Mercyhurst Women Win CHA Tournament Championship

Sports

The Mercyhurst women’s ice hockey team won its 13th College Hockey America (CHA) Championship and clinched a spot in the NCAA Tournament with a 5-3 win over ninth-ranked Robert Morris in the CHA Championship game Saturday afternoon.

The postseason title is the first for Mercyhurst (18-14-4) since the 2015-16 season.

Emma Nuutinen had two goals for the Lakers and was named the CHA Tournament’s most valuable player. Additional Mercyhurst goal scorers included Alexa VaskoRachel Marmen, and Jennifer MacAskill.

Robert Morris scored the game’s first goal on the first power play of the afternoon. Emily Curlett’s blast from the point was her ninth of the season and assisted by Maggie Lague and Jaycee Gebhard at 6:43 in the first

Mercyhurst cashed in on the advantage with just six seconds remaining on the power play. Nuutinen’s power-play marker tied the game at one at 13:04. She blasted a drop pass from Rachel Marmen through a screen for her seventh of the season and second of the tournament. Alexa Vasko also nabbed an assist.

The Colonials countered 1:01 later to retake the lead 2-1. Brittany Howard scored on a wrist shot for her 25th of the season assisted by Amber Rennie.

The second period was dominated by the Lakers after the Lakers rattled off three-straight goals. At 4:36, Alexa Vasko scored her first collegiate goal when she decided to take the puck herself on a two-on-one and wristed one past RMU goalie Elijah Milne-Price.

Four and a half minutes later, another Lakers’ freshman came up with the go-ahead goal. Rachel Marmen‘s seeing-eye shot from the point found its way through traffic to give the Lakers the 3-2 advantage at 9:01.

At 17:05 in the period, Nuutinen sprung loose one-on-one in the offensive zone, deked through the legs of the RMU defender, and finished on the backhand to give the Lakers the 4-2 lead.

Mercyhurst’s suppressed two penalties early in the third period to quell a potential comeback from RMU. The Lakers were rewarded with a couple power plays shortly following, and Mercyhust extended its lead on the second. MacAskill’s second power-play tally in two games was assisted by Celine Frappier and Vasko.

The Colonial’s Jessica Gazzolla managed to pull RMU within two at 16:23 in the third, but Mercyhurst was able to hang on to win 5-3 to clinch their 13th CHA Tournament title.

STATS AND INFO
Kennedy Blair improved to 11-7-1 on the season with a 31-save effort. Blair was named to the CHA All-Tournament team as the goaltenders’ representative, joining Nuutinen (forward) and Marmen (defense).
-Mercyhurst went two-for-six on its power plays, its first multi-goal power play since January 27 at Syracuse.
-The Lakers are now 13-1 all-time in the CHA title game and have outscored opponents 50-23 in those 14 games.

Mercyhurst now awaits tomorrow night’s NCAA Selection Show to determine when, where, and who the Lakers play in the upcoming NCAA Tournament.

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