Ice Hockey, Sports

Women’s hockey prepares for weekend series against Merrimack

PHOTO BY FALON MORAN/DFP FILE PHOTO
Junior goaltender Victoria Hanson boasts a 88.9 save percentage. PHOTO BY FALON MORAN/DFP FILE PHOTO

The Boston University women’s hockey team will look to extend its two-game winning streak in a home-and-home series this weekend against Merrimack College.

After dropping both games in their series against Boston College two weeks ago, BU (8-6, 6-3 Hockey East) has turned it around both offensively and defensively, outscoring the University of Maine 8-5 across two games last weekend. Senior assistant captain and forward Sarah Lefort shined, notching three out of the eight scored against the Black Bears (6-8, 3-6 Hockey East).

Junior goaltender Victoria Hanson and sophomore goaltender Erin O’Neil split the weekend’s games, with Hanson making 30 saves in the first game and O’Neil stopping 29 in the second.

BU coach Brian Durocher said he hopes that this success will carry over to this weekend’s games against Merrimack (2-10, 1-5 Hockey East).

“You’re always feeling good about yourself after you come up with a couple of wins,” Durocher said. “I thought there were a lot of good signs in the weekend. We got some special team goals and just played pretty solid hockey throughout.”

However, the Terriers will make sure to not rest on their laurels against the Warriors.

“We still want to make sure that we’re playing defense first, but we knew that we were going to have a battle on our hands,” Durocher said. “Hopefully we can take those good things with us to the two games against Merrimack.”

The Warriors are currently playing in their inaugural season, making this upcoming series the first matchup against the Terriers in program history.

“I think it’s always fun to see a new team and different uniform,” Durocher said. “It’ll be a new building for some of the kids that have never played there.”

Durocher said expectations may not be high for Merrimack, but they’re still a talented team.

“We were a proud team when we started our program and won our share of games,” Durocher said. “… I’m sure their aspirations are to be as high up in the standings as they can, but you put together a few wins and all of a sudden you can be in the seventh or eighth spot instead of the ninth spot, and I think that would be one of those targets or goals they have.”

Unfortunately, Merrimack has not had as successful a season as BU, winning only one of their last five games and only two games so far this season.

This may be due to their status as a young team, with most of their players being underclassmen. The Warriors’ roster consists of 16 freshmen, three sophomores and two juniors.

Freshman Paige Voight currently leads the team in points with 10 and is tied for the team lead in goals with sophomore Jackie Pieper, who has four on the season. Pieper is right behind Voight for point leader, tied with freshman forward Katelyn Rae with six points a piece.

Freshman goaltender Samantha Ridgewell has played in 10 of 12 games for Merrimack and started in nine. She currently has a save percentage of 0.903.

Durocher said the Terriers will not take the competition lightly, however, planning on executing their best game with the right attitude.

“Every single night they’re trying to grab a point or whatever they can,” Durocher said. “We’ve got to make sure that we’re ready to play and we don’t have any let ups, we don’t think we’re better than we are and we certainly make sure we respect our opponent. That’s going to be our charge as we get to the game on Friday night.”

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