Ice Hockey, Sports

Final Merrimack contest awaits women’s hockey ahead of Beanpot

Junior Samantha Sutherland has 16 points on the year from six goals and 10 assists. PHOTO BY JUSTIN HAWK/DFP FILE PHOTO
Junior Samantha Sutherland has 16 points on the year from six goals and 10 assists. PHOTO BY JUSTIN HAWK/DFP FILE PHOTO

Before the Beanpot Tournament commences Tuesday, the Boston University women’s hockey team will welcome Merrimack College to campus Saturday afternoon.

BU (16-9-2, 13-4-2 Hockey East) is currently riding a two-game winning streak after defeating Providence College this past weekend in a home-and-home series. Sophomore forward Rebecca Leslie was instrumental throughout the two games, tallying a total of five points through two goals and three assists.

Leslie was named Hockey East Player of the Week as a result, and currently leads the team in points and assists. Senior forward Rebecca Russo and sophomore forward Victoria Bach also had a stellar weekend, notching two goals and two assists each.

“When you have multiple people contributing, you know that if one mind gets shut down, one of the other two can pick you up,” said BU head coach Brian Durocher. “At times this year, [Leslie, Bach and Russo] have all been pretty darn good contributors. It’s a good sign, and hopefully we’ll be able to score goals in big situations.”

Freshman forward Mary Grace Kelley tallied her first collegiate goal this weekend, a game-winner during the Sunday contest. It’s all part of the strong offensive core that BU continues to boast game after game.

“I’ve always felt that was the strength of our team,” Durocher said. “It comes because we have talent there, but it also comes because we have experience there. We’ve got a person like [freshman forward] Sammy Davis step in whose certainly added to it as well.”

The Warriors (4-22-1, 2-14-1 Patriot League) are in their inaugural season as an NCAA team and struggled earlier in the year against BU.

The Terriers won 5-1 Nov. 20 and 4-2 Nov. 21, but Durocher assured that those scorelines were slightly deceiving.

“Their No. 1 goalie was injured when we played them the first two games,” Durocher said. “She’s back, they’re a very young team and it’s their first year of existence.”

Since then, the Warriors have struggled throughout the latter half of the season, winning only one of their last seven games. However, their most recent win came against Brown University Jan. 19. The Warriors dominated the game, which ended by a score of 4-1.

Freshman Paige Voight leads the team in both goals and points, with nine and 17, respectively. Freshman Katelyn Rae shortly follows Voight with seven goals and 15 points.

Freshman Samantha Ridgewell has played in 21 games between the pipes, and saves 91.4 percent of the shots that come her way. Ridgewell made 52 saves in the game against No. 1 Boston College two weeks ago, holding the Eagles (27-0, 19-0) to a 2-0 win.

“That position can certainly influence the game of hockey in a great way,” Durocher said. “Last week, she held Boston College to a 2-0 win with 55 or 56 saves, so we’ve got to certainly respect our opponent and make sure that we know they’re still in the playoff run.”

Durocher added that it’s important to not underestimate the Warriors, even if their season hasn’t electrified.

“One team is going to miss the playoffs, but two points here and one point there and all of a sudden, you could maybe get yourself into the picture,” Durocher said. “We’ve got to respect the good goalie who is back healthy now and a team that’s hungry for points.”

Simply, Durocher assured that two points are all that’s on his team’s mind.

“We can’t look by Merrimack,” he said. “We’ve got to look at it as a chance to get two more points, do everything right to get those two points and use it to prepare for Tuesday night against Northeastern.”

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