Previewing 2017-18 Women’s Hockey: Merrimack

Boston College women’s hockey wraps up the semester with a home-and-home series this weekend against Merrimack (6-10-3, 1-6-2 Hockey East), looking to extend a seven-game, NCAA-best unbeaten streak. The No. 2 Eagles (13-1-3, 7-0-3) are undefeated in conference play through 10 games and look to stave off Providence in the conference standings, currently leading by a lone point. BC is a perfect 8-0 all-time against the Warriors.

Who is BC playing?
Merrimack

When is BC playing?
Friday, Dec. 8, 2017, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 9, 2017, 4 p.m.

Where is BC playing?
Friday: Kelley Rink, Chestnut Hill, Mass.
Saturday: Lawler Rink, North Andover, Mass.

TV, Radio, Stream?
Friday’s game will be broadcasted on ESPN3

By the Numbers:

BC:

1) A win would tie the Eagles’ season-best unbeaten streak, a nine-game run (8-0-1) to start the season.

2) Goaltender Katie Burt has locked down the Warriors historically, coming into the weekend with a 7-0 record, while allowing just 0.42 goals against average and posting a .978 save percentage.

3) Makenna Newkirk enters with a 17-game point streak. She’s the active scoring leader against Merrimack on the Eagles, picking up points in five out of the eight times she’s faced the Warriors.

Merrimack:

1) The Warriors have struggled offensively, but boast a balanced attack—three players have at least four goals, while seven players have five-plus points.

2) Merrimack has dropped eight-straight conference games since opening up play with a win over Boston University on Sept. 23. They’ve been outscored 21-5 in those eight games.

3) Defense has been a strength for the Warriors, as they currently rank 14th nationally in goals allowed per game, conceding just 2.21.

Last meeting?
The two teams met five times last year, with the Eagles sweeping the series. The final matchup wrapped up a two-game Hockey East quarterfinal, with BC winning 1-0. Megan Keller scored the game-winning goal, her second of the series, while Burt had 28 saves in the shutout.

All-Time Series
BC leads, 8-0.

BC wins if…
It plays mentally sound hockey. The Eagles historically have Merrimack’s number, and there’s no reason to expect anything different on Friday. The Warriors are in the cellar of the conference and have struggled to get much of anything going offensively, so it’s tough to see them keeping pace with BC’s dangerous offense. Daryl Watts and Caitrin Lonergan have piled up points and awards this season and have yet to truly have an “off” game. Watts recorded 19 points in eight games this past month, while Lonergan had a remarkable eight-point week.

BC loses if…
Merrimack goaltender Samantha Ridgewell shows up. Ridgewell ranks third nationally with a .941 save percentage, and leads the conference with a 1.77 goals against average. If she holds strong in spite of the Eagles’ third-ranked offense in the country, Merrimack could eke out a narrow win. The Warriors are last in the conference in goals per game, but have played six one-goal games and split them evenly. If Ridgewell keeps it close, Merrimack could very well have a shot.

Featured Image by Sam Zhai / Heights Staff