CHA Weekly Release: 3/!0/2014
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CHA Player of the Week
Lindsay Grigg – RIT
Junior; Defenseman; Oakville, Ontario
Grigg scored the game-winning goal with 6:13 left in the second overtime to lift the Tigers to a 2-1 win over top-ranked Mercyhurst in the College Hockey America Championship on Saturday. Grigg, who was named to the All-Tournament Team, fired a rocket of a slap shot that eluded traffic in front and beat Mercyhurst goaltender Amanda Maklela over the blocker for her third goal of the season. Grigg also assisted on Erin Zach’s second period power-play goal and blocked a career-high 12 shots in the win. On Friday, she blocked four shots and was plus-2 in a 4-1 win over Robert Morris in the CHA Semifinal. Grigg ended the season with six points over her last six games and 21 points on three goals and 18 assists in 38 games. She blocked a team-high 127 shots, also among the most in all of Division I.
Ali Binnington – RIT
Junior; Oakville, Ontario
Binnington was named MVP and earned All-Tournament Team honors of the CHA Tournament, leading the Tigers to its first CHA Championship in just its second season as a Division I program. Binnington was remarkable in net, stopping 87-of-89 shots (.978 save percentage) in 153:35 of game action over the weekend. She began the weekend by stopping 25 shots in a 2-1 win over No. 10 Robert Morris in the CHA Semifinal. On Saturday, Binnington made a career-high 62 saves on 63 shots in a 2-1 double overtime victory over top-seed and No. 8 nationally-ranked Mercyhurst in the CHA Championship. Binnington ended the season by winning seven straight contests, allowing just six goals on her last 240 shots faced (.975 save percentage and 0.77 goals against average). Binnington finished the season 16-9-2 with a 1.72 goals against average, .944 save percentage, and six shutouts this season. Her .944 save percentage is third nationally.
Cassie Clayton – RIT
Forward; Pickering, Ontario
Clayton scored a goal in Friday’s 4-1 win over No. 10 Robert Morris in the CHA Semifinal on Friday and was on the ice for Lindsay Grigg’s game-winning goal in double overtime on Saturday in a 2-1 win over No. 8 Mercyhurst in the CHA Championship. Clayton blocked four shots over the weekend and was the defensive center who did a tremendous job in holding two of the best offensives in Division I to just a pair of goals. She finished her rookie season with seven points on four goals and three assists.
Mercyhurst – For the tenth consecutive season, the Mercyhurst University women's hockey program is among the final eight in the nation and will make an appearance in the NCAA Division I women's hockey quarterfinals. The Lakers will face Cornell University for the second consecutive postseason at Lynah Rink on Saturday, March 15 with the faceoff tentatively slated for 3:30 p.m. Prior to Sunday's joyous occasion, the Lakers fell in the CHA Championship game to the Tigers of RIT 2-1 in a double overtime thriller at the Mercyhurst Ice Center. It was just the second time in a dozen seasons that the Lakers lost in the CHA title game. Senior Christie Cicero scored the lone Mercyhurst goal in the third period to force overtime. On Friday, Mercyhurst took away a 2-1 win from Syracuse to advance to the championship contest. Prior to Saturday's lost, the Lakers posted a ten game unbeaten streak dating back to a 5-3 win over Robert Morris on January 25. At the time, the unbeaten streak with the third longest standing in the country. Senior Kaleigh Chippy scored both goals in the 2-1 victory to take the lead in both power-play and game-winning goals on the squad. Mercyhurst holds a 14-5-1 advantage over Cornell in the all-time series, but the Lakers are just 3-5-1 in the last nine contests against their rival from the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference. It will mark the third time that these two have met in the NCAA postseason with each team winning an overtime contest in the previous two. Mercyhurst stunned Cornell last season in the quarterfinals while the Big Red downed Mercyhurst, 3-2 in overtime, in the NCAA Semifinals back in 2010 in Minneapolis. The Lakers (23-8-4) and the Big Red (24-5-4) played a pair of games at the Mercyhurst Ice Center earlier this season. Game one ended in a 4-4 overtime tie back on January 10, with Cornell's Jessica Campbell scoring with 5:06 left in regulation to send the game to overtime. The next afternoon, the Big Red jumped out to a 5-2 lead past the midway mark of the second period and held off the Lakers, 6-4, after sealing the contest with an empty-netter.
Robert Morris – Robert Morris fell to eventual league champion RIT in a CHA semi-final on Friday evening, 4-1, in Erie, Pa. The Tigers picked up the first two goals of the contest in the second period. Junior Rebecca Vint scored early in the third to cut the deficit in half, but the Tigers picked up two more goals to quell any hopes of a comeback. Robert Morris finishes the season with a 24-8-3 overall record. The Colonials’ senior class advanced at least one round in every CHA tournament they played in, and were a part of the 2011-12 team that won the CHA Championship. Rebecca Vint and freshman Jessica Dodds were selected to the First All-Conference team, announced at the CHA Banquet on Thursday evening. Brittany Howard and Anneline Lauziere both earned second team honors, and Brittany Howard joined Dodds on the all-rookie team. Dodds was also voted Rookie of the Year by the conference’s head coaches.
RIT – The Tigers (20-15-3, 11-7-2 CHA) made history by winning the College Hockey America Championship in just its second season as a Division I program, defeating No. 10 Robert Morris, 4-1 in the Semifinal on Friday and 2-1 in double overtime over No. 8 Mercyhurst in the Championship. Lindsay Grigg scored with 6:13 left in double overtime, while Ali Binnington made a career-high 62 saves in the Championship game. RIT was out-shot 63-25 in the contest. Grigg, Kourtney Kunichika, and Binnington were named to the All-Tournament Team, while Binnington was named the Most Valuable Player. Binnington, who was named the College Hockey America Goaltender of the Year, but did not earn first or second team honors, made 87 saves on 89 shots over the weekend. Binnington ended the season by winning seven straight contests, allowing just six goals on her last 240 shots faced (.975 save percentage and 0.77 goals against average). Binnington finished the season 16-9-2 with a 1.72 goals against average, .944 save percentage, and six shutouts this season. Her .944 save percentage is third nationally. She set RIT single-season records in games played (28), minutes played (1,640), and saves (788). Her six shutouts were second most in one season and 14 career shutouts is second most at the university. RIT, who is ineligible for the NCAA Tournament due to being in a two-year NCAA probationary period after moving up from Division III last season, ended 2013-14 by winning a Division I team record seven straight games, having allowed just six goals over that span. The Tigers won a DI team record 20 games, becoming opne of just 13 schools to reach that plateau this season. Senior Kourtney Kunichika ended her career fourth all-time in scoring at RIT with 134 career points on 54 goals (sixth) and 82 assists (fourth). Her 129 games played are the most in a career at the university, while her 24 power-play goals are second most. Freshman Mackenzie Stone scored five goals this season, all of which were game-winning tallies. She assisted on Grigg’s double overtime game-winner on Saturday. In eight seasons at RIT, Head Coach Scott McDonald has led the Tigers to a 171-53-18 record with three conference championships over the last four seasons. He has led the Tigers to at least 20 wins five times and 19 games seven times.
Syracuse – The Syracuse women’s hockey season came to an end with a 2-1 loss to Mercyhurst in the CHA semi-finals. The Orange gave Mercyhurst all they could handle, playing to a 1-1 tie through 50 minutes. Despite the loss, the Orange had another successful season, tying their program record of 20 wins. The Orange have reached at least the CHA semi-finals every season since entering Division I in 2008-09. Nicole Renault was named to the First All-Conference Team at the CHA Banquet on Thursday. Melissa Piacentini earned second-team honors, and a pair of freshman, Jessica Sibley and Larissa Martyniuk, made the CHA All-Rookie team. The Orange graduate seven seniors this season.