NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. — With a five-goal third period, the Boston University Terriers pulled away from a stingy Merrimack Warriors team to win their fifth Hockey East game of the season.
Junior Rebecca Leslie finished with a hat trick in the final 20 minutes, her first three goals of the season after going 11 games without one.
“It’s good to get the monkey off my shoulders, but I think it was just a good team effort,” Leslie said. “We didn’t give up like we’ve been doing in the past, we pushed through to the end of the game.”
Junior Victoria Bach put the game out of reach off a take-away in the defensive zone. Along with an assist on Mary Parker’s second period goal, Bach reached the 100-point plateau.
“I know Dez [De Sousa] got a goal today, Becca [Leslie] got a hat trick, great team effort,” Bach said.
Victoria Hanson started in net for the first time in two weeks, finishing with 16 saves on 19 shots on goal. The Warriors scored once in each period and twice on the power play.
“Unfortunately, the story’s a slightly recurring theme,” head coach Brian Durocher said. “The dissapointing side of it is, I thought we played an awful lot of good hockey that we should have gotten out of here with zero, one goal.”
BU moves to 5-5-0 in Hockey East play (6-5-1 overall), while pushing Merrimack to 2-6-0 (4-9-1 overall) in their first meeting of the season. Merrimack will not play another home game in the month of November.
“We know we’re gonna be able to score goals, but we really have got to somehow find a way to get it to the zeroes, the ones, the twos; not play this way and still find a way to give them three goals,” Durocher said.
The night began with Merrimack striking first. From the right point, Paige Sorenson sent a slap shot through a collection of bodies in front of Hanson. Before Hanson could find the puck, the horn had already sounded for Sorenson’s second of the season.
Two minutes later, the Terriers canceled out the opening strike. After about a minute of sustained zone time for the Terriers, the Warriors carelessly tried to clear, hitting Maddie Elia instead. Elia went toward the net and sent a backhand on Samantha Ridgewell.
Ridgewell made the initial save, but the puck popped loose. Leslie got a tap on it, but Deziray De Sousa got the final touch to send it across the line.
On the second shift of the second period, graduate student Mary Parker put up her team-leading 10th goal of the season for the lead. Bach took away the puck and flung it toward Ridgewell. Again, she made the first save, but Parker got the rebound to fall.
Later in the period, the Terriers finished a penalty kill, but the Warriors held it in the zone. Before Sarah Steele could return to help her teammates, Felila Manu sent in a puck. Hanson, again, found the puck only when it was behind her. The teams went into the third period tied at two, despite a 37-10 shot advantage for BU.
After killing off a carry-over penalty, Samantha Sutherland and Maddie Elia went in on offense. Elia carried the mail over the line and made it around one defender, but could not get a shot off. She passed to the late woman, Breanna Scarpaci.
The freshman out of Washington, Michigan put a shot high on Ridgewell for the first goal of her collegiate career. “That was the one that was probably the toughest one for Merrimack,” Durocher said. “That was a goal that I think that kid [Ridgewell] gets 99 percent of the time.”
“In between periods, we really regrouped, we knew that we couldn’t play like we did in the second,” Leslie said.
The onslaught continued, with Bach scoring on a takeaway deep in the offensive zone and Leslie adding another after Madison Morey fell trying skate backwards.
Jessica Bonfe finished a cross-crease pass on the power play to pull the Warriors back, but they pulled Ridgewell for the extra skater in the last two minutes.
“We got a little mentally soft the last five, six minutes, but that can happen when it’s six to two,” Durocher said.
Natalie Flynn blocked a shot and sent up Leslie along the right wall. From the red line, she sent in the slow roller for the seventh goal of the night. The assist is Flynn’s first point since the 2014-15 Hockey East semifinal win over Northeastern, a span of 51 games.
On Leslie’s hat trick, “Let’s hope she gets off and running,” Durocher said.”
Durocher remained non-committal as to who would start in net for the next game tomorrow afternoon from Agganis Arena. “There’s probably a case to go either direction,” he said.
It will be the eighth game in program history from the arena, where they are 6-1-1 and 4-0-1 in Hockey East play.
When asked if she would try to do the same thing tomorrow, Bach said “that sounds good.”