|Mercyhurst Lakers men's ice hockey|
|Head coach||Rick Gotkin|
36th season, 598–501–103 (.540)
|Arena||Mercyhurst Ice Center|
|Colors||Forest green and navy blue|
|NCAA Tournament Runner-up|
|DII: 1993, 1995|
|NCAA Tournament appearances|
|DIII: 1991, DII: 1993, 1995, DI: 2001, 2003, 2005|
|Conference Tournament championships|
|DII: 1995, DI: 2001, 2003, 2005|
|Conference regular season championships|
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.
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. 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. 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.
Division II & Division III
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.”
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 153–14–14, 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.
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. The highlight of the season being the game against Division I Notre Dame Fighting Irish men's ice hockey on November 25 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.
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.” 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.
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. In the Lakers first full season as an NCAA Division III program, the Lakers took a record of 11–1–1 under new Head Coach Rick Gotkin. 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. 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. 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. The first time the team would be ranked 1st in their history was in December 1994. 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.
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.
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. 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. 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 10 teams; Mercyhurst, AIC, Niagara University, Air Force Falcons, Army, Canisius, Sacred Heart, Bentley, Holy Cross, and Rochester Institute of Technology.
All-time coaching records
As of the completion of 2022–23 season
|Totals||2 coaches||36 seasons||614–508–103||.543|
Career points leaders
Statistics current through the start of the 2022–23 season.
Awards and honors
- 1990-91: Scott Burfoot F
- 1992-93: Andrew Moir D
- 1994-95: Justin Proud D
- 1995-96: Kevin McKinnon F
- 1996-97: John Evangelista F
- 1997-98: John Evangelista F
- 2018–19: Joseph Duszak, D
Player of the Year
Rookie of the Year
First Team All-ECAC
Second Team All-ECAC
- 2003–04: Mike Carter, F; David Wrigley, F
- 2004–05: Conrad Martin, D; David Wrigley, F
- 2005–06: Ben Cottreau, F
- 2007–08: Ben Cottreau, F
- 2008–09: Ryan Zapolski, G; Steve Cameron, F; Matt Pierce, F
- 2009–10: Brandon Coccimigilo, F
- 2010–11: Ryan Zapolski, G
- 2012–13: Ryan Misiak, F
- 2013–14: Dan O'Donoghue, F
- 2014–15: Ryan Misiak, F
- 2016–17: Derek Barach, F
- 2017–18: Brandon Wildung, G; Joseph Duszak, D; Jack Riley, F; Derek Barach, F
- 2020–21: Joseph Maziarz, D; Jon Bendorf, F; Carson Brière, F
- 2022–23: Eric Esposito, F
- 2003–04: Jamie Hunt, D
- 2004–05: Ben Cottreau, F
- 2005–06: Chris Trafford, F
- 2006–07: Cullen Eddy, D
- 2007–08: Jeff Terminesi, D
- 2008–09: Phil Ginand, F
- 2010–11: Taylor Holstrom, F
- 2011–12: Tyler Shiplo, D; Dan Bahntge, F
- 2014–15: Jack Riley, F
- 2015–16: Lester Lancaster, D; Derek Barach, F
- 2018–19: Josh McDougall, D
- 2020–21: Austin Heidemann, F; Carson Brière, F
- 2022–23: Owen Say, G
Mercyhurst Ice Center
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. On December 8, 1991, the Lakers began to play in the Mercyhurst Ice Center located on the Mercyhurst University campus. They opened the new rink against the Rochester Institute of Technology that they lost 5–4.
As of September 14, 2023.
|No.||S/P/C||Player||Class||Pos||Height||Weight||DoB||Hometown||Previous team||NHL rights|
|1||Matt Lenz||Junior||G||5' 11" (1.8 m)||170 lb (77 kg)||1999-06-02||Grapevine, Texas||Steinbach (MJHL)||—|
|2||Philip Waugh||Senior||F||6' 4" (1.93 m)||217 lb (98 kg)||2000-01-10||McLean, Virginia||P. A. L. (NCDC)||—|
|3||Jake Beaune||Junior||D||6' 3" (1.91 m)||195 lb (88 kg)||2000-06-13||Livonia, Michigan||Lincoln (USHL)||—|
|4||Jaryd Sych||Freshman||D||6' 2" (1.88 m)||194 lb (88 kg)||2003-02-10||Airdrie, Alberta||Notre Dame (SJHL)||—|
|5||Jackson McCarthy||Freshman||D||6' 1" (1.85 m)||205 lb (93 kg)||2002-09-27||West Seneca, New York||Northeast (NAHL)||—|
|6||Trent Sambrook||Freshman||D||5' 9" (1.75 m)||165 lb (75 kg)||2002-01-03||Winnipeg, Manitoba||Winkler (MJHL)||—|
|7||Tyler DesRochers||Freshman||D||6' 0" (1.83 m)||185 lb (84 kg)||2003-04-02||Howell, New Jersey||Johnstown (NAHL)||—|
|8||Tyler Gaulin||Sophomore||F||6' 0" (1.83 m)||178 lb (81 kg)||2001-11-09||Kingston, New Hampshire||Maine (NAHL)||—|
|9||Sean James||Freshman||F||6' 0" (1.83 m)||161 lb (73 kg)||2002-09-10||Almonte, Ontario||Smiths Falls (CCHL)||—|
|10||Steven Agriogianis||Senior||F||5' 9" (1.75 m)||175 lb (79 kg)||1999-01-07||East Hanover, New Jersey||Northeastern (HEA)||—|
|11||Barrett Brooks||Sophomore||F||5' 8" (1.73 m)||170 lb (77 kg)||2001-12-19||Stevens Point, Wisconsin||Western Michigan (NCHC)||—|
|12||Dustin Geregach||Junior||D||6' 0" (1.83 m)||181 lb (82 kg)||2001-11-14||McKees Rocks, Pennsylvania||Johnstown (NAHL)||—|
|14||Boris Skalos||Freshman||F||5' 11" (1.8 m)||176 lb (80 kg)||2003-01-06||Clifton, New Jersey||Fargo (USHL)||—|
|15||Tommy Bannister||Sophomore||F||5' 9" (1.75 m)||180 lb (82 kg)||2001-09-05||Clayton, New York||New Jersey (NAHL)||—|
|16||Ryan Coughlin||Sophomore||F||6' 0" (1.83 m)||180 lb (82 kg)||2001-02-09||Charlotte, North Carolina||New Jersey (NAHL)||—|
|18||Davis Fry||Freshman||F||6' 4" (1.93 m)||194 lb (88 kg)||2003-08-04||Regina, Saskatchewan||Steinbach (MJHL)||—|
|19||Garrett Dahm||Junior||F||6' 1" (1.85 m)||175 lb (79 kg)||2000-06-29||Belleville, Illinois||Youngstown (USHL)||—|
|20||Keanan Stewart||Senior||F||6' 3" (1.91 m)||195 lb (88 kg)||2000-04-29||Elmira, Ontario||Burlington (OJHL)||—|
|21||Mickey Burns||Senior||F||5' 9" (1.75 m)||175 lb (79 kg)||2000-04-03||Wayne, New Jersey||Vermont (HEA)||—|
|22||Kyler Head||Senior||F||6' 4" (1.93 m)||215 lb (98 kg)||1999-07-13||Malone, New York||Robert Morris (AHA)||—|
|23||Cameron Ricotta||Freshman||F||5' 8" (1.73 m)||170 lb (77 kg)||2002-05-17||Cheektowaga, New York||Fairbanks (NAHL)||—|
|24||Marko Reifenberger||Senior||F||6' 0" (1.83 m)||190 lb (86 kg)||1999-01-19||Hastings, Minnesota||Minnesota Magicians (NAHL)||—|
|26||Spencer Smith||Freshman||F||5' 8" (1.73 m)||174 lb (79 kg)||2002-05-20||St. Catharines, Ontario||Penticton (BCHL)||—|
|27||Nicholas Kent||Sophomore||D||5' 10" (1.78 m)||190 lb (86 kg)||2001-02-01||Anaheim, California||Vernon (BCHL)||—|
|28||Tyler Nasca||Sophomore||D||5' 11" (1.8 m)||160 lb (73 kg)||2001-01-09||Buffalo, New York||Lone Star (NAHL)||—|
|29||Adrien Bisson||Graduate||D||6' 2" (1.88 m)||185 lb (84 kg)||1999-01-18||Cornwall, Ontario||Maine (HEA)||—|
|31||Owen Say||Sophomore||G||6' 2" (1.88 m)||175 lb (79 kg)||2001-06-05||London, Ontario||Salmon Arm (BCHL)||—|
|37||Connor Pelc||Freshman||F||6' 2" (1.88 m)||194 lb (88 kg)||2003-04-28||Buffalo, New York||Sioux Falls (USHL)||—|
|39||Will Margel||Junior||F||5' 9" (1.75 m)||165 lb (75 kg)||2001-03-16||Potomac, Maryland||New Hampshire (HEA)||—|
|44||Simon Bucheler||Freshman||G||6' 2" (1.88 m)||188 lb (85 kg)||2002-03-29||Saint-Laurent, Quebec||Shreveport (NAHL)||—|
This is a list of Mercyhurst alumni were a part of an Olympic team.
As of July 1, 2022.