PROVIDENCE, R.I. – A late third-period goal nearly sparked a comeback for the fifth-seeded Merrimack College women’s ice hockey program, but in game two of the Hockey East Quarterfinals, the Warriors fell to Providence College, 2-1. Merrimack concluded its fourth season as a varsity program with a 16-13-7 overall record, the program’s best finish.
Merrimack started the first period with a full head of steam, seeing a variety of scoring chances through the opening 20 minutes. Late in the opening period, however, the Friars struck first; a flurry of saves from senior goaltender Samantha Ridgewell led to an open rebound, and Neve Van Pelt put in the game’s first goal.
After a second period that saw five minors and a major, the Friars doubled its lead. Maureen Murphy’s power-play strike put the hosts up two goals at the game’s midway point, setting up for a wild finish. Merrimack used an extra attacker for nearly three minutes; after six shots on frame, senior Katelyn Rae cut the lead in half with 24 seconds left. Providence was able to chew up the final half minute, advancing to the Hockey East Semifinals with a 2-1 final.
Ridgewell’s final game between the pipes for the Warriors saw a 21-save effort; she finished the season with the second-best save percentage in Hockey East (.936).
Through its first four years as a varsity program, the Warriors concluded the 2018-19 season with a program-best 16 wins, and its second-ever postseason appearance.
Score: Merrimack 1, PC, 2
Records: Merrimack (16-13-7, 12-10-5 HEA) | PC (24-12-2, 16-9-2 HEA)
Location: Schneider Arena | Providence, R.I.
- Goal #1 (1-0 PC) – The Friars struck first once again in game two, despite a dominant first period effort from the Warriors. Neve Van Pelt cleaned up a rebound after a handful of incredible saves from Ridgewell, tucking it in and giving the Friars a 1-0 lead through the opening 20 minutes.
- Goal #2 (2-0 PC) – After a span of eight minutes and six penalties, Providence doubled its lead on a power play goal. Maureen Murphy caught the back end of a great pass from Sara Hjalmarrson, putting pressure on the Warriors at the game’s midway point.
- Goal #3 (2-1 PC) – The Warriors used an extra attacker for the final 2:30, and it looked to have paid off late. Senior Katelyn Rae muscled home her 71st career goal with 24 seconds left in the third, cutting the lead in half late in regulation.
Notes and Numbers
- All four top seeds in the Hockey East Quarterfinal round made it through to next weekend; all four only needed two games.
- Merrimack’s eleven seniors combined for over 1,400 games played in their careers. The inaugural class helped the Warriors win a program-high 16 games in just its fourth season.
- Goaltenders: Samantha Ridgewell (21 saves, 15-11-7) // Madison Myers (22 saves, 24-12-2)
- Power Plays: 0-2 // 1-2
- Shots on Goal: 7-8 // 9-5 // 8-10 – 24-23