Penn State Women’s Hockey vs. Syracuse Series Grades

Story posted February 7, 2022 in CommRadio, Sports by Joshua Bartosik

In a series that determined who secured first place in the CHA standings and possibly host of the upcoming CHA Tournament, Penn State couldn’t live up to the moment as it finished the weekend with a tie and a loss.

Game 1 was eerily similar to Game 1 last weekend against Mercyhurst, as a late goal from Penn State sent the game to overtime, yet neither team could find the back of the net in extra time.

Game 2 also required overtime, but a 2-on-1 goal from Syracuse’s Sarah Marchand sent the Nittany Lions packing.

Here are the grades for this series.

Offense: D

There was no shortage of pressure from the blue and white this weekend as it put up 101 shots against Arielle Desmet. However, Desmet’s job looked relatively easy as the Nittany Lions were only able to beat her twice in this series.

For a team competing for the top spot in the CHA and a chance to play host in the Women’s Frozen Four, two goals on 101 shots certainly won’t cut it.

This has been an issue for Penn State all season long, averaging 36.2 shots per game yet only averaging 2.7 goals per game. If coach Jeff Kampersal’s squad wants to win the CHA and get an automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament, it must find a way to convert on their abundance of chances.

Defense: B

There aren’t a lot of negatives to talk about with the Nittany Lions’ blueline. Penn State held the Orange to just 49 shots on goal in the series and a relatively minimum amount of offensive zone time.

Syracuse is a fast-paced team that thrives on the rush, yet nearly every odd-man rush was shut down by the Penn State back end.

Despite coming out of the series without a win, the Nittany Lions should look to build off a very strong defensive performance when they travel to Cornell on Tuesday.

Goaltending: B+

Josie Bothun continues to dominate for this Penn State squad as she now has a .921 save percentage and a 1.82 goals-against average. Bothun didn’t face a large quantity of shots in either game, but she was extremely sharp when she had to be, especially on a 2-on-0 late in the second period.

Goaltending for the Nittany Lions is the bright spot that hasn’t dimmed this season and they’ll need more stellar goaltending down the stretch leading into the CHA Tournament.

Coaching: D-

The special teams and discipline for the blue and white were one of the main factors in this disappointing series. Game 1 saw the Nittany Lions not only went 0-for-4 on the power play, but also took seven penalties and gave up one power-play goal.

Game 2 saw the script flipped, with Penn State getting the majority of the power plays whereas the Orange had only one.

However, while Syracuse capitalized on its power play with a goal from Jessica DiGirolamo, the Nittany Lions went 0-for-5 in a matchup to round out the weekend with a disappointing 0–for-9 power-play performance.

This poor special teams performance is certainly not the norm for Penn State, as it boasts the second-best power play in the CHA behind Syracuse. However, this does possibly raise questions about the units Kampersal continues to run down the final stretch of the season.

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