#2 Syracuse (11-14-10) vs. #6 RIT (14-18-5), 3 p.m. EST
Syracuse earned a 2-0 win over Penn State in the semifinals to advance to this afternoon’s CHA title game. Allie LaCombe scored shorthanded to get the Orange on the board over halfway through the first period. Though it was held scoreless in the second period, Syracuse dominated the Lions with a 21-4 edge in shots. Kaillie Goodnough added a marker on the power play just over three minutes into the third to seal the deal.
For the second year in a row, RIT earned a huge postseason win over top-seeded Mercyhurst. The Tigers defeated the host Lakers 4-1 to eliminate them from NCAA Tournament contention for the first time since 2004. Mackenzie Stone got the go-ahead goal in the second period, and Cassie Clayton added a goal in the third period to extend the lead to 3-1 before Caitlin Wallace clinched it with an empty-netter.
There is obviously a ton on the line here for both teams, as they will play for the first-ever autobid for the CHA. The Tigers are the defending CHA Tournament champions after knocking off Mercyhurst in double overtime last season. If they can come out on top again this time, they’ll earn a spot in the NCAA Tournament. The key to this one is undoubtedly going to be goaltender Ali Binnington; she holds a 10-1 record in the postseason with a .968 save percentage and 0.92 goals-against average.
For the Orange, they’ll want to stick to what they’ve been doing and just focus on controlling play. They are a pretty efficient team when it comes to generating chances and limiting scoring opportunities for opponents. Though they’re still not the most consistent club, they have what it takes to control the pace of the game and take advantage of whatever breakdowns occur for RIT.
Key Players for Syracuse: F Stephanie Grossi, F Alysha Burriss, D Kaillie Goodnough
Key Players for RIT: G Ali Binnington, F Marissa Magueri, F Mackenzie Stone