Penn State Women’s Hockey Series Grades: LIU
Coming off a disappointing series against the Syracuse Orange, Penn State was looking to right the ship in a non-conference matchup against the Long Island University Sharks. Right the ship is exactly what the blue and white did, sweeping LIU behind an offensive downpour.
Game 1 saw eight different Nittany Lions find the back of the net in an absolutely dominating 10-0 fashion.
Game 2 was much tighter defensively but Penn State was able to come out on top 2-0 with goals by junior forward Rachel Weiss and fifth-year senior forward Natalie Heising.
Here's the series grades from the past weekend.
Offensive production has been one of the big question marks surrounding the Nittany Lions all season. Scoring 12 goals in two games will certainly put those questions to rest.
Game 1 had eight different Penn State goal scorers including the first career hat trick for sophomore forward Olivia Wallin and the tenth in program history. The 10-goal barnburner tied a program record for most goals in a single game and seemed to be the culmination of several frustrating offensive performances this season.
The second game had less firepower but saw Weiss continue to heat up at the right time, extending her goal streak to four. Heising also added a tally, bringing her goal total on the season to 19, tying the Penn State single-season goal-scoring record.
The Penn State blue line was virtually impenetrable in this series, limiting the Sharks to only 18 total shots on net, including just six shots in the opening game of the series. Along with the minimal amount of shots given up, the Nittany Lions also blocked nine shots between the two contests.
The defense has been shut down in the last few games, limiting odd-man rushes and breakaways for the opposition. No better time to get and stay hot than at the tail end of a very competitive CHA season.
With back-to-back blankings of LIU this past weekend, the Nittany Lions have now held opponents scoreless in three straight games. This is in large part due to the continued excellent netminding from sophomore Josie Bothun.
Bothun was pulled halfway through Game 1 in order to let Senior Cam Leonard get some reps in and the pair finished with a very rare combined shutout as neither goaltender had to face any high danger chances.
Game Two was all Bothun however, as she stopped all 12 shots she faced in Saturday's matinee game. While she didn’t face a high quantity of shots, she made several quality saves as it took the Nittany Lion offense until late in the second period to get going on offense.
Since Game Two counted as an official shutout, Bothun now has the most shutouts by a Nittany Lion goaltender in a single season in program history with eight shutouts.
The special teams play for the Nittany Lions continues to steadily improve as the season winds down. Jeff Kampersal’s squad went 1-for-4 on the power play and 3-3 on the penalty kill in a relatively disciplined series.
Although those numbers may not be eye-opening, the continued steadiness on special teams is a crucial factor for this team to finish strong on the year.
The final series of the season begins next Friday as Penn State looks to secure second place in the CHA as RIT comes to Pegula Ice Arena after securing their first win of the season against Lindenwood.
Joshua Bartosik is a first-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email email@example.com.
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Josh Bartosik is a Second Year student from Raleigh, North Carolina majoring in broadcast journalism. He is in his second year at CommRadio. Josh has been featured on several articles and podcasts for CommRadio ranging across all sports and topics. Josh had the incredible opportunity to broadcast the Women’s Frozen Four Semifinal matchups at University Park last winter and the EIVA Men’s Tournament Semifinal last spring along with several other broadcasts. Josh has also been named as a co-host for the Sin Bin and Phone Booth, two talk shows featured at CommRadio. Josh’s dream career is to be a play by play broadcaster or journalist for the NHL, NFL, or College Football.