Women’s Hockey Upsets No. 6 Mercyhurst

Story posted December 13, 2014 in Sports, CommRadio by Anna Pitingolo

The Penn State Lady Lions (9-7-3, 4-4-1 CHA) upset the No. 6 Mercyhurst Lakers (16-3-2, 7-1-0 CHA) 2-1 Friday night at Pegula Ice Arena.

Mercyhurst had all the momentum in a physical first period, controlling most of the possession and making 14 shots compared to Penn State’s five. Their first shot came almost immediately after they won the face-off and quickly brought it down the ice.

With help from the defense, Penn State goalkeeper Celine Whitlinger was able to make a handful of great saves to keep it scoreless in the first. Mercyhurst was unable to find the back of the net despite getting multiple chances with scrambles in front of the net.

“She [Celine] definitely kept us in the game,” said freshman Bella Sutton. “There were a lot of amazing saves that she made… that really kept us in the game”

Whitlinger had her work cut out for her all night, with Mercyhurst not holding anything back, taking shot after shot. The junior finished with 36 saves.

“[I’m] so proud of Celine Whitlinger,” said head coach Josh Brandwene. “Just a fabulous performance for us. She gave our team great momentum and we were really able to seize it [in the second period].”

Penn State started the second period off strong, making five shots in the first five minutes. The dominance didn’t stop there, though; the Lady Lions went on to score their only points of the game in the period.

The Lions scored two goals just over a minute apart from each other to get the 2-0 lead early in the period. Sophomore Amy Peterson scored the first goal in the seventh minute on a power play, with Mercyhurst senior Shelby Bram in the box. The goal was Peterson’s team-high 11th of the season.

62 seconds later, Bella Sutton slotted another one in, this time on a double power play as freshman Brooke Hartwick joined Bram in the box.

Penn State had a strong defensive showing in the third period, preventing Mercyhurst from scoring on any of their shots until the end of the period.

“We had a solid first period, we built on it and got better in the second period, and we never waivered in the third,” Brandwene said.

Mercyhurst was finally able to get a goal with just over two and a half minutes left in the game, when junior Emily Janiga put it past Whitlinger.

The Lakers weren’t able to find the goal again, and Penn State was able to hold on for the first win over a ranked opponent in program history.

The Lady Lions are back in action on Saturday at 2 p.m. for the series finale against Mercyhurst at Pegula Ice Arena.

Anna Pitingolo is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact here, please email anna.piting@gmail.com