Nittany Lions Snap Losing Streak to Mercyhurst, Defeat Lakers 2-0
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — After dropping the first game of its final regular season series 3-0 on Friday afternoon, Penn State was determined to end the year on a high note on Saturday. The Nittany Lions did just that, defeating Mercyhurst 2-0.
The Nittany Lions played a complete game on both sides of the ice, keeping their composure as Mercyhurst intensified its physicality. Natalie Heising, Rene Gangarosa and Chantal Burke all played key roles in helping Penn State defeat Mercyhurst for the first time since 2016, helping Penn State improve its record to 12-14-8 overall and 7-8-5 in the CHA in the process, while Mercyhurst dropped to 19-10-5 and 13-4-3 in conference.
Penn State jumped out to an early lead at the 6:19 mark in the first period thanks to Heising. Heising collected her 10th goal of the season on the play by recovering a rebound and wrapping around the net to beat Mercyhurst goaltender Kennedy Blair short side.
Heising made it clear that defeating Mercyhurst after Friday’s loss was huge.
“Being able to turn [the weekend] right back on [Mercyhurst] and them getting mad at us for having a step ahead was fun,” Heising said.
Late in the second period, Penn State took advantage of a five-on-three power play. Gangarosa recorded her seventh goal of the season, wristing a shot above the right faceoff circle, going bar down and in to give Penn State a 2-0 lead.
Going into the third period, the hostility between the two teams increased, as both teams committed unnecessary penalties with multiple players getting into scuffles.
But Penn State goalie Chantal Burke quieted the physicality with impressive play between the pipes, making spiraling save after save as the game went on. Burke recorded her seventh shutout and 12th win of the season on 33 shots from the Lakers.
Head coach Jeff Kampersal was impressed with his team’s effort.
“The players who are slotted into their roles stepped up and did the thing that they do well,” Kampersal said. “Everyone did what they do well at the same time. That's really important for us.”
Penn State will get back on the ice March 5 at 6 p.m. versus RIT in the College Hockey America tournament.
Jordan Hession is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.