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.
 Phone: 814-870-1716
Posts tagged ‘minnesota’
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 16th, 2014

The Mercyhurst women’s hockey team will play in the nightcap in Friday’s semifinals at the NCAA Division I Frozen Four.
The unseeded Lakers (24-8-4) will face third-seeded Clarkson (29-5-5) in the 8 p.m. game at TD Sports Bank Center in Hamden, Conn. Top-seeded and two-time defending champion Minnesota (37-1-1) and No. 4 Wisconsin (28-7-2) meet in the opening semifinal at 5 p.m. The winners move on to the championship game Sunday at 3 p.m.
All three games will be streamed live on

NCAA Women’s Division I Final Four schedule
at TD Sports Bank Center – Hamden, Conn.
Semifinals – Friday*

No. 1 Minnesota (37-1-1) vs. No. 4 Wisconsin (28-7-2), 5 p.m.
Mercyhurst (24-8-4) vs. No. 3 Clarkson (29-5-5), 8 p.m.
Championship game – Sunday*
Minnesota-Wisconsin winner vs. Mercyhurst-Clarkson winner, 3 p.m.
* Streamed live on

Posted: March 15th, 2014

NCAA Women’s Division I Tournament schedule
Quarterfinals – Today

Mercyhurst (23-8-4) at No. 2 Cornell (24-5-2), 3 p.m.
Boston College (27-6-3) at No. 3 Clarkson (28-5-5), 4 p.m.
Boston University (23-12-1) at No. 1 Minnesota (36-1-1), 5 p.m.
Harvard (23-6-4) at No. 4 Wisconsin (27-7-2), 8 p.m.
Semifinals – March 21*
at TD Sports Bank Center – Hamden, Conn.

BU-Minnesota winner vs. Harvard-Wisconsin winner, TBD
Mercyhurst-Cornell winner vs. BC-Clarkson winner, TBD
Championship game – March 23*
at TD Sports Bank Center – Hamden, Conn.

Semifinal winners, TBD
* Streamed live on

Vic’s picks
Mercyhurst 2, No. 2 Cornell 1
Boston College 4, No. 3 Clarkson 2
No. 1 Minnesota 5, Boston University 1
No. 4 Wisconsin 4, Harvard 1
Boston College 4, Mercyhurst 2
Minnesota 3, Wisconsin 1
Championship game
Minnesota 4, Boston College 1

Posted: March 9th, 2014

Check out the Mercyhurst women’s hockey team’s reaction to earning a spot in the NCAA Division I Tournament field today….as well as interviews with head coach Michael Sisti and seniors Christine Bestland and Christie Cicero

NCAA selection breakdown
Boston College - at large (Hockey East)
Boston University - automatic bid (Hockey East champion)
Clarkson - at large (ECAC)
Cornell - automatic bid (ECAC champion)
Harvard - at large (ECAC)
Mercyhurst - at large (CHA)
Minnesota - automatic bid (WCHA champion)
Wisconsin - at large (WCHA)

NCAA Women’s Division I Tournament schedule
Quarterfinals – Saturday

Boston University (23-12-1) at No. 1 Minnesota (36-1-1), 5 p.m.
Mercyhurst (23-8-4) at No. 2 Cornell (24-5-2), 3:30 p.m.
Boston College (27-6-3) at No. 3 Clarkson (28-5-5), 4 p.m.
Harvard (23-6-4) at No. 4 Wisconsin (27-7-2), 8 p.m.
Semifinals – March 21*
at TD Sports Bank Center – Hamden, Conn.

BU-Minnesota winner vs. Harvard-Wisconsin winner, TBD
Mercyhurst-Cornell winner vs. BC-Clarkson winner, TBD
Championship game – March 23*
at TD Sports Bank Center – Hamden, Conn.

Semifinal winners, TBD
* Streamed live on

Posted: March 7th, 2014

ECAC Hockey Tournament
at Cheel Arena – Potsdam, N.Y. (Clarkson University)
Semifinals – Today

No. 1 Clarkson 6, No. 4 Quinnipiac 0
No. 3 Cornell 6, No. 2 Harvard 4
Championship game – Sunday
No. 1 Clarkson (28-4-5) vs. No. 3 Cornell (23-5-4), 1 p.m.

Hockey East Association Tournament
at Lt. Joseph P. Kennedy Memorial Skating Rink – Hyannis, Mass.
Semifinals – Today

No. 1 Boston College 3, No. 4 Vermont 1
No. 2 Boston University 3, No. 3 Northeastern 2
Championship game – Sunday
No. 1 BC (26-5-3) vs. No. 2 BU (22-13-1) 1:30 p.m.

Western Collegiate Hockey Association Tournament
at Sanford Center – Bemidji, Minn. (Bemidji State University)
Semifinals – Friday

No. 3 North Dakota 1, No. 2 Wisconsin 0
No. 1 Minnesota 4, No. 4 Minnesota Duluth 1
Championship game – Saturday
Minnesota 3, North Dakota 1

Posted: March 6th, 2014

Christine Bestland

USA Hockey announced today that Minnesota sophomore F Hannah Brandt, Clarkson senior F Jamie Lee Rattray and Cornell junior F Jillian Saulnier are the three finalists for the Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award, which is awarded to NCAA Division I’s player of the year. Mercyhurst senior F Christine Bestland, who was on the initial list of 10 players, didn’t make the final cut.
The winner will be announced March 22 at the Oakdale Theater in Wallingford, Conn., as part of the NCAA Frozen Four tournament, which is set for March 21 and 23 in Hamden, Conn.

Posted: February 27th, 2014

Christine Bestland

Mercyhurst senior forward Christine Bestland was chosen as one of 10 finalists for the Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award, which annually honors the top NCAA Division I women’s hockey player. Bestland leads the Lakers with 20 goals and tops College Hockey America with 30 assists and 50 points. She also ranks fifth nationally with 1.52 points per game and leads with five short-handed goals. Bestland (90 goals, 132 assists and 222 points in her career) is one of five Lakers to reach the 200-point mark.
The other finalists are goaltender Emerance Maschmeyer (Harvard, sophomore); defenseman Erin Ambrose (Clarkson, sophomore); and forwards Brittany Ammerman (Wisconsin, senior), Kelly Babstock (Quinnipiac, senior),Rachael Bona (Minnesota, junior), Hannah Brandt (Minnesota, sophomore), Sarah Lefort (Boston University, sophomore), Jamie Lee Rattray (Clarkson, senior) and Jillian Saulnier (Cornell, junior).
The selection process began earlier this month with nominations from Division I coaches. Players receiving at least two votes were placed on the ballot. Then the list was trimmed to 10 players by coaches. The top three finalists will be chosen by a 13-person selection committee comprised of Division I coaches, representatives of print and broadcast media, an at-large member and a representative from USA Hockey, the sport’s governing body in this country. The announcement will be made next Thursday. The recipient will be honored March 22 in Wallingford, Conn., as part of the Women’s Frozen Four weekend, which will be hosted by Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Conn.

Patty Kazmaier Award finalists at a glance
D Erin Ambrose, Clarkson, Soph. – 13 goals, 35 assists, 48 points, +39 rating
F Brittany Ammerman, Wisconsin, Sr. – 22 goals, 17 assists, 39 points
Kelly Babstock, Quinnipiac, Sr. – 18 goals, 28 assists, 46 points
F Christine Bestland, Sr., Mercyhurst – 20 goals, 30 assists, 50 points

Rachael Bona (Contributed/University of Minnesota)

F Rachael Bona, Minnesota, Soph. – 20 goals, 32 assists, 52 points
* F Hannah Brandt, Minnesota, Soph. – 19 goals, 36 assists, 55 points
Soph. Sarah Lefort, Boston University, Soph. – 29 goals, 22 assists, 51 points
G Emerance Maschmeyer, Harvard, Soph. – 16-4-4 record, 1.60 goals-against average, .948 save percentage
F Jamie Lee Rattray, Clarkson, Sr. – 26 goals, 29 assists, 55 points

Jamie Lee Rattray (Contributed/Clarkson University)

F Jillian Saulnier, Cornell, Jr. –
* Only player who was a top-10 finalist a season ago

Posted: December 9th, 2013

The Mercyhurst women’s hockey team extended its winning streak to five straight games this past weekend by sweeping a two-game series from Penn State by a combined 15-0 score. Yet the Lakers (12-5-2) didn’t receive a single vote in the latest Division I poll, which was released today. The Lakers were shut out from the rankings for the first time since the final poll of the 2000-01 season on March 19, 2001.
Minnesota (19-1-0) still tops the list with all 15 first-place votes and 150 voting points. Wisconsin (14-2-2), Cornell (10-1-2), North Dakota (10-4-2) and Harvard (9-1-2) completed the top five. Clarkson (13-4-2) stands at No. 6, followed by Boston College (12-4-2), Boston University (14-3-1), Quinnipiac (14-2-5) and Robert Morris (16-3-1). No other teams received votes.
Check out the complete poll below…Meanwhile, senior F and captain Christine Bestland was named College Hockey America player of the week after totaling five points in in two games, including the 200th point of her collegiate career. Division I poll
(first-place votes in parentheses)
No. School Record Points
1. Minnesota (15) 19-1-0 150
2. Wisconsin 14-2-2 134
3. Cornell 10-1-2 118
4. North Dakota 10-4-2 98
5. Harvard 9-1-2 88
6. Clarkson 13-4-2 73
7. Boston College 12-4-2 70
8. Boston University 14-3-1 40
9. Quinnipiac 14-2-5 35
10. Robert Morris 16-3-1 19

* Heading outdoors in Rochester: The Rochester Institute of Technology men’s and women’s hockey teams will play in outdoor games on Saturday at Frontier Field in Rochester, N.Y. Find out more by clicking this link

Posted: October 8th, 2013

The Mercyhurst women’s hockey team dropped out of one national poll. But they are still among the top 10 on one list.
The Lakers, which fell to 1-2-0 with an overtime loss to Ohio State last Saturday at Mercyhurst Ice Center, slipped to 10th from ninth in USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine’s latest Division I ranking. Mercyhurst received 14 voting points, one more than the Buckeyes, who are the top team on the honorable mention list.
Minnesota earned 18-of-19 first-place votes and 189 points to remain No. 1, followed by Boston College (164 points) and Clarkson (one first-place vote and 157 points). Cornell (113 points) and Wisconsin (100) completed the top five. North Dakota (97), Boston University (87), Harvard (52), Minnesota Duluth (51) and Mercyhurst rounded out the list. Quinnipiac (5), Northeastern (2) and Dartmouth (1) also received votes.

Posted: October 7th, 2013

The Mercyhurst men’s hockey team opens the season today with a 7:05 p.m. exhibition game against the University of Guelph at Mercyhurst Ice Center.
The game serves as a warm-up for a challenging start to the regular-season schedule this coming weekend. The Lakers head to Minneapolis to face fifth-ranked Minnesota, a perennial national power from the WCHA, on Friday at 8 p.m. in the opening round of the four-team Ice Breaker Tournament. The Lakers will face either No. 13 New Hampshire or unranked Clarkson on Saturdat at 5 p.m. or 8 p.m. The Lakers received 10 votes in the preseason Division I poll.
Guelph features many past OHL players, including a pair of former Erie Otters – second-year winger Brett Appio and third-year center Phil Teri. Appio, 22, had 15 goals, 24 points and 181 penalty minutes in 80 games with the Otters from 2009-11. Teri, 22, played two games with the Otters in the 2008-09 season.