Atlantic Hockey Championship
Leads Lakers to Title, Tournament
3, Quinnipiac 2 OT
Falite, R. Hammel
Johnson, B. Cottreau
Rossi, M. Froehlich
Toomey, S. Reynolds
Mike Ella, 64:56, 36 saves, 2 GA
Jamie Holden, 64:56, 34 saves, 3 GA
M 6/12; Q 6/12
Plays: M 0-3; Q 0-3
Conn. – Only a month ago, Mercyhurst goalie Mike Ella had
played in just three Atlantic Hockey games. In the past four weeks,
he has played in eight consecutive conference games for the Lakers
and won every single game.
But no game
could compare to the magnitude of last night’s Atlantic
Hockey final, when the sophomore turned aside 36 shots to lead
the Lakers to a 3-2 overtime win against archrival Quinnipiac
at the Northford Ice Pavilion. With the win, Mercyhurst will play
in its third NCAA Tournament next weekend.
don’t beat teams like Quinnipiac without great goaltending,
and Mike Ella applied that tonight,” Mercyhurst head coach
Rick Gotkin said. “Going into overtime, we said we’re
going to let the boys play and they’ll find a way if it’s
meant to be.”
Hockey might be at the bottom of the Division I totem pole, the
rivalry between Mercyhurst and Quinnipiac has been as competitive
and intense as any Hockey East or WCHA rivalry. Excluding empty
net goals, all four championship games between the two teams have
been decided by one goal.
and Quinnipiac have played lots of great games over the year,”
Gotkin said. “This is a tough place to play in, but coming
in here, we liked where we were at.”
Ella was busiest
in the second period, when the Bobcats fired 20 shots and scored
both of their goals. But one of his final saves, a right pad save
on Ben Nelson as he broke loose down the slot alone with 3:50
left in the third period, was one of the biggest of the night.
Ella didn’t have to make any saves as the Lakers outshot
Quinnipiac, 5-0. Then, at 4:56, Ben Cottreau skated behind the
net and flung a backhand shot on net. Scott Champagne picked up
the rebound near the left post and put the puck past Bobcats’
goalie Jamie Holden, who never reacted until the puck was already
in the net.
was overtime and I knew I had to get the puck on net,” Champagne
said. “You never know what can happen when you put the puck
had a 2-1 lead heading into the final six minutes of regulation.
But, with 5:57 remaining, junior Erik Johnson was alone at the
near post and shoveled the puck into the half-empty net to tie
the score at 2-2 and force overtime.
got a really bad break on that goal,” Quinnipiac head coach
Rand Pecknold said. “The blade came right out of (Michael
Bordieri’s) skate and he basically couldn’t function.
But that’s part of the game.”
the loss was painful in more ways than one. Not only did the seniors
miss their final chance to make the NCAA tournament, but the entire
team might have missed its best opportunity to clinch the program’s
second appearance in the tournament. With Quinnipiac joining the
more competitive ECAC next season, it’s unlikely that the
Bobcats will challenge for a spot in the NCAA tournament over
the next few seasons.
a sad time in the locker room. This is a good group of guys and
they really bonded,” Pecknold said. “It would have
been nice to get this one, but we had a good run.”
AND HEARD AT THE NORTHFORD ICE PAVILION
power at the Northford Ice Pavilion went out for about 10 minutes
prior to the start of the warm-ups. As a result, the start of
the game was pushed from 7:00 to 7:10.
has played Mercyhurst in the MAAC/Atlantic Hockey championship
game under three different nicknames. In 2001, when Quinnipiac
lost 6-5, the team was known as the Braves. During the 2001-02
season, Quinnipiac dropped the nickname Braves from its athletic
teams, so Quinnipiac had no nickname when it defeated the Lakers
6-4 in 2002. When the teams tangled in the finals again in 2003,
Quinnipiac had already adopted its current nickname, the Bobcats.
Bobcats expect to play some home games in Northford next season
as a member of the ECAC. Ground has broken on a new 3,500-seat
athletic center on Quinnipiac’s new Sherman Avenue campus,
but it isn’t expected to open until January 2007.
Holden will have to settle for being tied with J.C. Wells as the
all-time wins leader for Quinnipiac goaltenders. Holden finishes
his four-year career with 59 wins.
THREE STARS OF THE TOURNAMENT
Scott Champagne, Mercyhurst
The Atlantic Hockey tournament MVP scored the game-winning
goal to send Mercyhurst to the NCAA tournament.
Jamie Holden, Quinnipiac
The senior goalie allowed only four goals in the three
tournament games for Quinnipiac. He was named as the goalie on
the All-Tournament team.
Mike Ella, Mercyhurst
Holden’s numbers in the tournament were better,
but Ella came up with the key saves for the Lakers when they needed