Previewing 2017-18 Women’s Hockey: Merrimack

Boston College women's hockey

Boston College women’s hockey will pick up right where it left off prior to the NCAA’s mandatory holiday break. The Eagles will return to Lawler Rink to face off against Merrimack on Tuesday afternoon, marking the third-straight game between the two Hockey East foes. To close out the first half of the year, BC swept the Warriors in a home-and-home series. In 10 meetings, the No. 2 Eagles (15-1-3, 8-0-1 Hockey East) have never tied, let alone lost to, Merrimack (6-12-3, 1-8-2). No conference opponent has had any luck against BC this season—three months into the 2017-18 campaign, the Eagles are still undefeated in Hockey East play.

Who is BC playing?

Merrimack

When is BC playing?

Tuesday, Jan. 2, 4 p.m.

Where is BC playing?

Lawler Rink, North Andover, Mass.

How to Watch:

The game will be livestreamed on Merrimack Athletics’ website, MerrimackAthletics.com.

By the Numbers:

BC:

1) Daryl Watts, Caitrin Lonergan, and Makenna Newkirk all rank among the nation’s top-10 leading scorers. Even more impressive, Watts and Lonergan sit atop the scoring chart with 47 and 45 points apiece—at least five more than anyone else in the country.

2) BC records 4.32 goals a game—the second most in the country behind Sacred Heart. But over the course of the past six contests, the Eagles have upped the ante, finding the back of the net an average of 4.83 times per game.

3) Eagles goaltender Katie Burt, who is 20th in the nation in goals against average, has only logged one shutout this season. This time last year, the senior had already blanked three teams.

Merrimack:

1) Offensively, the Warriors are one of the worst teams in the nation. So far this year, Merrimack is averaging a mere 1.48 goals per game, ranking dead last in the conference.

2) On the other end of the ice, Merrimack holds its own. The Warriors are currently the 22nd-best defensive team in the country, allowing just 2.38 goals per game.

3) Warriors netminder Samantha Ridgewell is seventh in the nation and second in Hockey East in save percentage (.932). In the first two games of this series, she stopped a total of 67 shots.

Last Meeting:

In the first game of the early December weekend series, Merrimack went toe-to-toe with BC for the first period or so. But it wasn’t long before the Eagles took over, scoring the game’s final three goals, including two in the second frame. The Warriors came a bit closer to pulling off the upset at home one day later. After a scoreless first period, Merrimack jumped out to a 2-0 lead, thanks to Paige Voight and Mikyla Grant-Mentis. But then, in a matter of minutes, the Warriors collapsed. Ridgewell conceded three goals during a four-minute, three-second span—one in which Lonergan either assisted or lit the lamp on every scoring play. To add insult to injury, Newkirk scored on the power play in the final frame to cap off the Eagles’ 4-2 comeback victory.

BC Wins if…

It records 30-plus shots. As good a goalie as Ridgewell is, hardly anyone in the conference, and even the country, can shut down the Eagles’ offense—something that the junior will have to do in order for the Warriors to win, considering their lack of production on the scoring end. If BC, namely Watts, Lonergan, and Newkirk, continue to bombard Ridgewell, she’ll eventually crack, just like she did in the first two games of the season series.

BC Loses if…

It goes down early and fails to string together another come-from-behind victory. Last time out, the Eagles’ undefeated Hockey East record was jeopardized when they gave up a pair second-period goals to the Warriors. Fortunately for head coach Katie Crowley’s team, Lonergan orchestrated a scoring spree to turn the tables. But there’s no telling that the sophomore, or anyone else for that matter, could do that on Tuesday. It’s important to remember that the Eagles’ only loss this season came in a game in which they faced a two-goal deficit heading into the third period.

Featured Image by Celine Lim / Heights Staff

About Andy Backstrom 278 Articles
Andy is the sports editor of The Heights. He is from the suburbs of Philly, but has been an Arizona Cardinals enthusiast since the first grade. Every so often, he'll replay Super Bowl XLIII on Madden to exact revenge on his father's beloved Steelers. You can follow him on Twitter @AndyHeights.