Pittsburgh Hockey Digest

Robert Morris

Mercyhurst Defeats Robert Morris Saturday Afternoon

Justin Berl Photography

ERIE – Vanessa Upson and Thea Johansson scored twice each in a 5-2 Mercyhurst victory on Saturday afternoon at the Mercyhurst Ice Center. The Lakers push the series to a third and deciding game on Sunday with the victory, ruining Robert Morris’ bid for a sixth consecutive College Hockey America Championship game.

Mercyhurst looked every bit a team that was ready to bounce back from a big loss as Thea Johansson and Sara Boucher scored for the Lakers in the first, who held a 21-8 advantage in shots at the outset of the frame.

It took a few minutes in the second frame, but the Colonials jumped back into the contest in a big way as Alaina Giampietro found a rebound at the right circle and fired it past Ena Nystrom to cut the lead to one. Lindsey Smolen tapped home a loose puck after a scramble to tie the contest at two.

“The lesson learned in the room was that you can’t take a period off in the playoffs,” Logan Bittle said. “First period wasn’t good enough. The girls knew that and to their credit their response was fantastic in the second, they gave themselves a chance to win that game. The third period I thought was pretty even. They finished off the good chance they got after the media timeout, credit to them. We know they were going to fight back, fight hard.”

Upson scored on the backhand to give the Lakers the lead in the third just after the final media timeout, while Johansson and Upson added empty netters to seal the game late. For the junior Upson, the goal midway through the third was her 100th point.


The Colonials and Lakers faced off for the twelfth time in the postseason in their shared history with Mercyhurst defeating Robert Morris nine times over that stretch. This is the first time the Colonials and Lakers faced off in a best-of-three series.

The two teams met nine times in the semifinals with the other three contests occurring for the title. The Lakers defeated the Colonials 2-1 in overtime in 2020 and 5-3 in 2018. Robert Morris’ first CHA title came in 2012, defeating Mercyhurst 3-2 at the Island Sports Center.


Robert Morris and Mercyhurst conclude their playoff series with a third and final game from the Mercyhurst Ice Center on Sunday, February 24 at 2:00. The winner of the contest will move on to play Penn State in the College Hockey America Championship next weekend. Face-off is scheduled for 2:00pm on March 2nd at the Pegula Ice Arena in State College, Pennsylvania.

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