WEEKEND PREVIEW: Final Tests Before League Play

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All six College Hockey America teams are set for final tune-ups before the start of conference play, though no one is taking it easy this weekend. Four teams face opponents with at least three wins (and a combined .600 winning percentage). Two of the other opponents have .500 records, though one will be playing its first contest. In all, the seven CHA opponents for this weekend have a combined .544 winning percentage.

 Like last weekend, two teams will faceoff against top-10 opponents.  Syracuse will clash with No. 4/3 Boston College on Friday night. In the only road matchup of the weekend, Lindenwood will travel to No. 2/2 Wisconsin.
 
No. 8/9 Mercyhurst hosts Maine, while the Robert Morris Colonials look to continue their winning ways against Vermont. RIT takes on Brown and Penn State continues its home stand against New Hampshire. Syracuse will face Union on Saturday to complete their weekend.

TEAM NOTES

Lindenwood (0-5-1) – Lindenwood has a two-game series this weekend at No. 2 Wisconsin … the Lady Lions are 0-4-0 all-time against Wisconsin, including a 0-2-0 mark in Madison … the two teams played twice last year at the Lindenwood Ice Arena with the Badgers winning 7-2 and 9-1 … the Lady Lions had a 2-0 lead in the first game of that series with two goals in the first 3:25 of the game … Lindenwood lost twice last week to Bemidji State by scores of 5-0 and 4-1 … the Beavers had a 45-14 shot advantage in game one of that series and scored two goals in the first period and three in the second period … the Lady Lions scored first in game two of the series but Bemidji State scored two shorthanded goals in the third period for the game-winning goals … Kendra Broad ranks seventh in the CHA in points and ninth in assists … Jocelyn Slattery, Kendra Broad and Alyssa West are all tied for ninth in the CHA in goals … Kendra Broad and Brooke Peden are tied for first in the CHA in power-play points, and Slattery is first in power-play goals. 


Mercyhurst  (3-3-1) – The Lakers will host the University of Maine this weekend for two games at the Mercyhurst Ice Center. Mercyhurst holds a 7-1-0 all-time record against the Black Bears. This is the first meeting since October 2010, when the Lakers swept a weekend series in Orono, 5-2 and 6-1. The Black Bears enter at 0-3-1 after dropping two contests to Quinnipiac last weekend. Mercyhurst climbed back to No. 8 in the USCHO.com poll after going 1-0-1 against third-ranked Clarkson last weekend. The Lakers picked up their second shutout of the season behind the efforts of goaltender Amanda Makela. Makela made 19 saves in the shutout, and another 30 in the tie Saturday, on her way to her second-straight CHA Goalie of the Week award. Senior Kaleigh Chippy scored the game-winner Friday, with assists from Shelby Bram and Emily Janiga. Janiga also scored the game-tying goal Saturday. The timely scoring earned the sophomore CHA Player of the Week honors. Bram is now six assists away from 50 for her career, while Janiga needs just five points to reach the 50 mark for her career.

 

Penn State (2-3-1) – The Nittany Lions are set to host New Hampshire this weekend at the Pegula Ice Arena in Hockey Valley. The Wildcats are 3-2-1 for the year and defeated nationally-ranked Boston College in their last outing.  This will be the first meeting between the two programs. The two-game series will begin Saturday at 7:00 p.m., and conclude Sunday with a 2:00 p.m. contest. The Nittany Lions opened Pegula Ice Arena last weekend against Union, dropping the opener 2-1 and winning the series finale 2-1…Shannon Yoxheimer tallied her team-leading third goal of the year on Friday, assisted by Jordin Pardoski (2) and Taylor Gross (3)…In Saturday’s game, Jill Holdcroft scored the game’s opening goal, Celine Whitlinger saved 20 shots and Laura Bowman touched home the game-winner to give Penn State its first win at Pegula Ice Arena…The victory over the Dutchwomen improved PSU’s record to 1-3-0 all-time in the series and was the first win over an ECAC Hockey team in nine tries (1-8-0)…Freshman Amy Petersen tallied her third assist of the year and Jeanette Bateman’s blast that was saved led to Bowman’s goal. The assist was Bateman’s first of the season…Penn State did not allow an even strength goal all weekend and recorded a plus-10 rating as a team this weekend…In Saturday’s opening period, Penn State’s defense allowed just one shot, a new program record for fewest shots allowed in a period…Penn State won the faceoff battle both days, going 31-21 and 39-20, respectively, for a 63.1 faceoff winning percentage. Freshman Sarah Nielsen went 26-12 (68.4%) at the faceoff dot.

 

Robert Morris (4-2-0) – RMU welcomes Vermont to 84 Lumber Arena this weekend. The Colonials swept the Catamounts last season (6-2, 3-2) behind two goals from now-senior captain Kristen Richards. Last weekend Robert Morris earned a split with No. 7/8 Boston University. The Colonials are off to their second best start in school history. It also marks the third season in a row in which RMU has claimed a winning record through its first six games. The 2011-12 Colonials started 5-1-0, and last year's team began the year with a record of 3-2-1 ... Freshman goaltender Jessica Dodds is the first RMU goalie to post shutouts in consecutive starts in school history after shutting out the Terriers last Saturday. Dodds has made 43 saves over the two starts and currently has a goals against average of 0.65 through three starts, best in CHA. She also leads the league with a .970 save percentage. She followed up last week’s co-CHA Goalie of the Week award with a Rookie of the Week nod on Monday. The Colonials' 3-0 victory over No. 7/8 Boston University this past Saturday marked the first time the team has beaten a nationally-ranked opponent since they defeated No. 7 Mercyhurst, 4-2, on Feb. 8, 2012. The shutout win also marked the first time since Dec. 9, 2010 that the Terriers were blanked in a road contest.

 

RIT (3-4-0) – RIT concludes its six-game October homestand this weekend against Brown of the ECAC. Last season, RIT swept a season series at Brown, 2-0 and 2-1. The all-time series between the two schools is even at 5-5-1, RIT is 2-0-0 against Brown in its Division I era. This will be the first games of the season for Brown. Last weekend, The Tigers split their third-straight series, this time against Colgate. On Friday, RIT defeated Colgate in a “road” contest, 2-0 at the Bill Gray’s Regional Iceplex on the campus of Monroe Community College, 10 minutes from RIT. Ali Binnington made 24 saves for her 10th career shutout, while Mackenzie Stone and Lauren Klein scored their first collegiate goals in the win. On Saturday, goaltender Jetta Rackleff made her collegiate debut stopping 27 shots, but RIT ran into penalty problems in overtime, allowing a 5-on-3 goal in a 2-1 loss to the Raiders. Kourtney Kunichika scored RIT’s lone goal, giving her a team-best five this season. Kunichika will play in her 100th career game against Brown on Friday. She is one goal shy of 50 for her career, while Kolbee McCrea is three shy. Binnington has 10 shutouts in just 41 career starts in goal. RIT is 3-0-0 on Friday this season and 0-4-0 on Saturday. The Tigers are 19-7-5 when allowing two or less goals, and 0-13-0 when allowing at least three tallies in its brief Division I history. RIT owns the best power-play in the CHA thus far, connecting at 19.4% for the year. They also lead the league in scoring, averaging 2.71 goals per game.

 

Syracuse (2-4-0) – Syracuse welcomes two opponents to Tennity Ice Pavillion this weekend. The Eagles of Boston College will be in town Friday, and on Saturday the Orange will skate with in-state foe Union College. The Orange have played five of their first six games on the road, and collected a 2-3 record in those games. In the only contest on home ice thus far, they fell to nationally-ranked Clarkson 2-1. Boston College is off and running, starting the season 5-1 and earning the fourth spot in the most recent USCHO.com poll. The 3-4-0 Dutchwomen are coming off of a weekend split against CHA member Penn State. The Orange spent last weekend in Rhode Island taking on Providence. Syracuse couldn’t make a comeback in game one and lost to Providence 2-1 on Friday night. SU turned things around on Saturday afternoon, taking a decisive 4-1 victory over the Friars. Four different players scored against PC in the victory. Melissa Piacentini recorded two assists at Providence in the 4-1 victory. Her four points off assists ties Nicole Renault (1G, 3A) for the most points on the team. The Orange has scored six power play goals so far this season. Aside from the shutout at No. 3 Clarkson, SU has scored a power play in every game. Syracuse is 5-33 (.182) on power plays this season and has netted six of 29 man-up shots (.207). SU is .882 on the penalty kill, allowing four power play goals in 32 attempts, two from UNH and two from Clarkson.