After three years as an assistant men's coach at Canisius College in Buffalo, Sisti came to Mercyhurst in 1993 and spent his first six years as men's varsity assistant coach and then associate head coach. He was named head coach of the new women's program in March of 1999 and began the task of building a Division I program and of making it competitive as soon as possible. In nine seasons, he's done just that.
He was chosen USCHO.com Coach of the Year in 2006-07 and his teams have averaged nearly 25 wins a season (221 total so far). The 2007-08 squad finished 26-8-3 and was ranked seventh in the final polls.
However, another terrific season ended abruptly Saturday, March 15, with a 5-4 loss at Minnesota Duluth in the NCAA Quarterfinals. After tying with Wayne State for the regular season title, the Lakers won their 6th straight College Hockey America Playoffs with a 2-1 overtime win over the Warriors on March 8 at Niagara University.
Mercyhurst featured eight newcomers in 2007-2008. The Lakers lost 10 players from the 2006-2007, 32-win team, seven to graduation. There were large holes to fill at both ends of the ice, but especially on the blue line, a major reason why Mercyhurst had the second-best scoring defense in Division I in 2006-2007.
The Lakers have made the NCAA playoffs for the last four years. In 2005, Mercyhurst lost at Harvard 5-4 in an epic triple-overtime thriller. For his efforts, Sisti was named Division I Women's Coach of the Year in early April.
The Lakers made it back-to-back NCAA appearances in 2006 but suffered another heart-breaking defeat, this time to Wisconsin 2-1 in double overtime in Madison. Wisconsin went on to win the national championship with wins over St. Lawrence and Minnesota.
Mercyhurst hosted its first-ever Division I NCAA playoff game on March 9, 2007, and, for the third straight year, lost in the quarterfinals, this time to Minnesota Duluth 3-2 in overtime. Once again, the Lakers never trailed until the final horn. UMD bowed to Wisconsin 4-1 in the national championship game.
This year, Mercyhurst traveled to Duluth to face the Bulldogs in the opening round and bowed 5-4. The Lakers had leads of 1-0, 2-1, and 3-2 in the third but couldn't hang on. UMD won the national championship a week later with a 4-0 win over Wisconsin.
Sisti's teams have combined for 221 wins to date in 313 games, 69 setbacks, and 23 ties (.743), among the top winning percentages among active Division I coaches. The Lakers have won or tied (2007-08) eight regular season conference championships, two in the Great Lakes Women's Hockey Association (GLWHA) and the last six as a member of College Hockey America (CHA). He guided Mercyhurst to GLWHA and CHA playoff championships the last seven years and a Division I top ten ranking throughout most of the previous seven seasons.
Following the 2005-06 season, Mercyhurst recruited the college's first gold medalist in Meghan Agosta of the Canadian National Team, Katariina Soikkanen of the Finnish National team, as well as Angelica Lorsell and Johanna Malmstrom who played for the Swedish National Team. The Lakers also had four players on the roster who played on the Canadian U22 Team.
Although Soikkanen and Lorsell stayed only one year, Agosta and Malmstrom remain. Agosta has re-written the Mercyhurst record book in her two years and has been a Top 3 finalist for the Patty Kazmaier Award in both her freshman and sophomore seasons. She finished each year at or near the top of a number of categories.
Each year the Lakers play one of the toughest schedules in the country and continue to prove they are among the best and most respected programs in women's hockey.
Mercyhurst had two CHA First Team selections in 2006-07, one second team choice, the Player and Rookie of the Year, and four members of the All-Rookie Team.
Mercyhurst defeated host Niagara 4-2 in the 2007 CHA semifinals and Wayne State 2-1 on overtime in the CHA championship tilt. The Lakers had the tournament MVP in Meghan Agosta and three All-Tournament Team selections: senior forward Stephanie Jones, senior goaltender Laura Hosier, and junior defender Natalie Payne. Eight players (freshmen or first-year transfers are not eligible) were named to the conference All Academic Team. Senior captain Stephanie Jones was the CHA's student athlete of the year. Agosta was an AHCA First Team All-American and three-time USCHO.com Offensive Player of the Week.
Sisti was named GLWHA Coach of the Year in 2002 and CHA Coach of the Year in 2003 and 2005. For his efforts he was also selected as a finalist for the 2001-2002, 2002-2003, and 2003-2004 Division I Coach of the Year awards.
His teams have done a great deal off the ice as well. For nine consecutive years, the team's cumulative grade point average has been above a 3.0. The Lady Lakers have also been very active in the community. The team annually donates over 200 hours on various community service projects.
Sisti was inducted into the Canisius College Sports Hall of Fame in late September 2002. He and his wife, Nicole, live in Erie.
Sisti's Record At Mercyhurst
*member of the Great Lakes Women's Hockey Association
NCAA Appearances: 4 (2005, 2006, 2007, 2008)
GLWHA Playoff Appearances: 2 (2001-2002)
GLWHA Regular Season Champions: 2 (2001, 2002)
GLWHA Champions: 1 (2002)
CHA Regular Season Champions: 6 (2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008+) +co-champs
CHA Playoff Appearances: 6 (2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008)
CHA Championships: 6 (2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008)
Lakers Athletics Women's Ice Hockey