Nittany Lions Women’s Hockey Completes Sweep of Sacred Heart with Convincing 8-2 win

Story posted November 4, 2012 in CommRadio, Sports by Tim Behan

The Penn State Nittany Lions (4-5-1, 0-3-1 CHA) completed their first series sweep in program history at Greenberg Ice Pavilion on Saturday afternoon as they continued to click offensively in an 8-2 beating of the Sacred Heart Pioneers (1-6-0).

After shutting out the Pioneers 6-0 on Friday night, the Nittany Lions picked up where they left off putting a total of 64 shots on net.  Penn State received contributions from all four lines as a different player scored every goal.  This team is firing on all cylinders and making their coach Josh Brandwene very pleased with their play.

“This is such a team atmosphere that these kids have going, it’s a statement and a credit to them just how when anybody scores they are so enthusiastic for their teammates,” Brandwene said.

The Nittany Lions came out surging offensively firing shots early and often on Pioneers goaltender Mandy Montgomery.  They had the first ten shots of the game but were unable to cash in until at the 14:06 mark on a bad angle shot by freshman Shannon Yoxheimer that snuck under Montgomery’s pads to give Penn State the 1-0 lead.  It was Yoxheimer’s team leading 9th goal of the season.  The Nittany Lions held a shot advantage of 24-4 after the 1st period.

The second period was much different though bringing an action packed period with many goals.  The surge of goals started just 13 seconds in when the Pioneers won the faceoff and right wing Melissa Robbins beat goaltender Nicole Paniccia stick side to knot the game up at 1.

That scare woke up the Nittany Lions and  they showed their resiliency answering back with three straight goals.  The top line for Penn State gave the Lions back the lead with a hard drive to the net from Yoxheimer resulting in a scramble around the net and Taylor Gross was able to put home the second rebound.  Just over two minutes later freshman center Kendra Rasmussen drove by a defender with her speed and deked out Montgomery for her first career goal.  When the Sartell, Minnesota native was asked postgame about her feelings she was at a loss for words.

“It’s amazing, I’m speechless right now,” she said.

The young stars on this team kept shining as freshman Jill Holdcroft had the prettiest goal of the day, shooting one over the right shoulder of Montgomery hitting the crossbar and in.  That snipe extended Penn State’s lead to 4-1 halfway through the second.  The Pioneers kept themselves in the game with a timely power play goal when a point shot deflected off a Nittany Lion defender past Panicccia.

Like they did all game, the Nittany Lions responded quickly less than two minutes later.  A beautiful tic-tack-toe passing play off the sideboards resulted in a goal by center Jess Desorcie.  Defenseman Madison Smiddy kept the puck in the zone at the blue line playing the puck to Taylor Gross on the sideboards who found Desorcie at the far post for a tap in goal.  That gave the Lions full control of the game after two periods.

In the third, two players gained some confidence with their first goals of the season.  Junior Jenna Welch finally was rewarded for her hard work all weekend for her first of the season.  Sophomore defenseman Madison Smiddy tallied her first of her career with a blast from the right point. A late goal by freshman Emily Laurenzi with 8 seconds left was her first of her collegiate career as well. The offensive outburst for the Nittany Lions showed the chemistry brewing with this club from top to bottom.

Penn State controlled the third period cruising to an 8-2 win gaining its second home win of the season and winning the season series over the Pioneers 3-1.  The faceoff circle was a big aspect in this game as the Nittany Lions won 54 of 79 face-offs.  This historic weekend should help get the ball rolling in the inaugural season of the program.  The women finish off their six game home stand with a tough set of games with Robert Morris Saturday and Sunday next weekend.  ComRadio will have  coverage of both games.

Tim Behan is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism, to contact him e-mail