Lakers vanquish Knights

Mercyhurst College sophomore Jess Jones had one goal and four assists against Clarkson University last weekend as the Lakers manMercyhurst College sophomore Jess Jones had one goal and four assists against Clarkson University last weekend as the Lakers man
The weekend was billed as the biggest series in women’s college hockey this year.Top-ranked Mercyhurst College squared off against fourth-ranked Clarkson University.

When it was over, Mercyhurst remained No. 1.

The Lakers would get the best of the Knights, defeating Clarkson in the first game and tying the second game.

Despite the success, this series did have a bittersweet taste for the top-ranked Lakers.

“I think overall we did a lot of things well this weekend, but we unfortunately made some mistakes that allowed them to keep coming back and stay in the game,” junior captain Vicki Bendus said.

The Lakers were swept by the Knights last year and so were grateful to escape the weekend with a win and a tie. However, Bendus thinks it is hard to use this game as a benchmark in comparison to last year.

“It’s hard to compare this year to last year because we’re a completely different team this year and so are they. I think Clarkson has improved from last year and are having a good season, but coming into the weekend we were focused on getting two wins and we ended up just short of that,” Bendus said.

Friday’s game was a great beginning, as the Lakers won by a 6-3 final score. It was the first time the Lakers have beaten the Knights since the 2006-07 season. Bendus and sophomore forward Bailey Bram both tallied four points this game with one and two goals respectively.

Bram’s first goal of the game gave the Lakers their first lead, 2-1, at 16:48 after the first tally by junior Ashley Cockell. Bendus’s only goal of the first game came at just 19:42 in the second period to put the Lakers up 3-2.

Junior Jesse Scanzano put the Lakers up 4-2 with a sneaky shot. Bram shortly followed this for her second goal of the night. This made the game 5-2 and forced a Clarkson timeout.

The final goal of the game came from sophomore Jess Jones while the Lakers were short-handed and put a Knights victory out of reach. This game featured Bram’s 17th and 18th goals of the season and Bendus’s 15th.

While the next game ended in a tie, that didn’t make it any less interesting or exciting.

Bendus scored the first and last goals of the second match-up, the last being the tying goal that prevented Clarkson from winning.

Bendus’s first goal of the game came with a pass from sophomore forward Jess Jones at just 4:45 in while the Lakers were on the power play. Bram’s scoring prowess was also on display in this contest. She scored her 19th goal of the season on the power play to put the Lakers ahead 2-1. This was followed by goals from junior Kylie Rossler and sophomore Pamela Zgoda. It was Zgoda’s first college goal.

The third period started with a score of 4-2 with the Lakers in the lead, but three unanswered goals from Clarkson put the game in jeopardy. Bendus took control of the puck during 4-on-4 hockey. She took the turnover and bolted into the Clarkson zone for a top shelf goal that forced overtime play and finally the tie. It was her 17th goal of the season.

The Lakers are now at 17-1-3 for the season overall and 13-1-2 against those not in their conference.

They return to conference play in College Hockey America next weekend during a two-game series at Syracuse. The games are Friday, Jan. 22, at 7 p.m. and Saturday, Jan. 23, at 2 p.m. Friday’s game will be broadcast live on as their game of the week.