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 ‘Vaila Higson’
Posted: March 22nd, 2013

MINNEAPOLIS – The Mercyhurst women’s hockey team returned to the site of its last Frozen Four game – University of Minnesota’s Ridder Arena.
This experience wasn’t any better. The Lakers fell behind 13 seconds into their NCAA Division I semifinal matchup with Boston University. They never recovered on the way to a season-ending 4-1 loss Friday night that ended Mercyhurst’s hopes at the program’s first national championship.
Instead, the third-seeded Terriers (28-5-3) will play for the title Sunday at 4 p.m. against defending champion Minnesota at Ridder Arena. The host Golden Gophers (40-0-0) beat No. 4 Boston College 3-2 in overtime in the opening semifinal to extend their winning streak to 48 straight games.
The Terriers, which have won 10 straight games, have reached the title game for the second time in the past three seasons. They beat Cornell in the semifinals before losing to Wisconsin 4-1 in the championship game at Erie Insurance Arena.
Mercyhurst (29-7-1) finished the season one win shy of matching the most single-season wins in program history. Mercyhurst avoided the shutout on Christie Cicero‘s 14th goal of the season with 1:53 left in the game. Christine Bestland and Vaila Higson assisted on the goal.

NCAA Women’s Frozen Four schedule
at Ridder Arena – Minneapolis, Minn.
Semifinals – Friday

No. 1 Minnesota 3, No. 4 Boston College 2 (OT)
No. 3 Boston University 4, Mercyhurst 1
Championship game – Sunday
Minnesota (40-0-0) vs. Boston University (28-5-3), 4 p.m.
Note: The title game will be streamed live on


Boston Univ. 4, Mercyhurst 1
Mercyhurst 0 0 1 — 1
Boston Univ. 1 1 2 — 4
1st Period —
1. BU, Jenelle Kohanchuk 24 (Poulin, Fratkin), :13. Penalties — Bestland (M) tripping, 4:41; Lefort (B) slashing, 8:08.
2nd Period — 2. BU, Isabel Menard 16 (Warren), 1:00. Penalties — Cicero (M) body checking, 3:03; Dingeldein (M) roughing, 5:14; Warren (B) roughing, 5:14; Lefort (B) elbowing, 11:40; Dingeldein (M) roughing, 11:40; Stoneburgh (B) 5-min. grasping the facemask, 11:40; Byrne (M) body checking, 14:21.
3rd Period — 3. BU, Kathryn Miller 2 (Kohanchuk), 3:02. 4. BU, Marie-Philip Poulin 18 (unassisted), 9:57. 4. Mercyhurst, Christie Cicero 14 (Bestland, Higson), 18:07. Penalties — BU, too many players on the ice, 12:26; Fratkin (B) interference, 15:44.
Shots on goal — Mercyhurst, 6-11-11—28; BU, 12-16-4—32.
Goaltenders — Mercyhurst, Stephanie Ciampa 19-2-0 (32 shots, 28 saves); BU, Kerrin Sperry 24-4-3 (28 shots, 27 saves).
Power plays — Mercyhurst (0-5), BU (0-2).

Posted: March 7th, 2013

No. 9 Mercyhurst University (26-6-1) vs. Robert Morris (15-14-13)
Syracuse (19-14-1) vs. Rochester Institute of Technology (16-15-5)

When: Today, 1:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m.; Saturday, 3 p.m.
Where: Mercyhurst Ice Center
On the air: (live stream), (live statistics)
What to expect: Mercyhurst begins its quest for a 10th College Hockey America tournament championship in the last 11 years with a healthy lineup. Junior F Christie Cicero (severe concussion, sprained neck) rejoined the lineup Feb. 23 against RIT. … The Lakers can capture their 12th conference title in the last 13 years, dating back to the 2000-01 season in the Great Lakes Women’s Hockey Association. … Win or lose, the Lakers learn if they will make a NCAA-record ninth straight NCAA Division I tournament appearance when the eight-team field is unveiled Sunday at 6 p.m. on … Mercyhurst lost the first three regular-season meetings with defending CHA champion Robert Morris before posting a 9-1 home win Feb. 9. … The Lakers swept all four respective meetings with Syracuse and RIT. … Junior F Christine Bestland finished the regular season ranked fourth nationally with 40 assists, fifth with 66 points and ninth with 26 goals. She also tied for second with 10 power-play goals and tied for eighth with six game-winning goals. … Sophomore Ds Molly Byrne and and Vaila Higson were tied for fifth among all defensemen with 31 points apiece. … F Emily Janiga is third among all freshmen with 40 points, one spot ahead of F Jenna Dingeldein (39 points). … Senior G Stephanie Ciampa ranks second with a .944 winning percentage (17-1-0), fourth with a 1.40 goals-against average, tied for seventh with a .935 save percentage and tied for eighth with four shutouts. … RMU needed two wins last weekend over Lindenwood, including a three-overtime victory in the opener, to reach the semifinals. … RIT, which beat Penn State twice by one goal last weekend, looks for a CHA championship in its first season in the league and at the D-I level. … Syracuse reached the title game two of the last three years.

- Victor Fernandes

Posted: February 25th, 2013

The Mercyhurst University women’s hockey team claimed all three of College Hockey America’s weekly awards Monday. Sophomore defenseman Vaila Higson was named player of the week for totaling four points in a sweep of Rochester Institute of Technology this past weekend. Senior Stephanie Ciampa was named goaltender of the week for stopping a combined 38-of-41 shots in the two wins. Forward Jenna Dingeldein was named rookie of the week after contributing a goal and four points against RIT.
In other news, Mercyhurst (26-6-1) remained ninth in the latest Division I poll, which was released Monday. The Lakers earned 38 voting points. Minnesota (34-0-0) stayed No. 1 while Cornell (23-5-1) slipped past Boston College (25-5-3) for the second spot.
Boston University (23-5-3) and Clarkson (26-8-0) completed the top five. The final five were Wisconsin (21-9-2), Harvard (20-5-3), North Dakota (23-10-1), Mercyhurst and Northeastern (21-10-2).

Posted: February 21st, 2013

Rochester Institute of Technology (14-13-5, 7-6-5 CHA) at No. 9 Mercyhurst University (24-6-1, 15-3-0)
When: Friday, 3 p.m.; Saturday, 2 p.m.
Where: Mercyhurst Ice Center
On the air: (live stream), (live statistics)
What to expect: Mercyhurst enters the final weekend of the regular season already having clinched a 12th straight College Hockey America regular-season championship and top seed in the upcoming conference tournament. The Lakers and second-seeded Syracuse will have byes in next weekend’s first round, which features the other four teams in best-of-three series for the first time in CHA history. The Lakers will host the semifinals and title game March 8-9. … Mercyhurst swept a season-opening, two-game series from CHA newcomer RIT, 6-2 and 7-0, in Rochester, N.Y., Sept. 28-29 behind junior F Christine Bestland‘s three goals and seven points. … RIT needs one win to secure a winning record in its first NCAA Division I season. The Tigers, which will have home-ice advantage in a first-round playoff series, need one point to earn the third seed. They lead Robert Morris and Lindenwood by four points with two games left. Penn State has clinched the sixth seed. … Bestland ranks third nationally with 39 assists and fifth with 63 points. She’s also tied for second with nine power-play goals and tied for sixth with six game-winning goals. … Sophomore D Molly Byrne is tied for fourth among all defensemen with 30 points. Sophomore D Vaila Higson has moved into the top 10 with 27 points. … F Emily Janiga is third among all freshmen with 39 points, one spot ahead of F Jenna Dingeldein (35 points). … Senior G Stephanie Ciampa ranks second with a .938 winning percentage, fifth with a 1.39 goals-against average, seventh with a .935 save percentage and tied for sixth with four shutouts.

- Victor Fernandes

Posted: December 3rd, 2012

The Mercyhurst University women’s hockey team remains fourth in the latest Division I poll, which was released Monday.
The Lakers (14-1-1), which swept a two-game College Hockey America series from Penn State by a combined 12-1 this past weekend, is eight voting points behind third-ranked Cornell (10-3-0). Minnesota (18-0-0) remains No. 1 with all 15 first-place votes and 150 points.
Clarkson (13-3-0) is still second while Harvard (8-1-0) moved into fifth. Boston College (10-3-2), Boston University (11-3-1), North Dakota (11-5-0), Wisconsin (10-6-2) and Northeastern (9-5-2) completed the top 10.
In other Lakers news, sophomore defenseman Vaila Higson was named CHA’s player of the week for totaling two goals and five points in the wins against Penn State. She has 20 points on the season and has averaged 1.25 points per game in a six-game point streak. Freshman forward Jaclyn Arbour was named rookie of the week for scoring her first two collegiate goals in Saturday’s win. Sophomore goaltender Amanda Makela was named to the honor roll for her shutout Friday night.

Posted: September 29th, 2012

ROCHESTER, N.Y. – The Mercyhurst University women’s hockey team didn’t start fast this time around.
The 10th-ranked Lakers didn’t score in the first period after scoring twice in the opening 18 seconds in Friday’s season opener.
But the Lakers responded strong in the final two periods of a 7-0 College Hockey America win against Rochester Institute of Technology Saturday afternoon in front of 630 at James Ritter Memorial Ice Arena. Mercyhurst (2-0-0, 2-0-0 CHA) swept the season-opening series from the Tigers (0-2-0, 0-2-0), which are in their first season as a NCAA Division I program.
Freshman Emily Janiga provided the offensive spark with the first three goals and four points of her collegiate career. She snapped a scoreless tie 8 minutes, 15 seconds into the second period, and scored again 5 minutes later. She also assisted on Shelby Bram‘s goal that opened a 3-0 lead with 1:13 left in the period.
Janiga capped her first career hat trick 6:31 into the third. Christine Bestland scored twice in the period – her second and third goals of the season – and added two assists for a four-point outing. Kelsey Welch, one of three transfers from Niagara, scored her first goal as a Laker. Fellow transfers Jenna Hendrikx and Kaleigh Chippy had an assist apiece. Molly Byrne and Vaila Higson each had two assists for the Lakers, which went 3-for-9 on the power play after failing on all eight chances Friday.
Senior goaltender Stephanie Ciampa stopped all 17 shots she faced for her first career shutout in her sixth career start. The Lakers head to Hamden, Conn., next weekend for a two-game non-conference series at Quinnipiac.

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