Penn State Women’s Hockey Series Grades vs. Mercyhurst

Story posted January 30, 2022 in CommRadio, Sports by Joshua Bartosik

The Penn State Nittany Lions are on a roll after this weekend’s sweep of the Mercyhurst Lakers. The blue and white have not lost four straight games and are heating up right in the middle of a crucial four game home stand.

Game 1 required a goal with a little over a minute left in the third to send the game to overtime, where the Nittany Lions finished the job in just 16 seconds.

Game 2 was total domination on both ends of the ice for Penn State, securing a 3-1 win and improving to 7-2-1 in the CHA.

Here are the series grades for this past series.

Offense: B

Penn State applied tons of pressure throughout the first 40 minutes in Game 1 and seemed to have all the momentum. However, an early third period goal by Sydney Pedersen seemed to drain all the life out of the Nittany Lions.

That was until Natalie Heising tied the game with the goalie pulled and scored early in overtime to not only give Penn State the win, but also to continue adding to her already decorated collegiate career.

Game 2 saw the Nittany Lions come out strong, firing a barrage of shots early in the first period and getting the game’s first goal off a point shot from Mallory Uihlein. Uihlein scored again halfway through the second and was followed up a minute and two seconds later by Amy Dobson to put the game out of reach for the Lakers.

Defense: B+

Bend, don’t break.

That was the motto for the Penn State defense this weekend as Mercyhurst put up 50 shots between the two games. Bad pinches on the blueline led to several odd man rushes in Game One for the Mercyhurst Lakers, but efficient backchecks and fantastic goaltending helped keep the game in hand after they fell behind.

The Nittany Lions did a fantastic job in the first two periods of Game 2 shutting down Mercyhurst’s rushes and blocking an abundance of shot attempts. The third period saw Penn State get outshot 13-6 but they stood strong and were able to come away with the victory and the sweep.

Goaltending: A

Josie Bothun continues to show why she was the CHA’s Goaltender of the Year last season.

Facing 50 shots and stopping 48 of them, Bothun was one of the main reasons the Nittany Lions came away on top in this series. Despite the team’s lack of energy in the third period in Game 1, Bothun stayed sharp after giving up an early breakaway goal, stopping the next 11 shots she faced from the Lakers.

The third period in Game 2 was more of the same, where Bothun had to stay on her toes as the pressure from Mercyhurst increased as the game winded down. She was on her way to her league leading seventh shutout of the season before it was cut short by a powerplay goal from Marielle Parks.

Coaching: C

The recurring theme for this Penn State team has been their inability to come back from adversity. This theme continued to haunt the Nittany Lions in Friday’s matchup where the team was lifeless after the early third period goal in a game that saw them dominate up until that point.

Playing a full 60 minutes of hockey has been a critical issue with the blue and white, as they continue to struggle to either pull ahead or come from behind in the final 20.

Luckily for Jeff Kampersal’s squad, they were able to come away on top in this series and improve to second place in the CHA standings. However, this Penn State team needs to find their identity when they’re trailing, especially next week in the biggest series of the season against the first place Syracuse Orange.


Joshua Bartosik is a first-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email