MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. – The Merrimack College women's ice hockey team upset the No. 3 Minnesota, 4-3, on Friday night from Ridder Arena in the first matchup between the two programs. Sophomore goaltender Léa-Kristine Demers stopped a career-high 54 shots, including 22 in the second period.
Demers made seven saves in the first nine minutes of the first period to deny the Gophers. However, the Gophers took a 1-0 lead at the 12:11 mark on a goal by Kippin Keller.
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Sophomore Mikyla Grant-Mentis scored her first goal of the season to knot the game at one apiece at 14:31.
Minnesota took advantage of a power play, with a goal at 19:14. The Gophers made it 3-1 16 seconds later, but the Warriors would answer with 13 seconds left in the period on a goal by junior Katelyn Rae.
The Warriors were challenged early in the second period, killing off a penalty in the first 2:13 of the period. Freshman Maddy Burton wasted little time after, scoring 1:28 later to even the game at three. Junior captain Jessica Bonfe (Woodbury, Minn.) gave the Warriors a 4-3 lead just over five minutes into the period for the eventual game-winner, forcing a goalie change for the Gophers.
Demers made 22 saves in the second to hold onto the one-goal lead.
Merrimack had to kill off its second penalty of the game at 2:45 of the third and final frame. The Gophers fired 18 shots in the period to Merrimack's four, but Demers stood tall in net along with the defense to bring home the win.
The Warriors return to Ridder Arena on Sunday for the second game of the series against the Gophers. Puck drop is set for 3 p.m.