Courtesy Vermont Sports Information
BURLINGTON — Kristina Shanahan tallied a goal and an assist and Blanka Škodová had 30 stops to lead Vermont (9-9-5, 6-7-3 HEAW) 4-2 over Merrimack (4-17-2, 1-13-2 HEAW) on Saturday at Gutterson Fieldhouse.
“We got an outstanding goaltending performance from Blanka,” said head coach Jim Plumer, “and it was two important points for us tonight. We are going to need to play even better going forward and to cut down on the penalties.”
HOW IT HAPPENED
Shanahan struck early for the Catamounts with her eighth goal of the season. The assistant captain walked out from behind the goal line and lifted a backhand shot over the glove of Léa-Kristine Demers (29 saves). Ali O’Leary and Val Caldwell were credited with assists on the goal that came 2:42 into the contest.
Theresa Schafzahl doubled the lead for Vermont before the midway point of the first period. Shanahan’s breakout pass sent the sophomore on a rush, which resulted in a wrist shot that rifled past Demers. O’Leary had her second assist of the game.
Škodová made 11 stops in the first period, which included three key saves while the Cats were shorthanded.
Merrimack cut the lead to one in the second period on a power-play goal by Katie Bukolska. Megan Fergusson and Chloe Cook assisted on the marker with 6:35 left in the frame.
The Warriors’ Keisha DiCaire was charged with a cross-checking major and a game misconduct in the final minutes of the second period. The Catamounts used the extra ice at 4-on-4 to bring the lead back up to two. Corinne McCool netted her ninth goal of the season on assists from Ève-Audrey Picard and Sara Levesque.
Sini Karjalainen netted her fourth of the season on the power play at 1:29 of the third period to extend Vermont’s lead. Karjalainen received a pass at the top of the zone from Caldwell and wired a shot to beat Demers. Maude Poulin-Labelle had the secondary assist.
Mikyla Grant-Mentis deposited a shorthanded goal 1:31 later for the final goal of the evening.
Shanahan extended her goal streak to three consecutive games. The sophomore has five goals in her last six games.
Škodová’s 30 saves was a season-high. Her previous best mark was 27 stops against Penn State (Nov. 29).
With the victory, the Cats Win, Community Wins campaign and Vermont Mutual Insurance Group will donate $100 to Make-A-Wish Vermont, bringing the 2020 total to six wins totaling $600. A special thank you to Vermont Mutual Insurance for their support. Vermont Mutual Insurance, protecting Vermonters since 1828.
Vermont visits Boston College (11-8-2, 10-6-1 HEAW) for a two-game series beginning on Friday (Jan. 17). Puck drop against the Eagles is slated for 6 p.m. at Conte Forum.