By Victor Fernandes Erie Times-News staff blogger
Staff writer Victor Fernandes has ice in his veins. Hockey – he plays it, coaches it and provides the region's best coverage of it.   Read more about this blog.
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Archive for the ‘Mercyhurst College’ category
Posted: April 28th, 2014

Alex DeBrincat (Contributed/

The Erie Otters don’t often attract players like 16-year-old forward Alex DeBrincat – free agents that haven’t been picked in the OHL Priority Selection and appear headed the NCAA route. But 52 wins and a berth in the conference finals has changed that.
DeBrincat, who plays with Lake Forest (IL) Academy, reportedly committed – at least verbally – to Division I UMass-Amherst – last August. He also was the Waterloo Blackhawks’ second-round pick (No. 27 overall) in the 2013 USHL Futures Draft. But now he’s headed to the Otters. He may not be big (5-7, 160), but he can score. Check out his stats here

Posted: April 11th, 2014
Mercyhurst senior forward Daniel O’Donoghue signed a contract with the NHL’s Phoenix Coyotes today. (Contributed/Mercyhurst University)

Mercyhurst’s Daniel O’Donoghue turned the best season of his college hockey career into a NHL contract Friday.

The senior forward signed a two-year, entry-level contract with the NHL’s Phoenix Coyotes, and will join the club’s AHL affiliate, the Portland Pirates in Portland, Maine, as early as this weekend. The Pirates play in Manchester, N.H., against the Monarchs tonight before returning home to face the Norfolk Admirals on Sunday.

“It’s a great feeling, and I’m very excited,” O’Donoghue said in a statement. “I have a lot of emotions running through me right now – anxious, excited, nervous. … It’s been a long time coming, and I’m excited just to get my foot in the door.”

He set career highs with 15 goals, 28 assists and 43 points in 38 games. He finished his four-year career with 119 points (45 goals, 74 assists). He’s one of 16 players in the school’s NCAA Division I history to reach the 100-point mark, and of five to sign professional contracts. The others are Jody Robinson (New York Islanders), T.J. Kemp (Edmonton Oilers), Jamie Hunt (Washington Capitals) and Cullen Eddy (Philadelphia Flyers). Hunt is the lone player to play in a NHL regular-season game (2006-07).

“Our season ended almost a month ago, and I thought it would go a little quicker than this,” O’Donoghue said. “But it all worked out in the end.”

Posted: April 10th, 2014

The NCAA Men’s Division I Frozen Four kicks off today at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. Before the games begin, check out my predictions below. Let’s see if I can add to my 9-3 record in the regionals…

NCAA Men’s Division I Frozen Four

at Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia

Semifinals - Today

No. 2 Boston College 3, No. 3 Union 1

North Dakota 4, No. 1 Minnesota 2

Championship game – Saturday

North Dakota 4, No. 2 Boston College 3


Posted: April 10th, 2014
Posted: April 1st, 2014

Ds Nick Jones and Randy Cure, who recently completed their hockey careers at Mercyhurst, have joined the professional ranks. Jones has signed a contract with the AHL’s Worcester Sharks, while Cure has played 3 games with the ECHL’s Elmira Jackals.

Posted: March 28th, 2014

NCAA Men’s I Hockey Tournament predictions
East Regional (Today & Saturday)
No. 1 Union 5, No. 4 Vermont 1
No. 3 Providence 3, No. 2 Quinnipiac 2
No. 3 Providence 2, No. 1 Union 1

Midwest Regional (Today & Saturday)
No. 2 Ferris State 4, No. 3 Colgate 2
No. 4 North Dakota 4, No. 1 Wisconsin 3
No. 4 North Dakota 3, No. 2 Ferris State 1

Northeast Regional (Saturday & Sunday)
No. 1 Boston College 5, No. 4 Denver 1
No. 3 Minnesota State-Mankato 3, No. 2 Massachusetts-Lowell 2
No. 1 Boston College 5, No. 3 Minnesota State-Mankato 1

West Regional (Saturday & Sunday)
No. 1 Minnesota 5, No. 4 Robert Morris 0
No. 2 Notre Dame 2, No. 3 St. Cloud State 1
No. 2 Notre Dame 3, No. 1 Minnesota 2

Posted: March 20th, 2014

Check out head coach Rick Gotkin‘s take on tonight’s matchup…

Atlantic Hockey Association semifinals
No. 1 Mercyhurst (21-12-7) vs. No. 7 Canisius (18-20-3)

When: Today, 4:05 p.m.
Where: Blue Cross Arena – Rochester, N.Y.
On the air: (live stream), (real-time statistics), (live audio)
What to expect: Mercyhurst returns to Rochester for the conference’s final four for the third straight season. The Lakers lost to Air Force 5-2 in the 2012 semifinals. They followed a 4-1 semifinal win over Connecticut in the 2013 semifinals with a 7-2 loss to Canisius in the championship game. … The top-seeded Lakers reached the semifinals with a two-game sweep of No. 8 Holy Cross, which included their first come-from-behind win of the season and first overtime victory since December 2012, in the best-of-three quarterfinal series last weekend at Mercyhurst Ice Center. … The winner of today’s game meets the winner of the second semifinal between No. 5 Robert Morris and sixth-seeded Niagara in Saturday’s 7:05 p.m. championship game. … The Lakers are unbeaten in their last eight games (6-0-2). … They lost two of three games to Canisius in the regular season. Mercyhurst lost only four AHA games overall. … Canisius has won three of the last four meetings and four of the last six with the Lakers. … These rivals have split their last eight playoff matchups. … Junior F Matt Zay (17 goals, 25 assists, 42 points) and senior F Daniel O’Donoghue (14-27-41) are Mercyhurst’s first tandem to reach the 40-point mark since Steve Cameron, Scott Pitt and Matt Pierce in the 2008-09 season. The Lakers have 10 players with at least 20 points and 14 with double-digit points. … Junior G Jimmy

Jimmy Sarjeant

Sarjeant is unbeaten in AHA play (14-0-5). … Freshman D Philippe Drouin (upper body) remains out of the lineup. … Canisius advanced to the semifinals by shutting out 10th-seeded Sacred Heart in both games of their first-round series, and then rallying to upset second-seeded Bentley in a three-game quarterfinal series. The Golden Griffins rallied from a 4-1 deficit to beat Bentley 5-4 in double overtime in Game 2, and then won 3-2 in Game 3. … They have rebounded from a 1-4-1 record to end the regular season. … Senior F Kyle Gibbons leads the team with 15 goals and 37 points. … Junior F Mitch McCrank has 14 points in his past 15 games, including all three goals in the Game 3 win over Bentley. … Sophomore F Ralph Cuddemi, a former Erie Otters draft pick, is second on the team with 28 points (13 goals, 15 assists). … Senior G Tony Capobianco has a 2.75 goals-against average and .916 save percentage.

- Victor Fernandes

Atlantic Hockey Association Tournament schedule
at Blue Cross Arena – Rochester, N.Y.
Semifinals – Today

No. 1 Mercyhurst (21-12-7) vs. No. 7 Canisius (16-20-3), 4:05 p.m.
No. 5 Robert Morris (19-18-5) vs. No. 6 Niagara (17-19-5), approximately 1 hour after first game
Championship game – Saturday
Mercyhurst-Canisius winner vs. RMU-Niagara winner, 7:05 p.m.
Note: The champion earns an automatic bid to the NCAA Division I Tournament. The 16-team field will be unveiled Sunday at noon on ESPNU.

Posted: March 20th, 2014

Mercyhurst Lakers (24-8-4)
Head coach: Michael Sisti, 15th season (387-106-34)
Players to watch: Sr. F Christine Bestland (22

Christine Bestland

goals, 32 assists, 54 points), Jr. G Amanda Makela (22-7-4 record, 1.80 goals-against average, .927 save percentage, 6 shutouts), Jr. D Molly Byrne (3-24-27), So. F Emily Janiga (15-26-41), Sr. F Christie Cicero (16-19-35), So. F Jenna Dingeldein (15-20-35), Jr. F Shelby Bram (8-26-34)
Road to the Frozen Four: def. Syracuse 2-1 (CHA semifinal), lost to Rochester Institute of Technology 2-1 in 2OTs (CHA final), def. Cornell 3-2 (NCAA quarterfinal)
Frozen Four facts: Has reached the Frozen Four for the fourth time (2009-10, 2013-14) during a NCAA-record 10 straight appearances in the national playoffs, but has never won a national championship. … Has a 1-2 Frozen Four record, with the lone win coming against Minnesota in the 2009 semifinals. … Lost to Wisconsin in the 2009 title game. … Lost to Cornell in the 2010 semifinals and Boston University a season ago, both in Minneapolis. … Has a 5-8 record in the NCAA playoffs. … Has a 4-8-4 all-time record against Clarkson, tonight’s semifinal opponent, but went 1-0-1 against the Golden Knights in Potsdam, N.Y., in October (2-0 win and 1-1 tie).
Outlook: The Lakers are decided underdogs as the only unseeded team in the field for the second straight year. They struggled against BU a season ago. Can they claim their first national title in a season where they weren’t even expected to make the NCAA tournament?

Clarkson Golden Knights (29-5-5)
Co-head coach: Matt Desrosiers & Shannon Desrosiers, 6th season (132-68-27)
Players to watch: Sr. F Jamie Lee

Jamie Lee Rattray (Contributed/Clarkson University)

Rattray (28-34-62), So. D Erin Ambrose (14-36-50), Sr. G Erica Howe (29-5-5, 1.03, .944, 14 SO), Sr. F Brittany Styner (13-33-46), Sr. F Carly Mercer (14-31-45), Sr. F Vanessa Gagnon (17-13-30)
Road to the Frozen Four: def. Quinnipiac 6-0 (ECAC semifinal), lost to Cornell 1-0 (ECAC final), def. Boston College 3-1 (NCAA quarterfinal)
Frozen Four facts: Clarkson makes its Frozen Four debut tonight. …The Golden Knights have set a new school record for wins in a season. … Rattray is one of three finalists for the Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award, which honors the national player of the year, stands second in Division I in points. … The Desrosiers are the first husband-wife coaching tandem in college hockey. … Howe, who leads all goaltenders nationally in goals-against average and shutouts, spearheads a Golden Knights’ defense that has allowed one goal or fewer in 31-of-39 games.
Outlook: The Golden Knights enjoyed the best season in program history. But Mercyhurst, their semifinal opponent, proved to be a tough opponent earlier in the season. Can they overcome the Lakers and the nerves that may surface in their first Frozen Four?

Minnesota Golden Gophers (37-1-1)
Head coach: Brad Frost, 7th season (223-37-17)
Players to watch: So. F Hannah Brandt (22-41-63), Jr. F Rachael Bona

Rachael Bona (Contributed/University of Minnesota)

(21-37-58), Sr. F Terry Kelly (21-29-50), Sr. F Sarah Davis (19-28-47), So. G Amanda Leveille (37-1-1, 1.07, .951, 13 SO), Jr. D Rachel Ramsey (12-31-43)
Road to the Frozen Four: def. Minnesota Duluth 4-1 (WCHA semifinal), def. North Dakota 3-1 (WCHA final), def. Boston University 5-1 (NCAA quarterfinal)
Frozen Four facts: Looking for a third straight national championship and fifth overall (2004-05, 2012-13). … Has an 86-1-1 record in the last 88 games. … Had a 62-game winning streak snapped in a 3-2 loss to North Dakota on Nov. 17. … Brandt, the nation’s leading scorer, joins Clarkson’s Rattray and Cornell junior F Jillian Saulnier as finalists for the Kazmaier Award, which will be awarded Saturday. … Only other blemish was a 2-2 tie with Ohio State on Jan. 11. … Has won 17 straight games since then by a combined 80-11 score. … Has 10 players with 28 points or more.
Outlook: This is the powerhouse Golden Gophers’ title to lose. But first they have to get back rival Wisconsin in an all-WCHA semifinal.

Wisconsin Badgers (28-7-2)
Head coach: Mark Johnson, 11th season (335-65-30)
Players to watch: Sr. F Brittany Ammerman (22-21-43), Sr. G Alex Rigsby (17-6-2, 1.17, .950, 7 SO) Jr. F Blayre Turnbull (18-22-40), So. D Courtney Burke (5-21-26), Sr. F Madison Packer (11-11-22)
Road to the Frozen Four: lost to North Dakota 1-0 (WCHA semifinal), def. Harvard 2-1 (NCAA quarterfinal)
Frozen Four facts: Has won four national championships (2006-07, 2009, 2011). … Won their last title by beating Boston University at Tullio Arena in March 2010. … Had four losses in their last nine games. … Johnson was a member of the gold medal-winning Unites States Olympic team that won at Lake Placid, N.Y. … He also coached the U.S. Olympic Women’s Team to a silver medal in 2010 in Vancouver. … Lost all four meetings with Minnesota in the regular season. … Have a NCAA-best 17-3 all-time record in the national playoffs. …
Outlook: The WCHA has won all 14 national championships in tournament history. The conference is guaranteed to have a team in the title game. But will it be the Badgers?

- Victor Fernandes

Posted: March 20th, 2014

The Mercyhurst men’s hockey team captured several awards at the Atlantic Hockey Association’s tournament banquet:

Player of the Year - Jimmy Sarjeant
Goaltender of the Year - Jimmy Sarjeant
Coach of the Year - Rick Gotkin
Best Defensive Forward - Daniel O’Donoghue
Best Defenseman - Nick Jones
Individual Sportsmanship Award - Nick Jones (co-winner)
Regular Season Championship Trophy - Mercyhurst

Posted: March 20th, 2014

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