CHA Recap for 1/10/2014

RIT 4, Syracuse 3

ROCHESTER, NY­ – It was a night to remember for the RIT women's hockey team, (10-11-2, 5-3-1 CHA) as Cassie Clayton (Pickering, Ontario/PEAC School) scored a highlight worthy, short-handed goal with 1:17 to go in regulation, lifting the Tigers to a 4-3 win over CHA rival Syracuse (10-10-2, 3-5-2 CHA) on Friday evening at Ritter Arena.

Clayton sent the Ritter Arena crowd into a frenzy as she intercepted a pass from the Syracuse power play unit took, faked out the lone Orange defender in her way with some fancy stick handling then launched a shot top shelf over the shoulder of Jenesica Drinkwater, to give RIT the 4-3 lead with 1:17left and ultimately the win. It was the first short handed goal of the season for the Tigers.

Kourtney Kunichika (Fullerton, CA/LA Selects) reached a milestone by scoring the 50th goal of her career early in the second period on a power play that evened the game at 1-1. She became the 11th player in RIT history to score 50 goals in a career.

Erin Zach (Elmira, Ontario/Cambridge Fury) and Kolbee McCrea (Wawa, Ontario/Burlington Barracudas) each scored power play goals late in the period that helped RIT take a 3-2 lead. Celeste Brown (Great Falls, MT/National Sports Academy) and Taylor Thurston (Kanata, Ontario/All Saints Catholic)would earn the assists on the goal by Zach, while Lindsay Grigg and (Oakville, Ontario/Appleby Collegiate)Morgan Scoyne# would help set up McCrea's team-best 11th tally of the year.

Julie Knerr, Akane Hosoyamada and Melissa Piacentini were the goal scorers for the Orange. In net, Drinkwater made 20 saves in the loss.

RIT goaltender Jetta Rackleff (Bend, OR/Anaheim Lady Ducks) got the start in net and was strong, stopping 31 saves on the evening, several in sensational fashion, while allowing just the three goals. Her play was essential in many penalty kill opportunities, as she made a number of great saves to keep RIT in the game.

Syracuse out-shot RIT in the contest, 34-24. The Tigers were 3-for-8 with the man-advantage, while Syracuse was 2-for-7. Six of the seven goals in the contest came via special teams. RIT's three power-play goals tied a season-high, also done on Oct. 5 at Northeastern.

"Our power play finally came alive and was the spark for us from start to finish," said head coach Scott McDonald. "Jetta (Rackleff) really played well in goal for us tonight too, and then we get that highlight reel goal from Cassie at the end, just a solid team effort."

RIT began the game looking aggressive offensively for the first two minutes of play but couldn't get any shots off in their offensive zone. After 13 minutes the two teams were scoreless with only one shot on net, courtesy of Syracuse. It was the Orange's second shot that found the back of the net from Knerr with 11:25 remaining in the period.

As the period continued, both teams had several power play chances, and Syracuse nearly added to their lead with a deflection that slid between the legs of Rackleff, however she fell on it to keep the RIT deficit at 1. As the period came to a close a late Syracuse penalty would put the Tigers on a power play to start the second.

The second period started with a bang as Kunichika and the Tigers took advantage of the power play netting a goal with 18:55 on the clock, to tie the game at 1-1. After falling behind again to the Orange, 2-1, it was Zach's power play goal on a slapshot from the left circle that squeezed just past the right side of Drinkwater that tied thing up again. Minutes later, McCrea would add a third power play goal for the Tigers on a rebound shot right in front of the net, giving RIT their first lead of the game, 3-2.

The lead was short lived though as with just 17 second remaining in the second Piacentini netted a second power play goal for the Orange to make it 3-3.

In the third play was dominated by the Tigers who went to work in the offensive zone looking to grab the lead back again. Just when it looked as though the game may be headed for overtime, Clayton was able to intercept a pass and score the shorthanded goal by herself to give RIT the 4-3 win.

RIT is now 1-4-1 all-time against the Orange and holds onto third place in the CHA standings with a record of 5-3-1 and 11 points. The two teams will square off again in a week, as RIT will hit the road and head to Syracuse for rematch on Friday, Jan. 17. Game time will be 7 p.m.

Courtesy RIT Athletic Communications

ROCHESTER, N.Y.—The Syracuse ice hockey team (10-9-2) fell to RIT (10-11-2) in the final minute of play on Friday night in Ritter Arena. Six of the seven goals scored in the game were on the power play.

"There was a lot of special teams and it wasn't a very good game for either team," head coach Paul Flanagan said. "They out played us physically and they wanted it more. It really came down to a game of special teams, there was only one even strength goal the whole game. I give credit to what they did on the power play but I was extremely disappointed in our showing tonight."

SU outshot the Tigers 36-26 and edged RIT in the faceoff circle 39-33. Jenesica Drinkwater made 20 saves while Jetta Rackleff had 31 stops in net.

The Orange took an early lead when Jessica Sibley regained control of the puck behind the end line on the left side of the goal after exchanging possessions with the RIT defender and passed it out in front of the net to Julie Knerr, who was unguarded. Knerr skated to the left and sent one past Rackleff to take a 1-0 lead 8:25 into the game.

RIT scored 1:05 into the second period to tie the game at 1-1. Jess Patton got the initial shot off, which Drinkwater saved but she lost sight of the puck and Kourtney Kunichika netted the equalizer.

Syracuse regained its advantage seven minutes later on the power play when Akane Hosoyamada deflected a shot from Larissa Martyniuk, taken from the point, up and over the goalie, who was expecting it to be hard and low to bring the score to 2-1.

RIT then scored two in a row, both on the power play to take its first lead of the game with 3:24 remaining in the second period. The first was a goal by Erin Zach and the second was a rebounded shot into the net at the end of a two-man-down situation for SU.

Syracuse rallied at the end of the second stanza, scoring a goal when Nicole Renault took a wrist shot from the point that Melissa Piacentini redirected into the goal to tie the score at 3-3.

Both teams pressured on offense but no one was able to score until RIT had a shorthanded score with 1:17 left in the game. Cassie Clayton stole the puck and brought it up the ice, beating two SU defenders and sent in the game-winning goal.

The Orange put two shots on target in the final minute but a penalty on Sibley ended Syracuse's offensive efforts.

Courtesy Syracuse Athletic Communications

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Mercyhurst 3, No. 3 Cornell 3 [OT]

ERIE, Pa. – With a career-high 40 saves by junior goaltender Amanda Makela the Mercyhurst University women's hockey team tied third-ranked Cornell University 4-4 on Friday evening.

The Lakers extend their unbeaten streak to eight games and improved to 14-5-2 overall in the season. Cornell extended their unbeaten streak to four games and are 12-1-3 in the season.

Mercyhurst is now 2-3-3 when their opponent is the first to score as the Big Red scored their first goal of the contest at the 6:36 mark of the opening period. Alyssa Gagliardi tallied her fifth goal on a power-play goal when Hayleigh Cudmore fed her the puck in front of the Mercyhurst crease.

The Lakers answered back a little over a minute later after battling for a puck in their defensive zone. Senior Kaleigh Chippy created a turnover for freshman Paige Horton to pick up the puck and create the rush.

Horton shot a crisp pass to senior Christie Cicero who exploded down the ice on a one-on-one breakaway. Cicero skated her way to an open shot which was saved and knocked behind the net only for Cicero to pick up her own rebound and slide it past Cornell goaltender Lauren Slebodnick.

Two minutes later, Cornell put up their second goal of the contest to end the scoring of the first. Big Red's Ann Zorn collected the goal with Cassandra Poudrier adding the assist. At the end of the first Cornell outshot Mercyhurst 13 to 10.

At the start of the second, Mercyhurst did not loss momentum as sophomore Emily Janiga tallied an even-strength goal at the 3:25 mark. Senior Christine Bestland and sophomore Jenna Dingeldein tallied the assists.

Cornell however took away the lead yet again at the 10:56 mark of the second on a three–on-one opportunity. Big Red's Jillian Saulnier and Alyssa Gagliardi passed the puck back and fourth to create room for Emily Fulton to score behind goaltender Amanda Makela.

The scoring was not over as Mercyhurst tallied another goal on their only power-play opportunity of the period. After a battle behind Cornell's net, the Big Red tried to clear the puck but instead it bounced off the referee and onto the tap of junior Shelby Bram.

Bram then passed the puck in front of the net where sophomore Kathy Donohue was waiting. Donohue finished the puck under the pads of Slebodnick and picked up her sixth of the season.

The third period was scoreless throughout the first half until Mercyhurst took their first lead of the game at the 10:20 mark. Mercyhurst controlled play after a back and fourth first half of the period with Dingeldein leading the way. Dingeldein attempted a shot on net that was originally saved by Slebodnick.

However Cornell's Slebodnick left a rebound right in front of the net, which remained untouched as both teams battled. Bram finally picked up the puck to the left side of Slebodnick and muscled the puck over the goal line. With the power-play goal, Bram marked her sixth of the season and second point of the game. Donohue was also awarded the assist.

Four minutes later, Cornell tallied the equalizer on their second power-play goal of the night. The Big Red's Gagliardi forced overtime after scoring her second goal of the contest. Cudmore and Saulnier tallied the assists.

With a little four-on-four action mid-way through overtime and three shots attempted by each team, the Lakers and Big Red skated to a tie. Overall Cornell outshot Mercyhurst 44 to 37, as Mercyhurst is now 1-0-2 when outshot by their opponent.

After extending her scoring streak to seven games, Cicero also led the team with eight shots on net in the effort. Janiga, Bestland, and Chippy all tallied five.

Bram and Donohue both led the team with a goal and an assist apiece, while Dingeldein tallied two assists. Dingeldein is now nine assists away from her career 50, while juniorCaroline Luczak is looking for her career 25th.

Junior Amanda Makela made a career-high 40 saves throughout the 65:00 minutes played. Despite allowing four goals, Makela improves to 12-5-3 in the season. Slebodnick improved to 10-0-3 with her 33 saves.

The out-of-conference rivalry continues tomorrow, January 11, as the Lakers take on #3 Cornell at the Mercyhurst Ice Center. Puck drop is set for 2:00 p.m.

Courtesy Mercyhurst Athletic Communications

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Colgate 3, Penn State 2 [OT]

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – The Nittany Lion women's hockey squad couldn't hold on to a late third-period lead as Colgate netted a power-play goal in overtime in a 3-2 Raider victory on Friday night at Pegula Ice Arena. Taylor Gross (Colorado Springs, Colo.) and Jill Holdcroft (Pennsylvania Furnace, Pa.) tallied goals to pace the Penn State offense.

Penn State (3-17-2, 1-9-0 CHA) played one of its finest periods of the season in the second frame, out-shooting Colgate (5-13-2, 2-8-0 ECAC) 15-7 and scoring twice. Down 1-0, Holdcroft created a turnover deep in Raider territory and lifted a goal into the top shelf 6:43into the period. The unassisted tally was her fourth of the year.

Later on, Penn State's aggressive forecheck paid dividends as Shannon Yoxheimer (Jackson, Mich.) managed to keep the puck alive at the blue line and create a turnover that bounced to Gross. The senior captain made no mistake, slapping home her team-leading seventh goal of the year into the left-side netting for a 2-1 lead with 4:58 remaining in the period. The helper was Yoxheimer's seventh of the season.

The third period was another matter for the Nittany Lions as Colgate controlled possession and pinned Penn State for much of the frame. Colgate owned a 13-4 edge in shots with Taylor Volpe sending home a loose puck with just 2:05 remaining in the third period.

In overtime, Yoxheimer fired the first shot of the frame, but a minor penalty put Colgate on the power play for the fourth time in the game. A puck played to the point came to Katie Case as her blast was initially saved by Celine Whitlinger (Garden Grove, Calif.), but trickled through and Volpe pounced to put the game away.

Whitlinger played well all game and finished with 29 saves for the game. Her counterpart Brittney Brooks totaled 30 saves.

The Nittany Lions and Raiders each fired 32 shots in the game and both teams had four power-play opportunities. Penn State failed to score a power-play goal for the sixth straight game. PSU earned a 30-25 advantage in the faceoff circle with Laura Bowman(Minnetonka, Minn.) going 13-7.

The Nittany Lion scoring woes came to an end as Holdcroft's goal broke a scoring drought totaling nearly 292 minutes following four straight shutouts against Mercyhurst and Ohio State. Penn State drops to 1-9-0 all-time against ECAC Hockey teams.

The Nittany Lions and Raiders reprise their roles as adversaries on Saturday afternoon for a 2 p.m. game at Pegula Ice Arena. The game will be streamed live on BTN.com.

Courtesy Penn State Athletic Communications