After a narrow loss Sunday, the Mercyhurst Lakers remained unbeatable for the women’s hockey team.
The Bulldogs (3-7-2, 2-2-1 ECACHL) dropped two games in Erie, Penn. this weekend, falling to 0-8-1 all-time against the No. 6/7 Lakers.
Crysti Howser ’09, who scored the first two goals of her career this weekend, said the team took something out of its great play in the tail end of the second game Sunday.
“The second two periods of the second game were the best hockey this team’s played since I’ve been here,” Howser said. “We finally played the way we are capable of, but unfortunately it was too late. We really dominated after the first period, but we couldn’t come out of there with a win.”
Sunday’s game was nothing if not an epic effort. Although the Elis found themselves down 2-0 early on two power-play goals by the Lakers’ Julia Colizza, they refused to give up. After regrouping during intermission and starting to forecheck more aggressively, Yale dominated play in the second period. Christina Sharun ’07 scored a power-play goal at 15:09 to cut the Lakers’ lead to one, and Howser got her first collegiate goal just minutes later to knot the score at two.
Howser said she was relieved to just get the first goal out of the way.
“I’d been getting a lot of chances and they just weren’t going in,” she said. “I knew that one of them would eventually end up going in, and I ended up getting two, so that was good.”
Colizza again made things difficult for the Elis at 9:11 in the third, notching her third goal of the game and only her fifth of the season. Still refusing to yield, the Bulldogs came roaring back, and Howser was again the hero, tying the score at three on a power-play goal with less than three minutes to go in the game.
All the Elis’ work ended in heartbreak just minutes later. The Lakers came out of a time-out and got the game winner past Sarah Love ’06 with a little over a minute to play. Colizza was in on the play again, assisting Stephanie Jones on the goal.
“Fighting back from a 2-0 deficit was uplifting because we knew we could beat such a good team,” said Maggie Westfal ’09, who scored in the Bulldogs’ 6-2 loss Saturday.
But while the Elis were able to get out of their first period funk in the second game, the first game was disappointing all the way through. The Saturday game was close early on, with Stephanie Bourbeau getting the lone first period goal through Love at 18:12. Westfal soon tied it up on a power-play opportunity a little over three minutes into the second period, and the game seemed destined to be a close one. But the Mercyhurst offense, led by freshman phenom Valerie Chouinard, broke the game open on three unanswered even strength goals over the next 12 minutes.
Despite being outshot in the third, the Lakers managed two more goals before Yale finally scored again. Sarah Tittman ’09 brought the score to 6-2 with less than a minute to play, but Chouinard’s two goals and the Lakers’ stifling defense had determined the outcome much earlier.
Westfal said it was her team’s forechecking and aggressiveness in the second game that made it a closer contest than Saturday’s blowout.
“The big difference was the way we forechecked in the second game,” Westfal said. “It was harder for them to get out of the zone because we put more pressure on them, so we got more shots and some of those went in. We kept putting pressure on them to make plays and they kept messing up.”
Love said she knows the Bulldogs have the potential to beat teams like the Lakers.
“Our team has a lot of potential that has only been seen at points so far this season,” she said. “If we can put it all together and play 60 solid minutes each game, I think we would be better than Mercyhurst.”