March 7, 2014

Mercyhurst Downs Syracuse in Semi-Final Action

Mercyhurst 2, Syracuse 1

ERIE, Pa. – Senior Kaleigh Chippy of the eighth-ranked Mercyhurst University women's hockey team scored two goals to propel the Lakers 2-1 past Syracuse in the College Hockey America semifinals Friday afternoon.

The Lakers advance to the CHA Championship game for the 13th consecutive season on Saturday, March 8 at 3:00 p.m. at the Mercyhurst Ice Center.

Three-time Olympic gold medalist and Mercyhurst Alum Meghan Agosta-Marciano was on hand at the Mercyhurst Ice Center to drop the ceremonial puck drop at the first game of the tournament. Earlier in the day, Agosta-Marciano met with fans and signed autographs for the Mercyhurst and Erie community. She then kicked off the tournament by dropping the ceremonial puck drop.

In playoff fashion, the Lakers skated to a scoreless first period over Syracuse after collecting just six shots on net. Mercyhurst goaltender stopped just three shots on net in the opening period.

One minute into the second period, the Lakers were awarded a power-play opportunity. Junior Shelby Bram took the faceoff to begin two minutes with the Lakers one man advantage. Off the faceoff, senior Kaleigh Chippy skated through traffic in the faceoff circle and took a wrist shot at the hash marks. She beat Orange goaltender Jenesica Drinkwater to the near side corner of the net.

At the 16:16 mark of the middle period, the Orange took advantage of a power-play their own and tied the game at one. Syracuse's Allie LaCombe scored the tying goal after shooting an odd angled shot from the right side of Makela. Melissa Piacentini and Brittney Krebs both were awarded the assists.

Chippy gave Mercyhurst the lead on another power-play goal at the 9:43 mark of the final period. Bram rotated the puck to the point where sophomore J'nai Mahadeo was waiting at the point. Mahadeo then cycled the puck to Chippy at the left side of Drinkwater. Chippy used the screen of an Orange defenseman and lifted the puck just under the shoulder of the goaltender.

All told, Mercyhurst outshot Syracuse 28 to 17 throughout the thirty minutes of play. The Lakers went 2-for-4 on the power-play with the help of Chippy. Mercyhurst allowed just one Orange power-play out of their four chances. Senior Christie Cicero led the team with six shots on net, while Chippy contributed five.

Chippy's game-winner marked her team-leading six game-winning goals this season and tied sophomore Jenna Dingeldein with seven power-play goals on the season. Bram reached a milestone this season, by collecting her 25th assist of the season on Chippy's first goal of the contest.

Goaltender Amanda Makela allowed one goal of 17 shots faced to improve to 21-6-4 on the season. Drinkwater suffered the loss after allowing two goals on 28 shots on net.

The Lakers will face Rochester Institute of Technology for the College Hockey America Championship on Saturday, March 8 at 3:00 p.m. at the Mercyhurst Ice Center. Earlier in the season, went 3-1-0 in the four game regular season series but is 2-0-0 at the MIC.

Courtesy Mercyhurst Athletic Communications

ERIE, Pa.—The Syracuse ice hockey team's season came to a close in a hard-fought game with No. 8 Mercyhurst in the CHA semifinalson Friday afternoon at Mercyhurst Ice Center. The Lakers came away with a 2-1 victory to keep its perfect attendance in the CHA Championship game.

Allie LaCombe scored Syracuse's only goal to tie the game late in the second period while Kaleigh Chippy scored both of Mercyhurst's goals. This is the first time this season the Orange has lost a game that LaCombe, who scored 11 goals this year, has scored in.

All three goals were scored on the power play, with Syracuse going 1-of-4 and the Lakers going 2-of-4 on man-up chances.

"It was a back and forth, high tempo game," head coach Paul Flanagan said. "My kids have a lot to be proud of. We played tough against a tough team but I give them a ton of credit, they pulled it out. They converted on some power plays and that was the difference."

Jenesica Drinkwater had two 10-save periods for Syracuse in the second and third stanzas. In total she stopped 26 shots and was named the game's third star for her performance.

Neither team held much of an advantage throughout the first 20 minutes and each team was stifled offensively with Mercyhurst edging the Orange 6-3 in shots on net. Syracuse had a good look early in the contest when Akane Hosoyamada found positioning in front of the net but Amanda Makela made the save and play continued.

SU went 1-for-2 on special teams in the first period, killing their penalty but failing to convert while up a skater. While man-down, the Orange didn't allow a single shot Drinkwater's way despite the Lakers getting eight shots off. Two were blocked by Orange defenders and six went wide of the net.

A crosschecking call on Margot Scharfe gave Mercyhurst a man-advantage just 1:09 into the second stanza, which the Lakers converted on almost instantly. Kaleigh Chippy gathered the puck off the faceoff and shot it from the hash mark to give Mercyhurst a 1-0 lead with18:46 remaining.

Melissa Piacentini nearly tied the game mid-way through the period when she caught a puck out of the air on a routine play by Makela, who was trying to clear the puck out of her zone. Piacentini would have beat the goalie back to the net but a Mercyhurst defender hustled back to prevent the score.

Piacentini would not leave the period empty handed, however, as she ultimately assisted on the game-tying goal when she passed the puck to Allie LaCombe, who shoveled it toward the net from the bottom of the circle and managed to net a top-shelf goal on Makela's far side while on the power play.

Jessica Sibley had a chance to gain Syracuse's first lead of the game early in the third period when she fired a laser from just inside the blue line that missed the crossbar by inches. The Lakers had their turn at a near-goal when Jaclyn Arbour batted one in that bounced off the glass but she was called for a high stick and the score remained at 1-1.

Mercyhurst regained its lead with 10:17 left in the game. J'Nai Mahadeo's attempt from the blue line was blocked by Hosoyamada but Chippy collected it and shot it from the top of the circle, which slipped past Drinkwater and the left post before she was able to make the save.

Drinkwater came out of the net for the final 38 seconds to give the Orange an extra skater but it wasn't enough and the Lakers came away with the victory.

Mercyhurst outshot Syracuse 28-17 and edged SU in faceoffs, 25-24 but won 21-16 over the final two periods to keep the puck off Orange sticks.

Courtesy Syracuse Athletic Communications