2022-23 Penn State women’s hockey game grades: Yale
No. 11 Penn State dropped to 10-7-1 on the season after losing both games of a road series against No. 6 Yale. The Nittany Lions fell 3-0 in Game 1 before losing 2-1 during overtime in the series finale.
Here’s a look at how each positional group fared on a weekend where the team struggled mightily.
Coming into the weekend, something had to give between an offense averaging 3.1 goals per game and a goaltender allowing an average of 1.00 goals against per game on a .963 save percentage.
It was the offense that broke and scored one goal over the two games while being shut out for the second time this year. Pia Dukaric squandered every opportunity the Nittany Lions had in Game 1 as she made 23 saves en route to her second consecutive shutout.
The Bulldog’s sophomore netminder appeared to be well on her way to a third straight clean sheet.
Instead, Eleri MacKay scored the third goal of her first season with the Nittany Lions, paving the way to overtime.
In overtime, MacKay fired the only Nittany Lion shot of the frame, which was fended off by Dukaric. That overtime period was indicative of the series as a whole for the offensive attack of Penn State, which failed to challenge Dukaric.
Getting the puck off of draws is an important factor in controlling the offensive pace, which Penn State failed to do. The Nittany Lions lost 23-of-56 faceoffs in Game 1 but were able to win 27-of-52 in the finale.
The defensive group for Penn State was neither good nor bad against Yale. While it did surrender 59 shots, 5 of which snuck past Josie Bothun, the defense was sacrificing its body all around.
The Nittany Lions blocked 35 shots over the weekend, including 22 blocks in the series opener.
By no means was Josie Bothun’s series in net easy, but it could have been much more if the defense wasn’t swarming to get in the way of some of Yale’s opportunities.
Karley Garcia, Tessa Janecke and Lyndie Lobdell all had six blocks in the series, including combining for 11 of those 22 blocks in the first game.
As stated earlier, the defense was active in front of Josie Bothun, but it wasn’t enough to stop a high-powered Yale offense.
Bothun started both games in goal for Penn State and made 54 saves on 59 shots. In Game 1, she surpassed the 1500 save plateau for her career, as she now sits fourth in program history.
In this series though, the individual accomplishment is likely to be overlooked by the two losses that dropped her record to 9-7-1 on the season.
The Minnesota native has a 2.05 goals against average with a .921 save percentage.
Despite those two losses, Bothun continued to keep her team in every game, something that was seen in Game 2, when she allowed one goal in regulation, giving the offense 60 minutes to outscore the Bulldogs, which didn’t happen.
It’s tough to give the coaching staff a good grade when nothing went right over the weekend, so for that reason, Jeff Kampersal and company will not get a good report card.
The Nittany Lions came out undisciplined, allowing nine power play chances for the Bulldogs resulting in three power play goals. One of those three goals came on a 5-on-3 opportunity that gave way to the game-winning goal in overtime of Game 2.
The penalty kill was not the only part struggling. as Penn State was unsuccessful on all five power play opportunities against Yale. The Nittany Lions are now 11-of-60 on the advantage this season.
Kampersal needs to have his team ready when they travel to Las Vegas for the Henderson Collegiate Hockey Showcase, where they will face No. 2 Minnesota on Friday at 7 p.m.
Justin Ciavolella is a second-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email email@example.com.
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