Men’s hockey earns home ice


Casey Bleuel

It was a battle on the ice as both teams were playing to host the quarterfinals game. RIT played a rough game, but Mercyhurst was victorious with a 3-2 win. On Friday, March 11-13, Mercyhurst and RIT will meet again for another intense match-up.

Haleigh Giebel, Staff writer

The Mercyhurst men’s hockey team swept the weekend home series against RIT to pick up four huge conference points and lock in home ice advantage for the AHA Quarterfinals.

Coming into the weekend, the Lakers were sitting in fifth place with 30 points, while the Tigers were sitting in fourth place with 33 points.

The top four teams get a bye and host the Quarterfinals during playoffs.

“We need all four points this weekend and we have our work cut out for us,” said Head Coach Rick Gotkin. “I am confident that if we play as well as we can and get a little puck luck, you never know what will happen.”

During Friday night’s game, RIT struck first to give them an early 1-0 lead.

At 11:54, sophomore Jonathan Charbonneau tied the game at one with a goal from freshman Lester Lancaster and Taylor Best.

During the second period RIT scored the go-ahead goal just 53 seconds in.

The Lakers then scored two goals to take their first lead of the game.

The first of the two goals came from Best. Freshman Matthew Whittaker and sophomore Michael Verboom grabbed the assists on the tying goal.

Whittaker scored the go-ahead goal when he found the back of the net at 11:51 in the second period. Sophomore Patrick Piacentini and freshman Jeremy Wu picked up the assists on Whittaker’s goal.

During the third period, RIT tied the game back up at three, but it was not enough.

The Lakers received a five on three power play chance and never looked back. Lancaster fired the puck from the top of the face-off circle to find the back of the net and gave the Lakers their 4-3 win. Whittaker and redshirt sophomore Jack Riley had the assists on the game-winning goal.

“Going in there on Friday and beating a really good RIT team really gave us confidence coming into Saturday’s game,” Gotkin said.

During Saturday night’s game the Lakers took a 2-0 lead into the second period.

They got a power play chance early on in the first period and Lancaster ripped it home to start off the scoring. Best and freshman Derek Barach picked up the assists on the power play goal.

Sophomore Jonathan Charbonneau found the back of the net at 16:55 and gave the Lakers their 2-0 lead.

RIT scored the only goal of the second period to bring them within one.

During the third period Verboom passed the puck to Whittaker in front of the net. He flipped it above RIT’s goaltender to put the Lakers back up by two. Best recorded the other assist on the goal.

RIT scored once more, but the Lakers held on and finished the sweep to secure home ice for the AHA Quarterfinals.

“It will be nice to be here in Erie, but we know it’s not going to be an easy weekend,” Gotkin said.

For the AHA Quarterfinals, the Lakers will host RIT at the MIC on Friday, March 11, Saturday, March 12, and if needed Sunday, March 13. All games will start at 7:05 p.m.