Women’s hockey picks up 350th program win over Syracuse

Head Coach Michael Sisti has 350 reasons to smile after the Lakers defeated College Hockey America (CHA) opponent Syracuse 4-1.

Sisti has been the only coach in program history dating back to 1999. Mercyhurst is now the third fastest program to reach 350 wins behind Minnesota and New Hampshire.

“Coach Sisti has always been dedicated to furthering the success of the program he built,” said senior Stephanie Ciampa. “He puts so much pride and effort in daily, he deserves a lot of credit for the victories.”

Freshman Emily Janiga recorded her first career hat trick in the win. The freshman has 27 points, 14 goals and 13 assists on the season. Juniors Christine Bestland and Christie Cicero marked assists on Janiga’s hat trick.

Sophomore Shelby Bram also added a goal 2:29 into the third period. The win moves the Lakers to 16-3-1 overall and 8-2 in the CHA.

Sophomore Amanda Makela recorded the win in net with 29 saves. The win over the Orange was Makela’s second straight win in net, moving her to 7-2-1 overall.

Mercyhurst was most recently ranked seventh in USCHO.com poll.

“There are a lot of teams fighting for playoff spots, so we can’t take any game for granted” said Ciampa. “We need to be consistent and execute our systems well for the rest of the season and just focus on one win at a time.”

Junior captain Christine Bestland agrees.

“We need to quickly come together and be fully prepared everyday both on and off the ice, we need to execute what our coaches give us, and never give up,” Bestland said.

Bestland, coming off of a stint with Team Canada in Russia, credits working hard as a team and communication as keys to the team’s success thus far.

Bestland was added to Canada’s National Women’s Under-22/Developmental Team in early November. Bestland is a native of Brunkild, Manitoba.
Christine Bestland races past Clarkson University defenders on October 20 at the Mercyhurst Ice Center.: Brian Vail photoChristine Bestland races past Clarkson University defenders on October 20 at the Mercyhurst Ice Center.: Brian Vail photo
Six teams competed for the Meco Cup over the holidays including Germany, Russia, Sweden, Finland, Switzerland and Canada. Canada competed in four games from January 2 to January 6. Bestland returned to the Mercyhurst Ice Center (MIC) with gold.

“[Bestland] representing Canada is not only a great reflection on our program and her, but it also reaffirms Mercyhurst’s ability to contend against other world hockey powers,” said Sisti.

“Playing overseas was a great experience,” said Bestland. “To have a chance to play a sport you love while representing your country is the opportunity of a lifetime and I am very honored to be a part of it.”

The Lakers return to action January 18 and 19 in the MIC at 7 p.m. and 2 p.m., respectively, against Boston College.