ERIE, Penn. — The top-seeded Mercyhurst Lakers defeated eight-seed Boston University 4-1 in front of a sold-out Mercyhurst Ice Center Saturday afternoon, punching their ticket to a second straight Frozen Four in the process.
Sophomore Bailey Bram scored twice to pace the Lakers (30-2-3), who seek to erase memories of last year’s title-game loss to Wisconsin. Junior forward Vicki Bendus added a goal and an assist to her team-leading scoring total, and co-scoring-leader Jesse Scanzano assisted on the game-opening and game-winning goals. Second-year netminder Hillary Pattenden made 17 saves in the low-stress win.
Sophomore defender Tara Watchorn scored the lone goal for the Terriers (17-9-12) in the game’s 54th minute, and senior goalie Melissa Haber stopped 29 of 33 in the final appearance of her collegiate career.
A raucous 1,300 partisan patrons saw their Lakers jump out to a momentum-securing lead with two power-play goals late in the first period. Junior defenseman Cassea Schols’ fifth of the year opened the scoring, and then Bram added her 28th of the season only 130 seconds later. The Lakers out-shot the Terriers 10-2 in the first frame, and scored on two of their three advantages while holding BU to 0-2 on their own power plays.
Each team took one penalty in the second period, but despite a dozen Mercyhurst shots and seven by the Terriers, the scoreboard stuck at 2-0 Lakers.
Bendus briefly matched Bram’s 28-goal total with a lamp-lighter 2:36 into the third period, with Watchorn finally answering back with a power-play goal of her own at 13:38 of the frame. Bram snuffed the Terriers’ flicker of hope a mere 10 seconds later though, scoring unassisted to attain the game’s final score.
The Lakers will meet the Cornell Big Red – 6-2 winners over Harvard on Friday night – in Minneapolis next Friday, with each team seeking its first-ever national crown. Boston University’s season ends after a Cinderella run in which the Terriers claimed the first league title in the program’s brief history, and also earned the team’s first NCAA tournament berth.