Although it is still the early stages of the season, Mercyhurst University’s women’s hockey has already made huge progress towards a successful year.
After loosing to No. 5 Clarkson University’s Golden Knights on Friday, Oct. 19, 3-0, the Lakers turned around and responded with an explosive performance on Saturday, Oct. 20, beating the Golden Knights 4-3. The split weekend resulted in the Lakers being ranked fifth in the nation, up two spots from last week, with a record of 6-1-1.
Junior Christine Bestland serves two roles on the ice; forward and assistant captain. Bestland’s dual responsibilities have given her a unique vantage point on the team’s season thus far.
“A big aspect of our team that is proving successful is that we are the hardest working team Mercyhurst has ever had,” said Bestland. “We have been working hard in practice and it is carrying over into our games.”
The Lakers have a relatively young team this season, with nine freshman recruits. The transition into Mercyhurst’s program can be a difficult task for new teammates.
“With such a young team this year, we were in need of as many upperclassman to step up right away and take the new comers under their wing,” said Bestland “We needed everyone to step up and take on a leadership role, a responsibility which we have filled and is allowing us to be as successful as we have been.”
Senior Goaltender Stephanie Ciampa believes this leadership has been vital to the strong start to the Laker’s season.
“Hard work and good leadership have brought us together from the start. We have a lot of new people on the team, and are fortunate that they came excited and ready to play, but we need to keep building on what we have done so far,” said Ciampa.
Ciampa plays a major role on the ice for the Lakers. As a goaltender, she is the last remaining defense against the opponent, and she does it well. In the game on Saturday, Ciampa stopped 24 shots on net in the victory over the Golden Knights.
Although ranked an impressive number two in the nation, Ciampa is modest about her performance.
“Personal stats like that are misleading in a team game, because really it is a reflection of the hard working team in front of me,” said Ciampa. “I just focus on doing my job the best that I can, the same way everyone else is expected to do their job to help us be successful as a team, because that’s what really matters.”
The Laker’s last set of home games will take place this Friday at 6 p.m. and Saturday at 1 p.m. at the Mercyhurst Ice Center. The Lakers will face-off against tenth-ranked Minnesota State.