By: David Souza
For the first time in the Boston University’s eleven-year program, they will face off against the Warriors of Merrimack College.
The Terriers, who currently sit at 8-6-0 overall and 6-3-0 in Hockey East, are coming off of their season sweep of Maine last weekend, defeating the Black Bears 5-3 and 3-2 respectively.
Merrimack, in their inaugural season as a women’s varsity program, has gotten off to an expected rocky start. They are only 2-10-0 (1-5-0 Hockey East), with wins coming against the likes of Colgate and the University of New Hampshire. Both victories have come within the confines of the Warriors’ Lawler Arena in North Andover, Massachusetts, as the gold and blue are a lackluster 0-4 on the road.
While scoring has been a problem for Erin Hamlen’s squad – they have only netted 23 goals while allowing 51 thus far – they are no strangers to beating a good team. In the waning days of October, the Warriors took on the Raiders of Colgate University. In that contest at Lawler Arena, Merrimack never trailed as they upended Colgate, who is currently ranked 14th overall in the nation.
Currently heading the Warriors’ offense is freshman forward Paige Voight. The St. Michael, Minnesota native has 10 points on the season (4G, 6A) and leads Merrimack in shots with 42. In addition to Voight, Jackie Pieper also has major scoring abilities, as exemplified by her team-leading three power play goals.
Defensively the Warriors will be anchored by freshman Samantha Ridgewell, who hails from Outlook, Saskatchewan. The 5’9” goaltender has allowed 31 goals on 321 shots for a .903 save percentage over her ten games between the pipes. Ridgewell also boasts a 3.35 goals-against average in her career as a Warrior.
Opposing Merrimack twice this weekend will be the Terriers as they gear up for the first half of their home-and-home series with a trip up I-93 to the small North Andover based campus.
Leading the way for BU is junior centerman Maddie Elia. Elia has been on a tear as of late, notching three goals in as many games bringing her season total to 10, a team high. Elia’s linemates have also chipped in their fair share of offense as sophomore Rebecca Leslie and senior Rebecca Russo currently headline the team’s offense with 20 and 17 points respectively.
Freshman Sammy Davis continued her hot start with a two-assist game against Maine last Sunday for her twelfth and thirteenth points of the season.
Coach Brian Durocher has pegged junior goaltender Victoria Hanson to start for the Terriers in the series opener and, barring an unlikely change of heart, will more than likely have sophomore Erin O’Neil in net for Saturday’s contest. Hanson and O’Neil have stopped a combined 415 shots for a save percentage of .899. While both goalies have allowed 23 goals, O’Neil has done so in nine games compared to Hanson’s seven.
The series will begin Friday at 7 o’clock at Merrimack’s Lawler Arena before shifting down to Walter Brown for a 3 o’clock matinee on Saturday afternoon.