Last weekend, Feb. 15 and 16, the Mercyhurst Lakers womens hockey team traveled to Penn State to face off against the Nittany Lions for another weekend of hockey.
The Lakers tied with Penn State on both the Friday and Saturday games, for a 1-1 and 2-2 final score respectively.
The first evening, the teams drew at 1, but the Lakers (12-12-5, 9-5-2) held a second-period lead.
The game opened with a scoreless first period, but the Lakers gained a second-period lead after Mercyhurst’s Kennedy Blair (2-8-4, 3.22) found Maggie Knott for her fourth of the season. The Lakers’ K.K. Thiessen then blocked a shot from the Lions’ Shea Nelson with a minute remaining in the frame.The Lions evened the scored a few minutes later, with a goal from Katie McMillan assisted by Nelson and Loli Fidler.
In overtime, Penn State’s Nelson navigated through the Mercyhurst secondary, but couldn’t beat Blair on the shot. The lack of further scoring ended the contest in a 1-1 draw.
The Feb. 16 game followed in a similar fashion, with a split decision for the series finale.
Starting off strong, the Lakers had a goal 1:17 into the period by Michele Robillard, assisted by Sarah Hine and Summer-Rae Dobson. The visiting Lakers got off to a quick start, as Hine cut in front of Penn State’s Jenna Brenneman and sent a pass behind the net to Mercyhurst’s Michele Robillard at the right side for her second of the season, beating Brenneman short-side and stuffing the puck just inside the right post.
The Lakers held the advantage for the rest of the first period, fending off the Lions and ending the period 1-0. The Lions bounced back during the second period, with a power play goal from Katie Rankin, assisted by teammates Kelsey Crow and Jessica Adolfsson. The Lakers then killed off four straight penalties — starting with an interference call on Morgan Stacey at 11:47, a 4-on-4 for a hook on Hine at 14:30, and an interference on Thiessen 31 seconds into the second.
A cross-check on Laker Rachel Marmen followed that eight minutes later — but Stacey was sent back to the box at 11:04 for a hook, and after Adolfsson saw her initial shot wide of net, Rankin deflected her second blue-line shot for a score. The Lakers countered with their own power play soon afterwards.
This allowed the Lakers’ Dobson to immediately capitalize, despite Mercyhurst’s Molly Blasen in the box for an incidental roughing as well. Dobsen then found her seventh of the season on the ensuing five on three from team-leading scorer Emma Nuutinen and Samantha Isbel against Cam Leonard just 21 seconds later.
With 39 seconds left in the game, the Lions were able to once again tie the game 2-2 with an unassisted goal by Natalie Heising. Said unassisted goal would be the final moment that the puck would reach the back of the net, as both teams failed to break the stalemate post-regulation. The score was one point higher on both sides than the night before though, ending at 2-2.
The Lakers now take the conference race into a massive showdown at the Island Sports Center in Moon Township this Friday. Trailing the Robert Morris Colonials by just three points, the Lakers have a chance to nab the top seed in the College Hockey America tournament this coming weekend.
“I think our forwards have to get going here to come together and score more goals for us,” said Laker goalie Blair. “Just work hard, work as a team and not as individuals this weekend.”
Staff writer Marco Cicchino contributed to this report.