Women’s Preview: UVM @ Merrimack

Third time’s the charm?

UVM women’s hockey heads out to North Andover to do battle with the Merrimack College Warriors, UVM’s third game at Lawler. The first two did not go UVM’s way, as they only managed a draw and a loss last year on the final weekend of the regular season.

The Warriors, in their second year of D-I, have already bettered last year’s five wins, currently sitting at 6-13-2 but bottom in Hockey East at 2-10-1 (all against opponents that UVM has also played), though they sit just one back of Maine. In nonconference play against UVM mutual opponents, they’ve gone 3-1-1, defeating Robert Morris, Yale, and St. Cloud, losing to St. Cloud, and drawing Robert Morris. Being a second-year program, Merrimack is obviously very young, with a team full of freshmen and sophomores.

In goal, the Warriors will trot out either Lea-Kristine Demers or Samantha Ridgewell. Both have posted save percentages in the mid .890s, but they’re not really to blame…the defense is very leaky, allowing around 30 shots per game as well as the second-worst goals against average in the country at 3.71 (Brown has conceded 4.33, which is flatly disgusting).

On top of this, the Warriors haven’t gotten much scoring from their defense. Only Dominique Kremer and Paige Sorensen have more than 5 points from the blueline (the Cats have 3 players that do this). They’ve also been shaky on the PK with the fourth-worst in the country, killing off penalties at a 77.9% rate. The Cats offense hasn’t been the best this year, so this could be a chance to gain confidence and consistency offensively.

Merrimack’s offense, on the other hand, is actually solid. They’re two notches ahead of the Cats in goals per game, led by Katelyn Rae’s 17 points and Mikyla Grant-Mentis’s 11 assists. On top of that, they have a top-10  power play in the country, which could provide an interesting matchup after the Cats’ success on the PK against Yale.

Game is Tuesday at 7, and sadly the Warriors are one of *those* teams that makes you pay for streams. (Makes me appreciate CatamounTV more.)

Go Cats.

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