Coming off last weekend’s CHA Tournament semifinal sweep over Lindenwood, No. 10 Penn State is preparing to play Mercyhurst this weekend for the CHA Tournament Championship.
The first-seeded Nittany Lions will face off against the second-seeded Lakers at Pegula Ice Arena, and the big game will begin at 2 p.m. on Saturday.
Penn State’s CHA record of 14-1-1 has given it the conference’s top seed heading into this weekend. However, Mercyhurst closely follows with an 11-3-2 record in the CHA.
Both teams are coming into Saturday strong following last weekend's performances.
The blue and white swept the black and gold, recording a 2-0 record, while shutting Lindenwood out in both games with 4-1 and 7-1 wins.
Mercyhurst is coming off a sweep over Syracuse, with 5-3 and 6-0 scores.
Penn State has won all but one game against Mercyhurst, but both teams have top players to look out for.
The two teams matched up for a pair of games Nov. 4 and 5, splitting the series one game apiece. The blue and white took the first contest 4-1 but suffered a 3-1 defeat in Game 2.
Penn State and Mercyhurst played another two-game series in Erie, Pennsylvania, on Jan. 22 and 23, in which the Nittany Lions defeated the Lakers 5-2 and 3-2, respectively.
Mercyhurst’s top point-getter, junior forward Sara Boucher, has 16 goals and 21 assists for 37 points in her 35 games played. Boucher scored a combined total of two points against Syracuse last week on one goal and one assist.
Freshman Thea Johansson closely follows with 16 goals and 2o assists for 36 points this season. Johansson scored a total of three goals against Syracuse.
The performance of these top Lakers will be necessary for Mercyhurst's success this weekend.
Junior forward and captain Kiara Zanon is Penn State’s largest offensive threat. With 25 goals and 23 assists, for a total of 48 points, Zanon is a key component to the Nittany Lions’ success. She had one goal against Lindenwood.
Her dynamic duo is freshman forward Tessa Janecke, who’s put up 22 goals and 24 assists.
Last weekend, Janecke had an excellent performance, recording her first career hat trick in the Nittany Lions’ 7-1 victory over Lindenwood in Game 2. Janecke led the team in points for the month of February, scoring five goals and tallying seven assists for 12 points.
Janecke was awarded CHA Rookie of the Year honors from the CHA following a dominant first season in Happy Valley.
Junior forward Olivia Wallin has also had a strong season with a record of 16 goals and 16 assists this season. Wallin contributed one goal in Game 1 against Lindenwood.
The blue and white’s first-string goalie Josie Bothun continues to impress during her junior season, letting in only one of 19 shots on goal on Friday and one out of 15 shots on goal on Saturday.
Bothun will need to keep up her strong performance for Penn State to secure a win over Mercyhurst.
This weekend, either team could come out on top. Looking at both teams’ recent trends, it’s a pretty fair fight.
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