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BURLINGTON, Vt. – The Merrimack College women’s ice hockey program fought from behind from start to finish, tying the game on four separate occasions before falling to Vermont Saturday night, 5-4. Senior Katelyn Raehad a monster performance, recording her fourth career hat trick in the setback.

After a slow start Friday night, three goals were scored in the first four minutes of Saturday’s contest. Vermont’s Kristina Shanahan and Saana Valkama opened things up with goals of their own before Rae cut the lead in half. Rae tied the game on two separate occasions in the second period, earning her hat trick just 36 minutes into the game to set up an exciting final period.

With a Vermont goal early in the third period, the Warriors had to play from behind once again. It was senior Felila Manu who came up with a big goal, but the Catamounts responded with a late power play strike to take Saturday with a 5-4 final.

The Basics
Score: Merrimack 4, Vermont 5
Records: Merrimack (12-8-3, 8-7-1 HEA) | Vermont (7-12-4, 5-9-2 HEA)
Location: Gutterson Fieldhouse | Burlington, Vt.

Scoring Summaries

  • Goal #1 (1-0 VT) – After a three-goal loss in Friday’s contest, Vermont didn’t waste any time getting on the scoreboard Saturday afternoon. Kristina Shanahan danced around a pair of defenders and was able to slip a wrist shot past Ridgewell for the early lead.
  • Goal #2 (2-0 VT) – The Vermont offense was relentless to start the game, and picked up its second goal in less than four minutes. Saana Valkama forced a turnover in the Merrimack defensive end, and a great move around Ridgewell made it 2-0 just three minutes into the first period.
  • Goal #3 (2-1 VT) – With all the momentum, the Catamounts looked to have a handle on the game early; Rae’s first goal was able to change that. The senior fired a rocket past Vermont netminder Blana Skodova just four minutes into the period, and was able to cut the lead in half with her 15thgoal of the season.
  • Goal #4 (22) – Rae brought the Warriors level just three minutes into the second period. Thanks to a feed from Courtney Maud, the senior was able to slip between a pair of Vermont defenders and fire a shot just under the bar as she was hit, tying the game with over 15 minutes left in the second.
  • Goal #5 (32 VT) – Shanahan scored her second goal of the game second after the Warriors killed its second penalty of the night. A feed from Valkama set her up for a wide open finish, regaining the lead for the Catamounts at the midway point of the second period.
  • Goal #6 (33) – Katelyn Rae picked up her first hat trick of the season with six minutes left in the second period. Junior Mikyla Grant-Mentis dished a pass inside the faceoff circle, and Rae buried her 17th of the season.
  • Goal #7 (43 VT) – The Catamounts got one back at the start of the third period, retaking the lead yet again. A turnover on the blue line led to Olivia Kilberg skating in alone on Ridgewell and scoring the fourth Vermont goal made it 4-3.
  • Goal #8 (4-4) – Merrimack saw itself trailing for the third time Saturday night, but a different senior was able to find the back of the net with seven minutes left in the third period. Felila Manu ripped a shot from the bottom of the left faceoff circle that rippled the net, tying the game once more at four goals apiece.
  • Goal #9 (54 VT) – On its fourth power play of the night, Vermont retook the lead. With 1:38 left in the third period, Alyssa Gorecki fired a shot through traffic that found the back of the net to give the Catamounts a 5-4 lead.

Notes and Numbers

  • Rae registered her fourth career hat trick in Saturday’s contest. Her last hat trick came against Maine last January, where her four goals led Merrimack to an upset win over the #9 Black Bears.
  • Grant-Mentis finished the weekend with seven points, with two goals and five assists (three on Saturday).
  • Merrimack is now 5-3-1 all-time against the Catamounts.
  • GoaltendersSamantha Ridgewell (10 saves, 11-6-2) // Blanka Skodova (20 saves, 7-12-4)
  • Power Plays: 0-2 // 1-3
  • Shots on Goal: 4-6 // 11-4 // 9-5  – 24-15

Up Next
The Warriors return to Lawler Rink for the first time since December 8th, hosting Maine for two games. Puck drop against the Black Bears is set for Friday, January 18, at 3 p.m.

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