The Women’s ice hockey team lost to the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) Tigers on Friday 4-1 in the first round of the College Hockey America (CHA) final four.
The Lakers entered the tournament earning the number 1 seed as the CHA regular season champions with an overall record of 23-8-3. The Tigers, with a regular season record of 14-18-5, entered the tournament as the number 6 seed as they beat the number 3 seed Robert Morris entering them into the CHA final four held at the Mercyhurst Ice Center.
“It’s always nice to have the home ice advantage going into a big tournament,” said junior Emily Janiga. “Our fans are some of the most loyal fans in the conference, which gives us the energy to play at our best.”
In the first period, RIT senior Marissa Maugeri capitalized on a 4-on-4 opportunity to put the Tigers on top of the Lakers, 1-0. Maugeri’s goal would be the only one of the period.
Shots in the first period ended with the Lakers on top, 12-5.
Mercyhurst defenseman Jillian Skinner tied the game up at 1-1 eight minutes into the second period. She was assisted by senior Shelby Bram and freshman Sarah Robello. Just before the one minute mark in the second period, RIT sophomore Mackenzie Stone scored, giving the Tigers a 2-1 advantage going into the third period.
RIT sophomore Cassie Clayton scored five minutes into the third, making the lead 3-1.
Mercyhurst pulled goaltender Amanda Makela, leaving the Lakers with an empty net. The Tigers’ Caitlin Wallace capitalized on the opportunity with less than one minute left in regulation. The Tigers won 4-1.
The Lakers held the shot advantage 27-18. However, they failed to score on five power play opportunities.
With the CHA tournament win, the Tigers enter the NCAA tournament.
Despite losing in the first round of the CHA tournament, the Lakers still earned conference accolades.
Along with her previous awards this season, Janiga was named to the All-CHA first team. She was the CHA scoring champion with 31 points on the season.
“It’s tough to end such a great season earlier than we had expected,” said Janiga. “It was an honor to be able to play with this group of girls. They have given me an experience that will last a lifetime.”