Women's Hockey

Women’s Hockey Sweeps Merrimack in First Meetings Between Programs

For warriors, they didn’t seem very scary.

Not hidden by the heavy-duty helmets, Merrimack College women’s hockey displayed a less intimidating persona while starters were announced. The team slammed its sticks on the ice after each name in the usual fashion, but Boston College didn’t flinch. When the Eagles’ (23-0-0, 16-0-0 Hockey East) own teammates were announced, each BC player remained stoic, staring down her opponents. There was no time for rituals or pleasantries. BC was here to dominate.

The menacing look worked, as the Eagles shut out Merrimack (3-21-1, 2-13-1), 6-0 at Kelley Rink, sweeping the Warriors in a home-and-home series. The two games marked the first meetings of BC and Merrimack on the ice, as the Warriors are the newest members of the Women’s Hockey East Association this season.

BC’s momentum started six seconds after Warrior Jillian Battista landed in the penalty box for tripping. Makenna Newkirk effortlessly launched the puck into the back of the net following a pass from Megan Keller, sending it around the back pipe.

On another power play, Kenzie Kent made a short pass to Haley Skarupa, who nailed a shot between goaltender Samantha Ridgewell’s arm and the left pipe, making the score 2-0. Ridgewell nearly stopped the puck in her glove, but couldn’t get there in time.

Early in the second period, the Eagles struck again. Skarupa shot at Ridgewell, but it deflected off of her legs. Amid the chaos of several Warriors and Eagles around the net, Dana Trivigno stripped the puck from behind a defender and slipped it in by the left pipe. Because Ridgewell was still drawn out of the crease from Skarupa’s shot, she had no chance of saving Trivigno’s.

Newkirk opened up the third period with another goal, shooting the puck from far out in the five-hole as Ridgewell crab-legged over to the center of the crease.

Toni Ann Miano channeled her warrior when Paige Voight entered the crease, sending the Merrimack freshman tumbling to the ice. Both Miano and Voight landed in the box for roughing and unsportsmanlike conduct, respectively.

Seconds after Miano made her way to the penalty box, Alex Carpenter passed the puck backward to Skarupa, who lost control of the puck and spun around to get a better shot. Facing the goal head-on, she launched the puck into the net, widening BC’s lead to five. The goal was the 100th of Skarupa’s illustrious career.

The high-scoring duo of Skarupa and Carpenter finished the Warriors off with another collaboration, earning Carpenter her first goal of the game and her 28th of the season. After a pass from Skarupa, Carpenter raced toward the goal and sent the shot high between Ridgewell’s right arm and the pipe, guaranteeing a final score of 6-0. The two have proven to be an excellent pair, coming together throughout the season to score, particularly in shorthanded opportunities.

“Carp and Haley are so dangerous on a shorthanded,” head coach Katie Crowley said. “They can strike pretty much at any time.”

The Warriors finished with eight shots on goal, a stark contrast to the 55 shots BC ended up taking. Goaltender Gabri Switaj cited her defensemen as the explanation for the differential.

“It’s really easy to play in front of a team when they’re only letting up eight shots,” she said. “I think our D don’t get enough credit for that.”

Even so, Switaj can also celebrate herself, as she accomplished her first career shutout in her fifth appearance for the Eagles this season. For the few shots she faced, Switaj had to work to clinch the shutout, often extending her body to grab the puck at the last moment.

The Eagles showed offensive improvement from their first game of the series, which they won 2-0. In that meeting, BC did not score in the first period for just the second time this season. The shutout still proved to be a solid outing for primary goalie Katie Burt, who faced only 10 shots from Merrimack, while the Eagles put up 55. Miano and Megan Keller notched the goals during the second period, taking advantage of open spaces both above and below goalie Ridgewell. The victory was also the first time this season that the Eagles have been held to two goals.

While the games against Merrimack bolster the fact that the Eagles are talented, it does not say much about what will happen later in the season. BC will face Harvard University in its next game—the Crimson are the last team to defeat the Eagles, in last year’s National Semifinals.

Featured Image by Julia Hopkins / Heights Editor

January 18, 2016