush, putting Merrimack in a two-goal hole in its first playoff game.
- Merrimack would again respond to an early-period goal with offense of their own, creating a string of chances following the Eagles’ second goal, including two chances for redshirt sophomore Jackie Pieper (Edina, Minn.) that nearly saw a wraparound try sneak in, but Eagles goaltender Katie Burt would show why she considered one of the best in the nation with some standout saves.
- Unlike the first period, Boston College would increase their offensive production late in the second, piling on shots for a heavy Eagles-favored margin in the period. Demers would stand tall with some highlight saves of her own, but a bouncing puck from the point late in the frame would find the stick of an uncovered Eagle forward in front of the net for an easy tap-in goal, extending Boston College’s lead to 3-0 after two.
- With the Warriors need a massive third period to bounce back from a three-goal deficit, the Eagles would make it even harder on Merrimack as they stretched their lead to 4-0 early in the third on a hard shot from the point. The Warriors would manage a handful of shots in the final frame, but unrelenting pressure from the sixth-ranked team in the nation would maintain 4-0 lead and win for Boston College.
Inside The Numbers
- Friday’s loss is just the fourth time all season that the Warriors have been held scoreless in a game, with two of those for games being matchup with Boston College.
- Pieper gave a solid effort creating offense opportunities for the Warriors in the loss on Friday, as she matched her season-high with four shots on goal in the game, including some of Merrimack’s best looks of the game.
- Goaltenders: L – Demers (8-14–1, 35 saves) | W – Burt (22-5-5, 20 saves)
- Power Plays: Merrimack (0-2) | BC (0-1)
- SOG: MC – 20 | BC – 39
The Warriors are back in action for a must-win Game 2 of the Quarterfinals tomorrow at Conte Forum at 2:00 p.m.