ERIE, Pa. — Neither No. 8 Mercyhurst nor Clarkson knew what to expect out of each other in their first ever meeting tonight. Now Mercyhurst knows to expect another hard fought game out of the Golden Knights in their rematch tomorrow.
The Lakers (4-2-1) came away with a 2-1 victory primarily on the strength of their spectacular third period defense which held Clarkson (2-1-2) without a shot on goal.
Clarkson coach Rick Seeley knew how good Mercyhurst’s defense was before his team took the ice.
Seeley said, “We’re trying to emulate this program and do it with good hard committed work and play very good defense.”
Ironically, Clarkson’s only goal was on a rare defensive breakdown. Sophomore Andrea Maluta stole the puck from a Laker defender, took a shot and captain Lindsay Williams was there to bury the rebound top shelf at 17:14 of the second period.
Williams thought maybe her goal would inspire the team tomorrow to pick up a win.
“Knowing we kept the game to a one goal difference, I know that tomorrow we will have a lot more confidence,” she said. “We also know that Mercyhurst knows we are better than they thought we were, so it will be a good game.”
Mercyhurst started the scoring near the end of the first period when Stefanie Bourbeau scored her third goal in as many games. Bourbeau took the pass from senior center Teresa Marchese right off the face off and shot the puck through traffic. Clarkson goalie Kira McDonald didn’t see the puck until it was too late.
Mercyhurst controlled the play in the first period and held a 12-4 shots on goal advantage.
When super freshman Stephanie Jones scored what turned out to be the game winning goal midway through the 2nd period it looked like the game was going to be well in hand for the Lakers.
Jones said of her game-winning goal: “It was a nice pass from (Ashley) Pendelton out of our zone and gave me and T (Teresa Marchese) a nice 2-on-1 coming down. I gave it to T in front, she got a rebound and I crashed the net and put it in.”
The Lakers made it easy on the Zamboni driver to clean the ice after the game by controlling the puck in the Clarkson zone for nearly the full 20 minutes of the third period. Clarkson only crossed the red line three times. Mercyhurst coach Michael Sisti was proud of his team’s defense.
“I thought the girls played hard, and on a night when the goals were hard to come by, we found a way to win,” Sisti said. “Clearly down the stretch we did a real good job of finishing it off.”
Sisti doesn’t think the Lakers need to do much different tomorrow in the rematch.
“I thought we held the play and again, you hold a team to no shots in the third period, you’re doing a pretty good job, so I think we will stay with the same thing and maybe the goals will come easier,” he said.
Seeley too knows tomorrow’s game won’t be easy.
“I don’t think Mercyhurst played their best game so we expect to see a better team tomorrow,” he said.
Both coaches seemed to like the direction their teams are taking. Tomorrow’s rematch at the Mercyhurst Ice Center at 4:05 should prove to be another dandy.