#7 Mercyhurst Topples Niagara 6-2 to Capture 4th Straight CHA Crown

Story Courtesy of Mercyhurst Sports Information

Detroit, Mich. - #7 Mercyhurst broke open a tight game with three unanswered third period goals to defeat Niagara University 6-2 Sunday in the championship game of the College Hockey America (CHA) Tournament. The Lakers, 23-7-6 overall, won their fourth straight CHA crown and will await word from the NCAA tonight on a second successive trip to the national playoffs. Niagara had its four-game winning streak snapped and ended its season 11-21-4.

After a scoreless first period, the teams combined for three early second period goals within 61 seconds and five total. Mercyhurst freshman center Valerie Chouinard scored the first of her two goals at 3:19 and teammate Julia Colliza followed suit at 4:03. Niagara freshman Emilie Castonguay got the Purple Eagles on the board just 17 seconds later with her second of the year. Colizza scored again, her 19th of the year, at 8:39 of the middle period but Niagara sophomore winger Charde Hoyle-Levy cashed a shorthanded marker at 12:07. The goal was her 11th of the season.

The game settled down until 4:50 of the third when Chouinard scored her second of the contest and 26th of the season at 4:50 to restore Mercyhurst's two-goal lead. Senior forward Samantha Shirley and sophomore forward Stephanie Jones finished Niagara and the scoring with goals at 14:59 and 17:11 respectively. For Shirley, it was her 11th of the season and second of the tournament. Jones' 10th of the season was scored into an empty net.

Mercyhurst outshot Niagara 45-19 in sweeping the season series between the teams 5-0. After a 6 of 7 power play performance in Thursday's 9-0 semifinal win over Robert Morris, Mercyhurst failed in four attempts against the Purple Eagles Sunday. Niagara finished 0 for 5 with the skater advantage.

Mercyhurst sophomore goalie Laura Hosier made 17 saves and improved her record to 14-7-5. Niagara junior netminder and CHA First Team selection Allison Rutledge suffered the setback as her record dipped to 11-16-3.

Chouinard was named Tournament MVP while junior forward Stefanie Bourbeau and senior defender Danielle Lansing joined Colizza on the All-Tournament team.

Chouinard's 26 markers are just one shy of the freshman team record of 27 set by K.C. Gallo in 1999-2000, the program's first year. The Lakers' 15 goals in the last two games are the most in back-to-back contests since March of 2005 when Mercyhurst outscored Wayne State and Quinnipiac a combined 15-1.