NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. – Freshman assistant captain Paige Sorensen (Plymouth, Minn.) scored in the opening minute of the third period to tie the game at one while freshman goaltender Samantha Ridgewell(Outlook, Saskatchewan) made a season-high 55 saves in net to keep the score tied after regulation, but the Merrimack College women’s ice hockey team was upended in overtime by New Hampshire on Saturday afternoon in the final game of the teams’ season series.
Returning to the friendly confines of Lawler Rink after playing at New Hampshire last night on their Olympic-sized sheet of ice, the Warriors comfort on the smaller surface was evident in the opening period as Merrimack would fire nine quality chances at the net, including one that slid right across the goal line, but were unable to find the back of the net.
As penalties continue to be the Warriors’ downfall, the same would reign true in this game as the Wildcats would score on the power play at 14:11 in the opening period to take a 1-0 lead. Opponents are now 18-54 (33.3%) on the power play against Merrimack this season.
Both teams would step up their defensive pressure in the scoreless second period, as much of the action from both sides was contained to the neutral zone and scoring opportunities were hard to come by. New Hampshire would get another power play opportunity in the second, but three blocked shots from the Warriors on the penalty kill, including two from freshman Madison Morey (Fairbanks, Alaska), would keep the deficit at one.
Sorensen would tie the game up at one just 18 seconds into the final period. On a rush from the Warriors that caused a scrum in front of the net and forced UNH goaltender Kyra Smith to go to the ice for a save, the puck would pop loose and slide right out to the defenseman at the top of the left faceoff circle. Sorensen would one-time a bomb of a slap shot into the top right corner of the semi-vacant net to put Merrimack on the board.
Neither team was able to finish the job in regulation time, so the Warriors would see their first overtime game of the season and the first-ever for the program. Their first overtime game would not end as they would have preferred as a cross-ice pass from New Hampshire would be one-timed by Amy Schlagel and into the net for the game-winner just over two minutes into overtime.
Inside The Numbers
- Ridgewell’s 55 saves are most for any goalie on the team in a game this inaugural season, which therefore sets the mark for the most saves in a single game for the program. She currently ranks fifth in the nation among freshman with a .913 save percentage.
- Sorensen’s goal is her second in the last four games, while she has now tallied a point in five of the previous six games (2g, 3a). Her goal on Saturday was her first even-strength goal of the season.
- With the win on Saturday, New Hampshire won the series with Merrimack, two games to one. The final score of the Warriors’ win over UNH back in October as also 2-1.
The Warriors will ship down to Providence for a Friday night matchup with the Friars at 7:00 p.m. for Merrimack’s final game before the holiday break.