Mercyhurst Lakers men's ice hockey

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Mercyhurst Lakers men's ice hockey
Mercyhurst Lakers men's ice hockey athletic logo
UniversityMercyhurst University
Head coachRick Gotkin
32nd season, 559–419–93 (.565)
ArenaMercyhurst Ice Center
Capacity: 1,500
LocationErie, Pennsylvania
ColorsForest Green and Navy Blue[1]
NCAA Tournament appearances
1991, 1993, 1995, 2001, 2003, 2005
Conference Tournament championships
1995, 2001, 2003, 2005
Conference regular season championships
Current uniform

The Mercyhurst Lakers men’s ice hockey team is a National Collegiate Athletic Association hockey team that represents Mercyhurst University in Erie, Pennsylvania under Head Coach Rick Gotkin. The team is currently a Division I hockey team playing out of the Mercyhurst Ice Center located on the school campus. The Mercyhurst Lakers started out as a club sport at the school, moving up to Division III, followed by Division II, and now plays Division I in the Atlantic Hockey Association conference. After joining their step up into Division I in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference in 1998, the Lakers have won their conference tournament making NCAA tournament appearances in 2001, 2003, and 2005.


Club Sport[edit]

Student, Chris Cuzzola, who was a student at Mercyhurst playing club hockey at Gannon University, happened to talk to former president of Mercyhurst University, William Garvey, about hockey.[2] As a result of this, hockey would be instated as a club sport competing in the Erie Senior Hockey League for the 1986-1987 season.[3] The coach for the first club season was Bob Cisek who was a Mercyhurst professor at the time. At the club level in the Erie Senior Hockey League, the Lakers went 15-0-3, finishing first in the league.[4]

Division II & Division III[edit]

After just 1 year at the club level, the Mercyhurst Lakers began an independent trial run at the varsity level, Division III in the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference (ECAC) South hockey league. Mercyhurst Athletic Director John Leisering stated, “The administration was immediately enthusiastic about a possible move to varsity status and with the support of the hockey people, the move was approved after just a few months.”[5]

Named head coach for the Lakers in their first season at the Division III level was Fred Lane. Lane was one of the founding members for the Gannon University Golden Knights club hockey and was affiliated with the Gannon hockey program since 1967. As a player, he was Most Valuable Player his sophomore, junior, and senior years and coached the team in 1973 returning in 1978. In 10 seasons as the head coach for the Golden Knights, Lane had a record of 153-47-14 winning 2 Western Pennsylvania College Hockey Association league championships, 6 division championships, and was named WPCHA coach of the year 3 times. In addition to coaching, he was a member of the Amateur Hockey Association of the United States (AHAUS) and the Ontario Coaches Association.[3]

Along with Head Coach Fred Lane, was Associate Coach Bob Cisek who ran the program a year ago at the club level. For the 1987-1988 season, the Lakers had a very competitive schedule in their first season as a Division III team playing a combination of both club and varsity teams. The Lakers opened up their first NCAA Division III season on Saturday, October 31 at West Chester University of Pennsylvania playing their home games at both the Erie Civic Center and Glenwood Ice Rink.[6] The highlight of the season being the game against Division I Notre Dame Fighting Irish men's ice hockey on November 25[6] which they lost 7-3. With 18 of the 28 players being freshmen on the team, Mercyhurst Lakers ended their first varsity season going 16-7-0.[7]

Following the 1987-1988 season, on April 29 of 1988, Mercyhurst College Athletic Director John Leisering named Rick Gotkin as head coach of the team saying, “Rick’s playing, coaching, and recruiting credentials were just the mix Mercyhurst was looking for.”[8] At 28 years of age, Rick Gotkin comes from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, which played at the Division I level in the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference where Gotkin served as Assistant Varsity Hockey Coach for the past 2 years (1986-1988). Before Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Gotkin was a coach at SUNY-Brockport (Division III), coached the Enschede Lions in the Netherlands, was Head Coach at SUNY-Canton (NCAA-Junior College), and was Head Coach of the Fife Flyers of the British Hockey League. After coaching Rensselaer, was hired as Head Coach for the Mercyhurst Lakers.[8]

For the 1988-1989 season, the Mercyhurst Lakers played in the ECAC-West Division alongside SUNY-Brockport, Canisius College, SUNY-Fredonia, SUNY-Potsdam and St. Bonaventure University.[8] In the Lakers first full season as a NCAA Division III program, the Lakers took a record of 11-16-1 under new Head Coach Rick Gotkin.[7] The first time the Lakers would be ranked was in the 1990-1991 season where they ranked 9th in the short history of the team.[9] During the 1991-1992, the Mercyhurst Lakers opened up their new rink on campus, the Mercyhurst Ice Center. According to the first Division II poll released, the Mercyhurst Lakers ranked 2nd in the 1992-1993 season only behind Bemidji State University.[10] In that season, the Lakers finished with 2 wins and 3 losses against Division I teams. The wins coming against Kent State University and the University of Alabama-Huntsville and the losses coming from Kent State and two from the University of Alaska-Anchorage.[10] The first time the team would be ranked 1st in their history was in December 1994.[11] In the 1994-1995 season, the Lakers went 23-3-2 coming out with their first ever ECAC-West division championship and placing second in the NCAA Division II play-offs.[12]

In September 1997, while the Meryhurst Lakers were playing in the ECAC-West division, the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) rounded up 8 teams to form a Division I hockey conference. Joining the conferences of Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference, Hockey East, Central Collegiate Hockey Association, and Western Collegiate Hockey Association in NCAA Division I men’s ice hockey with 48 schools playing in 5 Division I conferences. The MAAC included Canisius College, Fairfield University, and Iona College (New York) as full members with American International College (AIC), University of Connecticut, Holy Cross College, Quinnipiac College, and Sacred Heart University as associate members with visions of Bentley University and Mercyhurst joining for the 1999-2000 season making the conference 10 teams.[13]

Division I[edit]

In May 1998, the Mercyhurst Board of Trustees approved the transition from Division II non-scholarship to play Division I ice hockey in the NCAA.[14] The Lakers ended their long association with the Eastern College Athletic Conference West division to play Division I hockey in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference. In the Lakers first full season at the Division I level in the 1999-2000 season, Mercyhurst went 20-14-2 with Rick Gotkin still as Head Coach of the team.[7] In 2003, the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference reorganized to create the Atlantic Hockey Association with Quinnipiac, Connecticut, AIC, Canisius, Holy Cross, Sacred Heart, Bentley, Army Black Knights, and Mercyhurst as the 9 members of the league.

Currently the Atlantic Hockey Association contains 11 teams; Mercyhurst, AIC, Niagara University, Robert Morris University, Air Force Falcons, Army, Canisius, Sacred Heart, Bentley, Holy Cross, and Rochester Institute of Technology.

Season-by-season results[15][edit]

All-time coaching records[edit]

As of the completion of 2018–19 season[15]

Tenure Coach Years Record Pct.
1987–1988 Fred Lane 1 16–7–0 .696
1988–Present Rick Gotkin 30 559–418–93 .566
Totals 2 coaches 31 seasons 575–425–93 .569

Awards and honors[edit]



AHCA Second Team All-Americans

ECAC West[edit]

Individual Awards[edit]

All-Conference Teams[edit]

First Team All-ECAC

Second Team All-ECAC


Individual Awards[edit]

All-Conference Teams[edit]

First Team All-MAAC

Second Team All-MAAC

MAAC All-Rookie Team

Atlantic Hockey[edit]

Individual Awards[edit]

All-Conference Teams[edit]

First Team All-Atlantic Hockey

Second Team All-Atlantic Hockey

Third Team All-Atlantic Hockey

Atlantic Hockey All-Rookie Team

Mercyhurst Ice Center[edit]

Before the opening of the Mercyhurst Ice Center, the Mercyhurst Lakers played their games at the Erie Civic Center and Glenwood Ice Rink. Due to constantly being on the road, the Lakers team referred to themselves as “The Boys On The Bus”. Needing a rink on campus, Mercyhurst President, William Garvey, found a deal to fund the building for a rink on campus.[16] On December 8, 1991, the Lakers began to play in the Mercyhurst Ice Center located on the Mercyhurst University campus.[17] They opened the new rink against the Rochester Institute of Technology that they lost 5-4.[7]

Notable alumni[edit]

Jamie Hunt, Mercyhurst 2003-2006.[18] Nick Jones, Mercyhurst 2010-2014.[18] T.J. Kemp, Mercyhurst 2001-2005.[18] Ryan Zapolski, Mercyhurst 2007-2011.[18]

Current roster[edit]

As of June 28, 2019.[19]

No. S/P/C Player Class Pos Height Weight DoB Hometown Previous team NHL rights
1 Quebec Stefano Cantali Junior G 5' 11" (1.8 m) 180 lb (82 kg) 1997-06-13 Montreal, Quebec Longueuil (QJHL)
2 Ontario Cade Townend Freshman D 6' 1" (1.85 m) 200 lb (91 kg) 1999-06-17 Carleton Place, Ontario Carleton Place (CCHL)
3 New York (state) Brendan Riley (A) Senior F 6' 1" (1.85 m) 180 lb (82 kg) 1996-03-29 West Point, New York Boston Jr. Bruins (USPHL)
4 Ontario Quinn Wichers (C) Junior D 6' 4" (1.93 m) 215 lb (98 kg) 1997-08-19 Metcalfe, Ontario Kemptville (CCHL)
5 New York (state) Michael Bevilacqua (A) Sophomore D 6' 1" (1.85 m) 220 lb (100 kg) 1997-05-07 Hamburg, New York Green Bay (USHL)
6 Manitoba Dylan Thiessen Sophomore F 6' 0" (1.83 m) 185 lb (84 kg) 1998-01-09 Winnipeg, Manitoba Virden (MJHL)
7 Ontario Devon Daniels Sophomore D 6' 1" (1.85 m) 181 lb (82 kg) 1998-04-28 Thunder Bay, Ontario Ottawa (CCHL)
8 Ontario Owen Norton Sophomore D 5' 9" (1.75 m) 161 lb (73 kg) 1998-06-19 Ancaster, Ontario Surrey (BCHL)
9 New York (state) Justin Cmunt Freshman F 5' 10" (1.78 m) 183 lb (83 kg) 1998-01-28 East Amherst, New York Shreveport (NAHL)
10 Ontario Geoff Kitt Sophomore F 6' 3" (1.91 m) 179 lb (81 kg) 1997-02-09 Dryden, Ontario Carleton Place (CCHL)
11 Ohio Steven Ipri Sophomore F 5' 11" (1.8 m) 154 lb (70 kg) 1998-03-13 Broadview Heights, Ohio Lone Star (NAHL)
13 Pennsylvania Paul Maust Freshman F 5' 10" (1.78 m) 168 lb (76 kg) 1998-06-24 Butler, Pennsylvania Green Bay (USHL)
14 Ohio Gueorgui Feduolov Freshman F 5' 9" (1.75 m) 185 lb (84 kg) 1998-12-10 Mentor, Ohio Shreveport (NAHL)
15 Ontario Dante Spagnuolo Freshman F 6' 0" (1.83 m) 180 lb (82 kg) 1998-09-04 Newmarket, Ontario North York (OJHL)
16 Ontario Ashton Stockie Freshman D 6' 1" (1.85 m) 190 lb (86 kg) 1999-07-15 Stratford, Ontario North York (OJHL)
18 Pennsylvania Dalton Hunter Sophomore F 6' 3" (1.91 m) 201 lb (91 kg) 1997-09-26 Greensburg, Pennsylvania Dubuque (USHL)
19 Ontario Corey Caruso Junior F 5' 11" (1.8 m) 187 lb (85 kg) 1996-04-06 Hamilton, Ontario Brockville (CCHL)
20 New Jersey Khristian Acosta Freshman F 5' 7" (1.7 m) 176 lb (80 kg) 1998-05-05 Port Monmouth, New Jersey Tri-City (USHL)
21 New York (state) Joseph Duszak Junior D 5' 10" (1.78 m) 185 lb (84 kg) 1997-07-22 Franklin Square, New York P. A. L. (USPHL)
22 Ontario Brendan Schneider Freshman F 5' 9" (1.75 m) 175 lb (79 kg) 1998-08-26 Wellesley, Ontario Merritt (BCHL)
23 New York (state) Jonny Lazarus Senior F 6' 0" (1.83 m) 191 lb (87 kg) 1996-03-22 Syosset, New York UMass (HEA)
24 Minnesota Ethan Johnson Sophomore F 5' 11" (1.8 m) 165 lb (75 kg) 1997-12-13 Newfolden, Minnesota Waterloo (USHL)
25 Ontario Joseph Maziarz Freshman D 5' 11" (1.8 m) 190 lb (86 kg) 1999-02-23 Waterloo, Ontario North York (OJHL)
26 New Jersey Jonathan Bendorf Freshman F 6' 0" (1.83 m) 180 lb (82 kg) 1999-02-26 Yardville, New Jersey Aberdeen (NAHL)
27 New York (state) James Anderson Senior F 5' 9" (1.75 m) 168 lb (76 kg) 1996-10-20 Kings Park, New York P. A. L. (USPHL)
28 Wisconsin Carver Watson Freshman D 5' 11" (1.8 m) 175 lb (79 kg) 1998-03-03 Appleton, Wisconsin Vernon (BCHL)
29 Saskatchewan Josh McDougall Sophomore D 5' 10" (1.78 m) 170 lb (77 kg) 1998-06-19 Prince Albert, Saskatchewan Nipawin (SJHL)
33 Pennsylvania Colin DeAugustine Senior G 5' 9" (1.75 m) 165 lb (75 kg) 1995-05-25 Burgettstown, Pennsylvania Youngstown (USHL)
39 Utah Garrett Metcalf Senior (RS) G 6' 4" (1.93 m) 190 lb (86 kg) 1996-03-05 Salt Lake City, Utah UMass Lowell (HEA) ANA, 179th overall 2015

Lakers in the NHL[edit]