WHKY: Robert Morris Sweeps the Lions
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Penn State women’s hockey suffered a sweep by the Robert Morris University Colonials. The first game resulted in a 4-2 loss, while Penn State challenged the Colonials to the end in game two, but could not pull off the comeback losing 6-5.
In the series opener, Penn State and Robert Morris were tied at zero by the end of the first period. Penn State freshman goalie Daniella Paniccia was sharp to begin the game stopping 16 Colonial shots to keep her opponents at bay.
Head coach Josh Brandwene admired the tenacity and defense that Paniccia brought to game one.
“Daniella Paniccia was awesome and really held us in their in the first period,” said Brandwene. “She played great for the entire 60 minutes. I am really pleased with her effort throughout the course of the whole game.”
Five minutes into the second period, Penn State broke through and scored the first goal of the game behind senior forward Amy Petersen, assisted by forwards junior Aly Hardy and senior Laura Bowman.
The Colonials responded with a goal of their own from freshman forward Aneta Ledlova. She was assisted by junior forward Amanda Pantaleo and junior defenseman Katherine Murphy.
Robert Morris took over in the third period finding the back of the net three times. The Colonials seized the lead when sophomore forward Amber Rennie scored her seventh goal of the season.
Later in the third, Murphy added a goal of her own to extend Robert Morris’ lead to 3-1. Penn State answered within seconds courtesy of a goal from Hardy from the left side of the ice.
With Penn State forced to remove Paniccia from goal in the remaining seconds, Colonial freshman forward Caileah Forrest found the open net to make it 4-2 and seal the win.
The Nittany Lions got off to a slow start in game two falling behind 3-0 in the first two periods. Penn State cut the Robert Morris lead when the puck slid past the glove of Colonial senior goalie Jessica Dodds last touched by Bowman.
With their backs against the wall, Penn State turned on the jets and attempted the improbable and come back from a 4-1 deficit in the third period.
Sophomore forward Meike Meilleur began the rally with a fast break goal and swung momentum in Penn State’s favor.
Shortly after, Bowman followed up with her second goal of the game and the Nittany Lions were within one goal with 15 minutes remaining in the third.
Robert Morris extended their lead to 5-3 when Pantaleo scored her second goal of the series, but freshman forward Kate Rydland answered with her own.
Robert Morris closed the game with an empty net goal before Bowman sank a power play goal to complete the sixth hat trick in program history, but it was not enough to complete the comeback.
Brandwene was very impressed with his team, even though they did not come out on top. Brandwene believes that he saw a Penn State team that is built to make a championship run.
“Teams of championship caliber, sometimes, they’re made in the difficult moments, said Brandwene.” “And I truly believe today was one of those days.”
Brandwene knows that his team has the “it” factor, something that cannot be taught to players, but his team has proven they have the “it” factor.
“95 percent of life is not what happens to you, it is how you respond. After scratching and clawing so many times, we could have folded up the tent and we didn’t. Even late with the goalie pulled after they got an empty netter, we still gave ourselves a chance. And that is the next level it factor that I’m talking about that I am so proud of.”
Penn State falls to (5-10-3) overall and (4-3-1) in conference, while Robert Morris improves to (12-1-5) overall and (7-0-1) in conference. Penn State will travel to face off against Quinnipiac in their next matchup Dec. 30.
Zach Seyko is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism and minoring in communication arts & sciences. To contact him, email email@example.com.