ERIE, Pa. — In the Mercyhurst locker room you can’t help but see the sign above the door exiting the rink that says, “I got better today.” The Lakers have made that their goal since the first day they arrived on campus.
Mercyhurst (25-6-2, 10-0-1 CHA) took that goal to a new level today by clobbering conference foe Wayne State (13-15-3, 6-5-0) from start to finish in a 5-0 win at the Mercyhurst Ice Center.
The Lakers needed just over 10 minutes to score their first goal when Senior Sara McDonald, coming off a three week hiatus from a knee injury, scored on a pass across the crease by Chrissy Yule. McDonald was left alone along the crease and poked the puck into an empty net.
McDonald was happy to get back on the ice and contribute.
“It was hard to sit out those four games. I had so much energy and passion to play again,” she said.
The second period was reminiscent of the Lakers’ early-season play when hard work often didn’t pay off. Mercyhurst outshot Wayne State 14-3 for the period but didn’t manage to get one past Warrior goalie Valery Turcotte until the period’s final 23 seconds. On the critical second Laker goal, Mercyhurst leading scorer Teresa Marchese skated in on Turcotte from the blue line and just managed to push the puck past the goaltender as she tried to play it rather than cover up.
Wayne State coach Jim Fetter thought the second goal was the difference since his team never regained any momentum the rest of the way.
Fetter said, “The second goalit was just a backbreaker. I think our goalie should have had it but she tried to poke it away and it went right through her legs. It put our girls down, and I don’t think we have a whole lot of confidence when we play Mercyhurst. We haven’t had a lot of success against them and that goal put us on our heels.”
The Lakers took advantage of the momentum and scored three goals in the third period. Marchese scored at 2:33 when she and sophomore Sarah Kurth broke in on a 2-on-1. The Warrior defender bit on a deke by Marchese and was left alone and slapped one top shelf over Turcotte’s left shoulder.
Sophomore Julia Colizza scored her seventh goal of the season when she scored an unassisted goal at 8:48 of the period. Senior Lindsay Dellow finished off the scoring at 9:04 with help from junior Samantha Shirley. The Lakers outshot the Warriors in the third period 19-2 and 40-11 in the game.
Laker goalie Laura Hosier, who has been splitting time with Patty Kazmaier finalist Desi Clark throughout the season, earned the shutout in net. The tandem has been unbeatable as of late. Hosier has enjoyed playing with Clark and the experience has been positive.
“Desi is great. I have had a lot of goaltending partners and it has mostly been just competitive and not so much friends. Desi is nothing like that. She has been very supportive. We really work well together and it has been great,” Hosier said.
Fetter was disappointed with his team’s play and hopes to see a better effort in the future.
Fetter said, “I think we packed it in in the third period. I don’t think we played with any heart or emotion. I told them they better show up and compete. We are going into the playoffs next week and we need a better performance that that.”
Wayne State captain Kelly Zamora is going to do her best not to disappoint her coach. She plans on refocusing her teammates for tomorrow’s rematch.
“I am going to make sure everyone gets positive,” Zamora said. “Everyone is pretty down right now but we have to get confident. We will be ready and up for tomorrow.”
Mercyhurst coach Mike Sisti thinks his team’s on the right track. He hopes to maintain that focus as reaching the NCAA’s is a very real possibility.
Sisti said, “The magic of coaching is pushing the right buttons. Having a great staff and great players certainly helps, but the bottom line for us is that we never get distracted from our No. 1 goal, get better every day. Wins are nice but our prime goal as coaches is to make sure the team gets better every day and our staff has done that.”
Mercyhurst got better today and Wayne State hopes to get better by tomorrow as the rematch is set for 2:05.