Women's hockey beats PSU, earns playoff berth

In their final regular season home game, the women’s ice hockey team honored their four seniors on Senior Night by sweeping a two-game series against Penn State University main campus.

After being swept by the Nittany Lions in early December, the Lakers evened the season series by putting up two shutout performances on Friday and Saturday, earning their fourth straight victory. Junior goalie Julia DiTondo was awarded the shutout in Friday’s match-up as well as senior Amanda Makela for her performance in net on Saturday.

Early in the first period Friday, junior Emily Janiga blocked a shot while on a penalty kill, which was redirected in front of junior Jenna Dingeldein. Dingeldein was sent on a breakaway and capitalized on the early opportunity, putting the Lakers up one and earning her, her 16th goal of the season.

“I was in the right place at the right time,” said Janiga. “After Jenna got the puck, I knew she would hit the back of the net.”

The Lakers played a strong defensive game, outshooting Penn State nine to five in the first period and 15 to four in the second. However, Mercyhurst did not tally a goal in the second because of a stout performance by PSU goaltender Celine Whitlinger.

Late in the third period, Mercyhurst senior Shelby Bram found the back of the net on the power play to increase the lead to 2-0. With an assist from both junior J’nai Mahadeo and Janiga, Bram put the puck between the legs of Whitlinger, sealing the victory for Mercyhurst. The Lakers finished the game outshooting Penn State 36 to 11.

On Saturday, Mercyhurst honored their four seniors, Shelby Bram, Amanda Makela, Molly Byrne and Caroline Luczak, prior to the opening faceoff.

The Lakers were scoreless in the first period. In the middle of the second period, Bram found the back of the net while on the power play. Dingeldein and freshman Sarah Robello earned the helpers on Bram’s sixth goal of the season.

Later in the second, Janiga converted another power play goal with the help from Bram and Byrne to give the Lakers a 2-0 lead heading into the third period.

Janiga found the net once again in the third. Dingeldein and sophomore Jillian Skinner earned the assists on Janinga’s goal. However, Dingeldein and Mercyhurst were not done yet.

Dingeldein added a fourth Laker goal into an empty net while shorthanded. Bram was credited with the assist.

“It’s a huge honor to be able to give our seniors a win for their last home game of the regular season,” said Janiga, who recorded two goals and two assists over the weekend. “They’re a huge part of our team and they have accomplished so much as a Laker, so it was huge to be able to come together as a team and battle hard for two wins.”

Mercyhurst clinched the College Hockey Association (CHA) regular season title and will advance to the semifinals. The team that wins the semifinal Friday and the final Saturday will receive an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.