Penn State women’s hockey special teams key in win Over Mercyhurst
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - No. 11 Penn State came into Friday’s matchup with Mercyhurst 2-0-0 in CHA play and was looking to improve upon that record.
The Blue and White started the game off slow and gave up the first goal but rallied back and won the game 4-1.
Mercyhurst’s Lilliane Perreault opened the scoring for the Lakers on a controversial goal off her left foot. Unfortunately for the Lakers, that was where the scoring ended in this CHA matchup.
Penn State’s Courtney Correia sparked the offense into a late-period scoring frenzy beating Ena Nystrom's top shelf where grandma hides the cookies. She also assisted linemate Eleri Mackay’s top-shelf tally to end the period with a one-goal advantage.
Correia’s production has been important for the Nittany Lions as of late.
“We asked a lot of Courtney at the beginning of the season with her being a veteran player,” coach Jeff Kampersal said. “Her production has come from her finding chemistry with her linemates as of late, which is what we expected from the start.”
Her production this season has also been matched by important production from the Penn State special teams.
The Blue and White powerplay came into stride midway through the second period after freshman phenom Tessa Janecke found Julie Gough in the low slot for an easy tap-in goal. Janecke got the same treatment from fellow freshman Kendall Butze who found Janecke wide-open backdoor for a tap-in tuck.
The Nittany Lion powerplay went 2-4 this Friday afternoon, while the penalty kill went 2-2. The special teams' success helped turn the tide for the Blue and White and sparked the success on Friday afternoon.
“You never know in our league how a game is going to be called, which makes special teams extra important,” Kampersal said. “Taking advantage of opportunities like we did tonight is very important for success.”
On any given night, any team can win in the CHA. If the Nittany Lions continue to find success in special teams, this might be the year the team goes on a special run.
Special teams paired with solid goaltending is also an important factor for success on the ice.
Josie Bothun continued her strong season in net stopping 21 of 22 shots and made the defenses Friday afternoon easy.
“Josie makes the game a lot easier for us,” Correia said. “She steps up in times when we need her most, which creates energy for the team to thrive and find success.”
Bothun’s success brings success to the entire team, and she will be a large factor in the team's success down this stretch leading into winter break.
The final frame was a back-and-forth duel between both sides that resulted in no scoring. The Blue and White are looking forward to continued success in Saturday’s matchup against the Lakers.
After this weekend's series, Penn State hosts Brown in a non-conference series at Pegula Ice Arena. Brown is 3-0-1 on the season and could pose a threat to the Blue and White on home ice.
This is the time of year when teams start to define their identity and the Blue and White seem to be displaying shades of who they might be this year. Success from Bothun, Correia and the special teams should bring feelings of joy into Hockey Valley.
Hayden Lewis is a first-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, please email email@example.com.
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