NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. – The Warriors would score twice in the final eight minutes of the third period, both times cutting the Huskies’ lead to one, but it would not be enough as the Merrimack College women’s ice hockey team would just be edged out by Connecticut, 4-3, on Saturday afternoon in Hockey East action.
Score: Connecticut 4, Merrimack 3
Records: Merrimack (3-19-0, 2-11-0 HEA) | Connecticut (8-9-3, 4-6-1 HEA)
Location: Lawler Rink | North Andover, Mass.
How It Happened
The Warriors would struggle early in the game, mustering just four shots in the opening period. Merrimack would take a too many players penalty with just under five minutes remaining in the first but were able to kill it off with a nice effort. Another penalty immediately after Merrimack returned to even strength would not go as well as Leah Lum gave the Huskies a 1-0 lead on the power play heading into the first intermission.
Merrimack would heighten the intensity in the second period, racking up good offensive zone time and outshooting UConn 13-9 in the period. The effort would be rewarded on the ninth goal of the season for freshman Paige Voight (St. Michael, Minn.), getting her stick on the puck after freshman Katelyn Rae(Courtice, Ontario) threw it at the net from the corner. The game would remain tied at the end of the second.
Penalties would again come to haunt the Warriors, as they would open the third period shorthanded. Justine Fredette would score the Huskies’ second power-play goal of the game to retake a one-goal lead. Fredette would add another score just 2:40 later to extend their lead to 3-1 less than five minutes into the third.
Connecticut would take a penalty at 10:28 in the third, their lone penalty of the game, to give Merrimack their own power play chance. Sophomore captain Jackie Pieper (Edina, Minn.) capitalized on that chance, netting her fourth power-play goal of the year to again cut the deficit to one with less than 10 minutes remaining.
As the clocked ticked down with Merrimack still trailing 3-2, head coach Erin Hamlen would pull freshman goaltender Samantha Ridgewell (Outlook, Saskatchewan) from the net for the extra skater. Connecticut then scored on the empty net with 1:31 to play, appearing to seal the game. But freshman defenseman Paige Sorensen (Plymouth, Minn.) would score 27 seconds later with her signature slap-shot bomb from the point, again cutting UConn’s lead to one. Despite an aggressive effort, Merrimack would be unable to add the game-tying goal in the final minute of play.
Inside The Numbers
- In a very even matchup on Saturday, the Huskies and Warriors would both fire off 30 shots in the game, including an even 13 apiece in the third period. Connecticut went 2/4 on the power play while Merrimack was 1/1, and UConn was favored in face-offs 35-28.
- Despite their record, the Warriors have been right in a lot of games this season, as Saturday marked their sixth one-goal loss of the season.
- Voight’s goal extends her points-streak to five games (4g, 2a) and improves her team-leading scoring line to 9-8-17.
- Pieper’s four power play goals this year lead the team, while it also has her tied for seventh in the nation in said statistic. Four of Pieper’s five goals this season have come on the man advantage.
The Warriors are back at it with the Huskies tomorrow, taking on UConn in Storrs, Connecticut. Puck drop is set for 2:00 p.m.