Women's hockey claims CHA Title, gets NCAA bid

The Mercyhurst Women’s Hockey team claimed the 2013 College Hockey America (CHA) Championship in a 4-1 win over Syracuse. The Lakers advanced to the finals after defeating Robert Morris, 2-1, in the semi-final match-up.

Scoreless after the first period, despite the Lakers outshooting the Orange, 10-4, the second period proved to be the same. The Lakers finished the second period down 0-1 after a Syracuse power-play goal.

Syracuse had all the momentum heading into the third, when a Laker scoring explosion occurred. Mercyhurst’s four goals all came in the third period.

While Mercyhurst has claimed 14 CHA regular season titles, this CHA Tournament Championship was especially memorable after previously losing in the 2012 CHA Championship game to Robert Morris.

“There was a redemption factor for the returners,” said senior goaltender Stephanie Ciampa. “However, it was more about accomplishing a goal we set at the beginning of the year.”

The Lakers swept the CHA Tournament honors. Taking home the Tournament MVP was Ciampa, in addition to all-Tournament selections junior forward Christine Bestland, senior forward Lauren Jones and senior defensemen Stephanie DeSutter.

The lady Lakers earned the College Hockey America (CHA) Championship title on Saturday, Mar. 9.: Matt Durisko photoThe lady Lakers earned the College Hockey America (CHA) Championship title on Saturday, Mar. 9.: Matt Durisko photo“Receiving accolades at both the banquet and tournament allows us to have confidence and a desire to build on those heading into the NCAA Tournament,” Ciampa said.

With the CHA Tournament title, the Lakers received an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. They will face Cornell in the first round of play. The Lakers lost to Cornell earlier this season 0-4. The match-up is set for Saturday, March 16, at 1 p.m. at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y.

Ciampa believes the Lakers can defeat the Big Red by playing smart and together.

“We have to stay calm and make plays,” said Ciampa. “Emotions are high at this time of year, but we must channel that energy the right way and come together.”