RIT pretty much got run over by Robert Morris, tallying 35 shots through two games and surrendering 62 and yet they won anyway. How’d they do it? Luck and goaltending I guess. I would not be hopeful for a repeat of last year’s CHA championship in which the 3rd seeded Tigers upset the 1st seeded Lakers in double overtime. RIT won a game versus Mercyhurst and played them close in another contest in 13-14. This year? Four blowouts and 6th place.
Once upon a time, when the Big East was a thing and more than one or two schools in the Big 10 mattered, SU and Penn State were football rivals. With that rivalry largely having evaporated (along with both programs), that rivalry moves to hockey. It helps that the Orange and Nittany Lions have played each other very evenly this year, SU’s massive shot advantage aside.
Here is the key to the game for SU: For the love of god, do not commit penalties. I think this one is going to be as simple as: if SU commits 3 or fewer penalties, they win, if not, they lose.
The biggest question is if someone can upset Mercyhurst, who has been the conference’s NCAA Tournament representative every year. This year is that the CHA Tournament winner receives an auto-bid so SU, Penn State, and RIT are potentially staring into the face of history and the greatest success their programs have ever seen. If they can beat Mercyhurst.
Players to Watch:
Emily Janiga, Mercyhurst (F) – The WNYer has been Mercyhurst’s best player all season leading the team in goals (27), points (45), and shots (142). She’s also the most penalized Laker with 50 PIM so she could be a major factor in either direction.
Stephanie Grossi, Syracuse (F) – The freshman has been near the top of the scoring charts for the Orange, leading in assists (20), points (29), and shots (142).
Akane Hosoyamada, Syracuse (F/D) – The Orange’s captain hasn’t been one of the team’s top producers, but has been a solid utility, playing both forward and defense. From the same hometown as the aforementioned Grossi, I wonder how much the Orange can thank her for that recruitment.
Shannon Yoxheimer, Penn State (F) – Yoxheimer drives the Nittany Lions offense with 161 shots on goal and tallied two in their first round series versus Lindenwood.
Bella Sutton, Penn State, (D) – Sutton led the Nittany Lions in scoring in round 1 with 2 goals and 1 assist. If they’re to avoid getting barraged by shots, the D will need to be sharp.
Ali Binnington, RIT (G) – Goaltending is how they got here and goaltending is how they’ll advance.