|1st||18:47||MER||1-0||EV||Paige Voight (2)||Meghan Martin/1|
|3rd||1:36||MER||2-0||SH GW||Jackie Pieper (2)||Meghan Martin/2, Paige Sorensen/1|
|3rd||12:02||UNH||1-2||EV||Jonna Curtis (2)||Amy Schlagel/3, Taylor Wenczkowski/2|
|Shots on Goal||1st||2nd||3rd||SOG|
|Team Stats and Records||PP||PIM||SHGF|
|New Hampshire (0-4-0)||0/2||1/2||0|
|New Hampshire Goaltending||MIN||GA||1||2||3||Saves|
|Ashley Wilkes (L, 0-1-0)||59:13||2||2||3||5||10|
|Samantha Ridgewell (W, 1-3-0)||60:00||1||15||10||9||34|
NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. - The Merrimack College women's ice hockey team would need two goals and 34 saves from freshman goaltender Samantha Ridgewell (Outlook, Saskatchewan) to seal the program's first-ever win, and first Hockey East win, over New Hampshire on Saturday afternoon during Homecoming Weekend.
Score: Merrimack 2, New Hampshire 1
Records: Merrimack (1-4-0, 1-0-0 HEA) | New Hampshire (0-4-0, 0-2-0 HEA)
Location: Lawler Rink | North Andover, Mass.
How It Happened
Playing against her alma mater and a team she coached for a decade, it was obvious this was the game head coach Erin Hamlen wanted most to see her team win. Her message to her players was to find a reason why they wanted to win this game, and it was clear in her team's play that they were able to find a few.
The Wildcats were ready to formally welcome the Warriors into the Hockey East, as they came out in the opening period with speed and intensity, controlling the puck and forcing Merrimack to make plays. The first was Ridgewell's best period of the game, as she would make 15 saves to keep New Hampshire out of the net and avoid allowing them an early lead.
The first goal for the Warriors and first score of the game would come late in the opening period, with just 1:13 remaining until the first intermission. Merrimack's leading scorer early in the inaugural season would put them on the board first, as freshman Paige Voight (St. Michael, Minn.) would continue to build on her hot start with her second goal of the season. Voight would receive a pass from freshman defenseman Meghan Martin (Newport, Vt.) off of a turnover, carrying the puck and making a slick move between two defenders to put her in alone one-on-one with the goalie. A composed Voight would lift the puck top corner over the goaltender's shoulder to put the Warriors up 1-0.
Despite being the only scoreless period of the game, the second period may have been the best period for the Navy and Gold as they picked up their pressure and intensity in the defensive zone and did not give the Wildcats many opportunities to create chances. The second period would have the lowest combined shot total of the three.
The Warriors would open the third period with a penalty just over a minute in, and for a penalty-kill unit that has yet to really find its stride, being down a player and up just one goal can create for a nerve-racking situation. But sophomore and recently-named captain Jackie Pieper (Edina, Minn.) would put those nerves to rest by scoring the first shorthanded goal in the program's history. On a play that started in the defensive zone from freshman and assistant captain Paige Sorensen (Plymouth, Minn.), Pieper would end up with the puck in the neutral zone and carry it up ice. Entering the offensive zone on the right side of the ice, Pieper protected the puck from a defender on her backhand and slid it on the ice and right underneath the goalie's pads for the 2-0 lead in the third.
New Hampshire's lone goal would come with 7:58 remaining in the game from Jonna Curtis, cutting the lead to one with plenty of game remaining. But the Warriors would respond to the score and began attacking the puck carrier, giving the Wildcats little time to think and react. That defense would not relent through the remainder of the game and Ridgewell and the Warriors would nab the program's first-ever win on home ice.
Inside The Numbers
- Ridgewell's 34 saves are right in line with her save production for this season, as she is now averaging 33 saves per game in her four starts. Opponents had averaged 35.0 shots per game on the Warriors entering Saturday. The Wildcats took 35 shots in the game.
- Voight continues to lead the Warriors' offensive production to start the season, as her goal Saturday improves her line to 2-4-6. She is currently eighth in the nation among rookies with 1.20 points per game.
- Martin assisted on both Merrimack goals in the game to post her first-career points. She is now one of four defensemen with multiple points on the year and one of five defensemen with at least one point.
- The Warriors killed off 2-2 penalties in the game, and were 0-1 on the power play. This is the first game for Merrimack that did not feature a power play for either team.
The Warriors will be back on Lawler Rink tomorrow for their second Hockey East game against Maine during Homecoming Weekend. The game will feature a trading card set giveaway and a postgame skate with the Warriors. Puck drop is set for 2 p.m.