ERIE, Pa. — For the No. 8 Mercyhurst Lakers to avenge yesterday’s 2-1 loss to Bemidji State, they had to find a way to beat Beaver goalie Jill Luebke. She was outstanding in goal yesterday and played equally as well today, stopping several point blank shots and her fair share of breakaways. The Lakers couldn’t dent the scoreboard in the first period and trailed 1-0 on the second goal in as many days by Bemidji’s top sniper Kelly Hart. Mercyhurst coach Mike Sisti felt prior to the game the Lakers would need 65 to 67 shots to win the way they were playing yesterday.
“We will have to go the net with a little more aggression and see if our kids can find the rebounds,” Sisti said.
The Lakers (1-1) didn’t disappoint their coach by scoring their first two goals off of rebounds, and that made all the difference in the 4-2 come-from-behind victory over the Beavers (1-1).
With the score tied 2-2 midway through the third period, Teresa Marchese scored the game winner on a feed across the crease from freshman Kristen Erickson that she one-timed for her first goal of the year. Sara McDonald added an empty netter with only 12 seconds remaining to seal the victory
One of the difference-makers in the Mercyhurst comeback was defenseman Ashley Pendleton, who Sisti moved to the forward position to add some muscle up front. Pendleton responded with two assists, including one on the crucial first goal. BSU coach Bruce Olson had expected Mercyhurst to be a little more aggressive around the net in the rematch.
Olson said, “I thought [the Lakers] missed a lot of opportunities right in close yesterday. They just didn’t pick up a lot of loose pucks laying right by them.”
Both coaches agreed Bemidji played better today but had a hard time finding the back of the net. Bemidji outshot the Lakers 30-24 overall but 14 of those shots came in the third period. The Beavers continued to crash the net in hopes of a rebound off of Mercyhurst goaltender Desi Clark, but Clark didn’t allow many second opportunities.
Olson was looking forward to seeing how his players would respond after upsetting the Lakers. Last year they couldn’t put a winning streak together.
“After stealing a game here yesterday, that was a feather in our cap,” Olson said. “Today will be real interesting to see how many of our girls will come back and compete and play better than they did yesterday.”
Sisti knew his Lakers would be in for another battle after yesterday’s upset defeat, but he knew his team was up for the challenge.
“They’re excited, they can’t wait to play,” Sisti said prior to the game. “Yesterday we outshot our (Bemidji) opponent 47-14. We had 90 attempts on goal and we did a lot of things well for the first game of the season. The girls are just fortunate to have another chance at Bemidji and I’m sure they can’t wait to play.”
That eagerness ultimately translated into the first Laker victory of the season.
Next week Mercyhurst plays new CHA conference foe Quinnipiac for a weekend series at home. Quinnipiac went 0-2 last year against the Lakers, but then again, so did Bemidji State.