Last night, the Lakers of Mercyhurst were in control for most of the game against Niagara. Tonight, their defense played a superb game. Kyle McLellan had another great game in net for Rick Gotkin’s group, but the team in front of him did not score. A team that averages over three goals per game could not solve the Purple Eagles tonight. Instead of heading to West Point fighting to maybe break closer to the top four, the Lakers now head to West Point looking to prove themselves against a physical Army team. If you follow this team, the two nights were a good summation of where they are. When their stupendous speed gets them ahead of the curve , they can beat anyone. If a team like Niagara can play their system and stay within themselves and make the Lakers play through them, the path is tougher. They can win those games, and have ( their comeback against Miami is a good example). However, for the Lakers to upset some apple carts in Atlantic Hockey, the template for them is Friday’s split. Since the Lakers have gotten most of their top end skill back they have pushed play a lot more and are ascendant.
How far they go depends on what chances their skilled players can convert. No one wants to play this team when they are scoring in bunches. Dante Sheriff has the potential to be the best player in Atlantic Hockey and beyond in short order.
As for the finale against Niagara. Gotkin was blunt “we didn’t score.” He adds “it felt like if we scored the one goal we would have won 1-0.” That’s the margin for error with this team. If they make others match them, they will compete with anyone. With other teams leading them, they’ve had to battle even more to overcome adversity and to their credit, have shown an ability to do so time and time again this year. Gotkin finished with saying on the night something that’s true for all teams, but especially prescient for the offensive firepower his team brings night in and night out. “We obviously had to score and we didn’t do that .”
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