NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. – After racking up a three-goal cushion that held all the way to the midway point of the third period, the Merrimack Colllege women's hockey team saw Providence College net three unanswered goals in the final period, then net the overtime game-winner in the extra frame as the Warriors fell to the Friars by a score of 4-3 on Sunday afternoon.
Score (OT): Providence 4, Merrimack 3
Records: Merrimack (10-19-3, 6-16-0 HEA) | Providence (15-14-3, 10-9-3 HEA)
Location: Lawler Rink | North Andover, Mass.
Hockey East Playoff Picture:
Top eight teams qualify for postseason; seeds 1-4 host 5-8 in quarterfinal best-of-three series; bracket is reseeded, winning teams advance to Championship Weekend at Boston University.
1. Boston College (16-3-3, 35 pts)
2. Northeastern (14-7-2, 30 pts)
3. Boston U. (10-8-4, 24 pts)
T-4. Providence (10-9-3, 23 pts)
T-4. Vermont (8-8-7, 23 pts)
T-6. Connecticut (9-11-2, 20 pts)
T-6. New Hampshire (9-11-2, 20 pts)
8. Maine (6-16-1, 13 pts) (1 game remaining)
9. Merrimack (6-16-0, 12 pts) (2 games remaining)
How It Happened
- Sunday's game opened up with a fact pace of play for both teams, creating plenty of back-and-forth action and offensive opportunities on both ends. Both goaltenders would do a quality job minding the net in the opening frame, including an eight-save, scoreless period from freshman goaltender Léa-Kristine Demers (Repentigny, Quebec).
- The Warriors would be the first to break through at the 13:14 mark of the first frame on their first power play opportunity. After some good puck cycling in the offensive zone, a low shot from the point from sophomore Paige Sorensen (Plymouth, Mass.) would deflect off the foot of classmate Jessica Bonfe (Woodbury, Minn.) and into the back of the net for the 1-0 lead.
- Merrimack would see its lead extended to 2-0 less than four minutes into the second period, tallying another score on the man-advantage to convert on each of their first two power plays. After an offensive rush and shot on goal from redshirt sophomore Jackie Pieper (Edina, Minn.), a crash-the-net effort from classmate Katelyn Rae (Courtice, Ontario) would result in a rebound score for the two-goal lead.
- Sorensen would tack on another for the Warriors in the second period just before the midway point of the frame. The defenseman would receive the puck on the blade right off a face-off win from sophomore Annie Boeckers (Otsego, Minn.) and fire rocket top-right and by the shoulder of the goaltender to give Merrimack a three-goal cushion that held into the final frame.
- After competing and even getting chances to extend their lead to four goals in the first 10 minutes of the third, Merrimack would quickly see its lead start to dissipate in the latter half of the frame. The Friars would get on the board to cut the score to 3-1 at 10:34 of the third. Just 2:18 later, Providence would cut into the lead again, making it a one-score game with seven minutes to play.
- The game-tying score for Providence would come with an extra attacker on the ice and the net empty, sliding it by Demers with just 1:08 to go in regulation to send the game into overtime.
- The Friars would net their fourth unanswered goal in a 12-minute span 1:53 into the overtime period, sealing the comeback victory and leaving Merrimack still winless against Providence.
Inside The Numbers
- Prior to Sunday's loss, the Warriors were undefeated in their previous seven games that went to overtime dating back to last season, posting a record of 2-0-5. Both overtime victories came earlier this season.
- After an 11-game scoreless streak, Rae has responded by netting a goal in each of the last four games, including a hat trick last weekend. She has six goals in that span, improving her team-leading season total to 17.
- Goaltenders: L – Demers (7-13-1, 38 saves) | W – Myers (9-10–3, 34 saves)
- Power Plays: Merrimack (2-5) | PC (0-3)
- SOG: MC – 37 | PC – 42
The Warriors will travel to Vermont next weekend for two games with Vermont to close out the regular season as they look to clinch a spot in the Hockey East playoffs.