Penn State vs. Syracuse Women’s Hockey Preview

Story posted November 18, 2021 in CommRadio, Sports by Evan Popalis

Conference play continues for Penn State as it hits the road to play the Syracuse Orange. The two teams meet up for the first time this season as the Nittany Lions behold a 6-4-2, and 3-1-0 conference record. Syracuse possesses a record of 4-5-2 and is 3-1-0 in conference, but has been on the rise as of late.

Syracuse has won three of its previous four games, sweeping RIT in its previous series after splitting with Lindenwood. The Orange scored 16 goals over that span.

“Syracuse is very physical,” coach Jeff Kampersal said. “The bye week gives us time to watch a few Syracuse games against Lindenwood.”

Senior forward Abby Moloughney paces the Orange in the goal and point departments with a half-dozen.

Syracuse averages the least amount of penalty minutes per game in the conference. The Orange spend just under seven minutes a game on the penalty kill.

Junior forward Brynn Koocher and redshirt-junior forward Marielle McHale lead the Orange in plus-minus with a plus-four rating.

The goaltender that has been most prominently on the ice this season for the Orange has been senior Arielle DeSmet. She owns a 2.48 goals-against average, accompanied by a .915 save percentage.

The Penn State defense allows the fewest shots on goal in the entire CHA. The goaltenders for the Nittany Lions provide the best goals-against average in the conference. Sophomore Josie Bothun acclaims a .904 save percentage sided by a 1.88 goals-against mark.

Fifth-year senior captain Natalie Heising leads the Nittany Lions with 15 points and a plus-10 rating on the campaign. She continues to propel Penn State to new heights this season. Heising and junior winger Julie Gough are tied atop the roster with seven goals.

Penn State has won its previous three contests convincingly. The offense for the Nittany Lions is averaging over three goals a game this season, and fourteen skaters for the blue and white have tallied a goal through the first dozen games.

An eye-catching aspect of the series resides on special teams. Penn State leads the conference in power-play goals, but Syracuse is an immaculate 94 percent on the penalty kill.

These two clubs are the best two in the conference in the faceoff dot. The Orange win 51.8 percent of draws, while Penn State is right behind at 51.6 percent.

Two teams that are on the rise will battle it out with an opportunity to dampen the chances of the other in conference play.

The outcome will depend on team discipline throughout the weekend. Fewer penalties provide more opportunities for teams to get the offense in a groove.

The series opens up Friday night in northern New York at 7 p.m. The finale will have a 3 p.m. puck drop on Saturday.

Evan Popalis is a third-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email

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Evan Popalis

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Evan Popalis is a third-year from Lititz, Pennsylvania, majoring in broadcast journalism. He is a writer, analyst, and play-by-play commentator for the CommRadio sports department. His writings include weekly NHL betting previews along with power rankings for the NHL and NFL. He appears weekly on the NHL Podcast as a host and analyst reviewing the previous week’s action. If you would like to contact him, email him at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).