Mercyhurst advances to semifinals with upset of second-seeded Cornell
ITHACA, N.Y. -- Freshman Jenna Dingledein's 15th goal of the season four minutes into overtime, gave Mercyhurst a hard-fought 4-3 win against Cornell on Saturday in an NCAA quarterfinal game. The goal capped an exciting contest and sends the Lakers (29-6-1) to the national semifinals next weekend in Minneapolis. The Big Red ended its season 27-6-1.
Mercyhurst scored the first period's lone goal when senior Gina Buquet shot a loose puck past Cornell netminder Lauren Slebodnick at the eight-minute mark. Buquet's sixth lamplighter of the season was helped by senior Jenna Hendrikx and junior Christine Bestland. Mercyhurst is now 26-1-0 after scoring the first goal of the contest.
The Lakers, held to 19 shots by the Big Red in January's loss, outshot Cornell 16-7 in the first 20 minutes.
Cornell rallied to take a 2-1 lead in a penalty filled second period. Brianne Jenner fired one by Mercyhurst senior Stephanie Ciampa during a 5-on-3 at 12:29. Then, with the middle period winding down, winger Jess Brown beat Ciampa during a goal-mouth scramble with just under a minute left. Nine penalties were called in the middle frame, five to Mercyhurst. Second-period shots were even at 11 apiece.
A pair of Mercyhurst defensemen regained the lead for Mercyhurst in a back-and-forth third. Senior Stephanie DeSutter tied the game from the left face-off circle with her eighth of the year at 7:29, while sophomore Caroline Luczak scored on a similar blast with 73 seconds left in regulation. Luczak's go-ahead goal was helped by senior Kelsey Welch while DeDutter was aided by Dingledein and Bestland.
The ensuing face-off brought an icing against Mercyhurst, allowing the Big Red to pull Slebodnick for an extra attacker. Jenner won a face-off in the Mercyhurst end and linemate Jillian Saulnier slapped one past Ciampa from the right point to knot the game at three.
With nearly five minutes gone in the extra session, freshman defenseman Lauren Kilroy took a shot from the right point that was blocked in front of the Cornell goal. The puck found Dingledein's stick and she slid it by Slebodnick to end the contest.
The Lakers outshot Cornell 34-32 in the game and were 0-for-5 on the power play. The Big Red finished 1-for-5. Ciampa improved to 20-1-0 on the season as she won for the 11th consecutive game.
Mercyhurst snapped a two-game losing streak against Cornell and improved to 14-5-1 overall against the Big Red. The win also snapped a streak of four overtime losses in NCAA play for the Lakers and avenged a 3-2 upset to the Big Red in the national semifinals three years ago in Minneapolis.
Mercyhurst reached the semifinals for the first time since 2010 and is 1-1 overall in semifinal action.