STORRS, CT- The night before the Connecticut Huskies had picked up the win over the Lakers from Mercyhurst, but this afternoon would be different as the Lakers picked up a 5-2 victory over the Huskies at the Freitas Ice Forum. For the first ten minutes of the game, both teams were battling back and forth with neither able to gain much of a foothold. Connecticut goalie Brittany Wilson had numerous good saves including one when an errant pass went into the center and Mercyhurst player pounced. At the 11:27 mark of the period though the Lakers struck first when Valerie Chouinard knocked the puck past Wilson at point blank range, with the assist going to Meghan Corbett. Mercyhurst picked up a penalty at some point but Connecticut was unable take advantage of it, and the visitors managed to put on some pressure for awhile. Connecticut responded with some opportunities of their own as the period wound down. But Connecticut’s Jody Sydor was sent to the penalty box for body checking in the waning two minutes of the period. Connecticut was able to kill it as it extended into the second period as well.
It wasn’t long into the second period that the Lakers struck again as it was Chouinard again with the goal assisted by Corbett and Hayley McMeekin at 2:36. Only a minute later at 3:31 Vicki Bendus blasted it by Wilson to take a 3-0 lead. Mercyhurst was really building a lead in the shots on goal category as they had twice as many as Connecticut throughout the game. Wilson let some by but she faced a ton more than her counterpart Courtney Drennen, though Drennen was very formidable in net as well. Cristin Allen exploded onto a breakway for the Huskies later in the period but her shot was stopped. Mercyhurst picked up a penalty but killed it off expertly. Connecticut was not by any means giving up and kept up some major pressure on Drennen and the Laker defense, but they were managing to avoid goals. Wilson picked up a nice save when she slid across the net to prevent a wraparound goal attempt. Connecticut’s Brittany Murphy used persistence to eventually knock one past Drennen and it was now 3-1 at the 13:32 mark.
At 16:31 Connecticut’s Monique Weber got called for her hooking and Mercyhurst’s Jesse Scanzano got assists from Corbett and Bendus to score. She managed to receive the passes from behind the net and catch Wilson trying to get back from the other side. It was now 4-1 and the visitors were keeping up their shots lead as well.
There was one period left to go though but the first event of it was Jessica Lutz’s tripping penalty. With that one about halfway over, Mercyhurst’s Bendus went into the box for interference. She was joined by Melissa LaCroix for tripping soon afterward. Connecticut would soon have a two-person advantage on the power play and Michelle Binning took advantage of the situation to knock one past Drennen at close range. It was 2-4 with 15 minutes left to play. Connecticut kept at it with a ton of close calls, but nothing could find the net after that. A Mercyhurst penalty with 3:30 left was killed very well by the visitors and Scanzano hit an open netter to ice the game 2-5.
It’s one of the games where the score makes it look farther apart then it was. It was a battle, and Mercyhurst managed to take advantage of their opportunities to score up more points then their hosts. Still a hard fought effort on both sides to say the least.
(Report based on eyewitness account, will be double checked against official scoring and modified as needed.)
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