Hoenshell hat trick and night of firsts propels Nittany Lions to 6-0 victory

Story posted November 3, 2012 in CommRadio, Sports by Ross Insana

The Penn State Nittany Lions (3-5-1, 0-3-1 CHA) put together an offensive outburst Friday night at the Greenberg Ice Pavilion as they defeated the Sacred Heart Pioneers (1-5-0) 6-0.

In a rematch of the October 19-20 series at Sacred Heart, the story was the Nittany Lions ability to dictate play by generating offense in multiple ways and maintaining possession. It was also a night of firsts for the women as they earned their first home victory, first shutout and first hat trick in Penn State Women’s hockey history.

“It started with a great week of preparation and practice. I give credit to our kids for really preparing well and coming out of the gate and establishing our game plan right from the start,” said Penn State head coach Josh Brandwene.

The Nittany Lions came out guns blazing early as they fired pucks and created numerous scoring chances on Pioneers goalie Alexius Schutt. Penn State got the scoring started at the 7:16 mark of the first period by way of a Katie Zinn shot from the left point with a lot of traffic in front. The puck squirted loose and sat between the legs of Schutt as freshman Hannah Hoenshell was able to pounce on the loose puck to give the Nittany Lions a 1-0 lead.

Penn State had two power play opportunities in the first period but they were unsuccessful as they only managed to generate four shots on net. Their best chance came late in the penalty to Sacred Heart’s Sara Hana, as freshman defenseman Paige Jahnke found an open lane to the net in between the faceoff circles. Neither team ended up converting on the power play all game as Penn state finished 0-for-3 and Sacred Heart 0-for-2.

Sacred Heart generated little offense in the first with only four shots attempted and two on net. The Penn State defense did a good job trapping the Pioneers attack in the neutral zone all game as Penn State goaltender Nicole Paniccia did not see her first shot on net until 12 minutes into the first. Sacred Heart’s  best opportunity came late in the first with two minutes left as Paniccia made two big in front of her to keep the game at 1-0. After one period, shots were 22 -2 in favor of Penn State and foreshadowed their dominance for the rest of the game.

The second period was not much different than the first, only with more goals. Hoenshell got the ball rolling with her second goal of the game by way of a nice center ice feed from line mate Emily Laurenzi.

Four minutes later sophomore Jess Desorcie was able to win a faceoff back to captain Taylor Gross, who was next to the Penn State bench. Gross immediately fired the puck at the net as Shannon Yoxheimer was able to deflect the puck over Schutt and barely trickle into the net for her seventh goal of the season.

A little under two minutes later, miscommunication by the Pioneers defense led to the fourth Penn State goal. Freshman Jill Holdcroft was able to chip the puck past the defenders at center ice and use her speed to get in all alone for her first career goal. The goal was also very special to the hometown girl Holdcroft.

“It was awesome to have my family and friends up in the stands tonight,” she said. “It means everything to me to be here in the rink I grew up in and to do it at this level.”

To the cheers of all of her teammates, freshman goaltender Brooke Meyer was sent out for the third period by Brandwene. It was Meyer’s first career Division I appearance in goal and it gave go-to goalie Paniccia a much needed rest already up 4-0. Meyer finished the night stopping all seven shots thrown her way and combined with Paniccia’s 11 saves to notch the first shutout in Penn State Women’s hockey history. Paniccia was given credit for her third win of the season.

Ten seconds into the third Yoxheimer was able to collect her second goal of the game as she cranked a slap shot top shelf. It was great work by Desorcie again, who won the opening faceoff to start the third and quickly found Yoxheimer up the wing.

“We had great chemistry tonight and I was just in the right spots tonight,” Yoxheimer said on her line mates Desorcie and Gross.

Four minutes into the third, Hoenshell was inches away from a hat trick as she created her own two-on-one scoring opportunity chipping the puck up the boards to herself in the neutral zone.

Shortly after at the 6:54 mark in the third, Penn State Women’s hockey history was made as she put the finishing touches on her fantastic night and completed the hat trick. The play developed deep in the Penn State zone as Hoenshell’s linemate Emily Laurenzi did a great job winning a battle along the boards. Laurenzi immediately found Hoenshell on the wing for a perfect two-on-one outlet pass as Hoenshell fittingly ripped the puck in the back of the net.

“Hannah had a nice balance of patience, discipline with zone entry, and used her moves at the right time and she got rewarded for it”, said Brandwene.

Both Emily Laurenzi and Jess Desorcie had themselves great all-around games as Desorcie was 13 for 17 in the faceoff circle and collected assists on both of Yoxheimer’s goals. Laurenzi was a plus three, 11 for 16 in face-offs and most importantly a key contributor to Hoenshell’s historic hat trick.

Penn State will look to take the four game season series against Sacred Heart on Saturday afternoon and finish their season long six game home stand as they duke it out on November 10 and 11 against the Robert Morris Colonials. Listen to both games on psucomradio.com.

Ross Insana is a junior majoring in Broadcast Journalism. To contact him, e-mail rxi5007@psu.edu.