The Boston University women’s hockey team (9-5-3, 8-4-3 Hockey East) hosted the Merrimack College Warriors (5-14-1, 4-10-1 HEA) at Walter Brown Arena Saturday afternoon, where they completed the weekend sweep with a 4-1 victory. Coming off an overtime win on Friday, the Terriers raised their level of play and put together a shutdown game.
“I thought it was great to have two wins back-to-back,” associate head coach Kerstin Matthews said in a postgame press conference. “The girls really did a great job making adjustments last night and then carrying them into today, so it was excellent to see the effort all across the board.”
Senior goaltender Kate Stuart reclaimed the crease after freshman netminder Callie Shanahan held it down for BU in Friday’s game and last Sunday’s game against Boston College. Stuart made 18 saves, and her team played solid defense in front of her.
Senior defender Alex Allan broke the ice at 7:12 with her first goal of the season. Collecting the rebound of graduate student defender Ellie Larson’s initial shot, Allan snapped it past junior goalie Emma Gorski from a couple of feet out to give her group a 1-0 lead.
Just over a minute later, senior forward Mackenna Parker doubled BU’s advantage with a laser shot, but the Warriors responded less than 30 seconds after. Captain and senior forward Gabby Jones tipped a shot from the point past Stuart to make the score 2-1 at 9:19.
The opening frame ended with the scarlet and white up 12-5 in shots on goal — a strong first 20 minutes to build off of in the second period.
“We had played a pretty complete period, so we just reminded the girls of what a complete period they had played and continued to keep that momentum,” Matthews said, “and not let [Merrimack] take the momentum back from us.”
Sophomore forward Catherine Foulem was dealt a minor for holding 58 seconds into the second period and the Terriers’ penalty kill did its job. Disrupting passing lanes and tight coverage protected the BU lead.
BU dominated the majority of the rest of the period. The Terriers were swarming in the offensive zone, maintaining possession for a prolonged time and testing Gorski with shots from all over. The group held the momentum going into the closing frame.
The Terriers kept their foot on the gas in the third, widening their lead at 1:16 with a wonky goal partially thanks to junior defender Nadia Mattivi — her shot from near the blue line deflected off senior forward Courtney Correia’s leg.
Larson garnered her second apple of the afternoon on the Terriers’ fourth goal. The defender sauced it from the wing to junior forward Haylee Blinkhorn, who was netfront and released a point-blank shot at 5:06 to make it 4-1.
The third period had a collective eight penalties — and 5-on-3, 4-on-3 and 4-on-4 hockey — making for a shuffled 20 minutes.
“There were a couple minutes that got away from us here and there, but on the whole, they kept coming back to the game plan,” Matthews said. “I thought they did a really good job, and like I said, we were able to help them with some small reminders just to keep them focused.”
The buzzer at the end of the third marked not only a 4-1 win, but the first time the squad has put together a two-win weekend since their first series of the season against the University of New Hampshire at the beginning of October. The sweep will no doubt give the group a boost of confidence as they play Yale this Wednesday.
“I think this is a good test for us to be able to go down and play Yale,” Matthews said. “They’re nationally ranked, and we’d like to be able to show what we can do here. Having the momentum after the two wins, I think, will give this group sort of the ability to stick to the process and make sure they’re taking care of themselves.”
The puck will drop at 7 p.m. on Wednesday in New Haven.