March 5, 2011

Agosta Tops 300 Points as Lakers Claim CHA Title Over Syracuse, 5-4

Story Courtesy of Mercyhurst Sports Information

SYRACUSE, N.Y. - Senior captain Meghan Agosta scored three goals to top 300 points for her career, as the No. 3 / 4 Mercyhurst College women's hockey team rallied to defeat Syracuse 5-4 and capture its ninth straight College Hockey America title Saturday afternoon at the Tennity Ice Pavilion.

Agosta, who was named the tournament's most valuable player for scoring three goals and dishing out two assists, became the first player in the NCAA-era to top the 300-point mark as she rallied the Lakers from two goals down in a rematch of last year's CHA title game.

Despite getting outshot 13-3 in the first period, Syracuse made the most of its shots by scoring two goals on its first two attempts on the power play. Stefanie Marty gave the designated visiting team an early 1-0 lead when her shot from the blueline sailed through traffic and into the back of the net at 4:00. Margot Scharfe then expanded the score to 2-0, taking a cross-crease feed from Holly Carrie-Mattimoe and knocking it home at 14:39.

Mercyhurst came back in a hurry in the second period thanks to back-to-back goals by Agosta. On the power play, Agosta made it a one-goal deficit with her first of the game, her 299th career point, when she picked off a pass in front of the net and sniped it past goaltender Kallie Billadeau with 9:55 to play. She then made history with her 300th career point after senior assistant captain Jesse Scanzano's face-off win was kicked out to her for a quick one-timer less than three minutes later at 12:10.

Isabel Menard restored the lead for Syracuse at 14:05, but a perfectly set up deflection by senior assistant captain Vicki Bendus on the doorstep knotted the score at three with 30 seconds to play in the second.

Both teams skated up and down the ice in the third, with Mercyhurst streching its lead to two on goals 21 seconds part nearing the midway point. Junior Bailey Bram gave the top-seeded Lakers their first lead of the game, at 4-3, on an unassisted play in front of the net at 8:55, while Agosta completed her hat trick with the eventual game-winner at 9:16, sneaking a shot from the left circle to the far post.

SU's Julie Rising made it a one-goal deficit at 11:21 when she netted the team's fourth extra-man goal at 11:21.

Syracuse looked to gain the equalizer in the final minutes but the Mercyhurst defense coupled with a late holding call on the Orange lifted the Lakers to their 10th overall conference title dating back to their days in the Great Lakes Women's Hockey Association.

For the game, Mercyhurst outshot Syracuse 46-19 and got 15 saves from junior Hillary Pattenden, who improved to 27-5-0. The Lakers also converted 2-for-6 on the power play while SU finished 4-for-8 with the man-advantage.

The Lakers (29-5-0) will now await word from the NCAA selection committee to see if they are selected for the 2011 NCAA Women's Hockey Championship Tournament. The eight-team field will be released Sunday, Mar. 6, at 6:30 p.m. during a live webcast on ncaasports.com.