The Mercyhurst University men’s hockey team ended its season Friday evening during, double overtime game against Canisius, with a score of 5-4, in the Atlantic Hockey Association semifinals at the Blue Cross Arena in Rochester, N. Y.
“I thought the game against Canisius went very well. Sure we lost in double overtime, but that’s hockey. We played well as a team, competed hard; it just wasn’t in the cards for us that night,” said senior Daniel O’Donoghue.
The Lakers ended their season with a 21-13-7 overall record. The game featured 109 total shots on goal, with the Lakers outshooting the Golden Griffins by a 62-47 margin.
“I think our mindset going into the weekend against Holy Cross was where it needed to be. We prepared well physically and mentally and were well rested due to our first round buy. I believe that week off and playing on home ice helped us greatly,” said O’Donoghue.
Redshirt freshman Alec Shields scored a pair of goals and O’Donoghue finished his Laker career with a goal and an assist in the loss. It was O’Donoghue who sent the game to overtime when he beat Canisius’s goaltender Capobianco with 8:12 left in regulation.
“I thought our team had an amazing season. We won our first regular season title in school history. I think that alone speaks for itself. We had a great team but unfortunately just came up a bit short in the end,” said O’Donoghue.
Leading the season to the end was Matthew Zay with 131 shots, 43 point, 17 goals and 26 assists. Followed by O’Donoghue with 89 shots, 46 points, 15 goals and 28 assist, and junior Ryan Misiak with 94 shots, 38 points, 13 goals and 25 assists.
Along with junior lead goaltender Jimmy Sargeant who had 1,013 saves for the Lakers and received the AHA’s Player of the Year and earned the Goaltender of the Year honors. It marked the first time since the league’s inception in 2003-04 that a Mercyhurst player garnered the Player of the Year award.
“We had a lot of guys step up for us this year on and off the ice. I would say Jimmy Sarjeant was our catalyst for success this year. He was our conference MVP, goalie of the year, Mike Richter award nominee, and Hobey Baker nominee. He had an amazing year for us this year and was a major reason why we were so successful,” said O’Donoghue.
Also, senior defenseman Nick Jones was a multiple-award winner, claiming the league’s Best Defenseman Award and earning a share of the league’s Sportsman of the Year honors. O’Donoghue was also named the AHA’s Top Defensive Forward of the Year.
“Being that my career at Mercyhurst is now finished and I’m moving on in my hockey career, I will take all the friendships and memories with me the rest of my life. This has been the best team I’ve ever been a part of and it’s not just because we won a regular season title. It’s the guys in that lockerroom that made this a special year,” O’Donoghue said.
Mercyhurst was presented with the AHA’s Regular Season trophy for the first time since the inception of the league. It was the Lakers’ first regular season crown since the 2002-03 season as a member of the MAAC Hockey League.