Penn State Women’s Hockey Drops Home Opening Series vs. No. 1 Minnesota
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pennsylvania.- Penn State faced off against No. 1 Minnesota in its home opener in a two-game series Thursday and Friday.
Game one began with a strong defensive battle between the Nittany Lions and the Gophers in the first period. Penn state registered 12 shots while Minnesota only gathered nine shots on goal in the first. The Golden Gophers struck first in the second period while on the power play after Amy Peterson took a tripping penalty.
Penn State showed no offensive presence in the second period.
Senior goaltender Celine Whitlinger, despite giving up one goal in second, kept the Nittany Lions in game with a solid performance between the pipes. After two periods Minnesota tallied 26 shots on goal while Penn State only added three shots in the period to round them out at 15.
The Nittany Lions started the third period with an early power play opportunity, however, they were unable to capitalize and get momentum on their side. Despite not gaining momentum they continued to have strong defensive presence in the third period.
Minnesota won game one 2-0 after Sarah Potomak scored an empty net goal with only 56 seconds left in the third. The third period came to a close with Minnesota having 43 shots on goal and Penn State only getting 20 shots on goal.
“I was really proud of how we held the fort during the second period, we made some key adjustments defensively in the third period in terms of our own execution.” said head coach Josh Brandwene.
Game two started out fast paced until an early goal from Minnesota’s Kelly Pannek slowed the tempo down dramatically. Minnesota’s Hanna Brandt capitalized on the slower tempo by putting another point on the board making it an early 2-0 lead in the first.
Momentum continued to stay on the Golden Gopher’s side as they got a power play late in the first period. The Nittany Lions dug deep with their penalty kill and did not allow Minnesota to score. After one period of play Minnesota was on top of Penn State 2-0 and also had 17 shots on goal and Penn State could only get one shot on goal.
The second period was a déjà vu moment for Penn State as the Golden Gophers Megan Wolfe scored an early goal to make the lead 3-0. Penn State’s Emily Laurenzi took their second penalty of the night, but the penalty kill stepped up again and prevented Minnesota from scoring a goal.
Momentum shifted towards the Nittany Lions as Minnesota’s Megan Wolfe took and interference penalty putting Penn State on the Power play. Penn State was unable to capitalize on the power play opportunity but kept the momentum going slowing the Golden Gophers down.
Late in the second period Minnesota pushed through the Nittany Lions’ momentum as Lee Stecklein added another point to the board making it 4-0, deflating Penn State offensive presence.
Penn State’s Jill Holdcroft took their third penalty of the evening, giving Minnesota another Power play and the momentum back, Penn State’s penalty kill stepped up once again preventing Minnesota from scoring. After two periods of play Minnesota lead the Nittany Lions 4-0 with 26 shots on goal, while Penn state registered only five.
Minnesota brought the momentum to Penn State early in the third period as Hannah Brandt scored her second goal of the evening making the deficit 5-0.
Penn State got another power play chance in the third period when the Golden Gophers’ Nina Rodgers took a checking penalty early in the period. The Nittany Lions could not capitalize on this penalty.
Jill Holdcroft took Penn State’s fourth penalty of the night give Minnesota another chance to add on the lead, The Nittany Lions penalty kill once again prevented Minnesota from capitalizing on the power play opportunity.
In the remaining moments of the third period Minnesota’s Dani Cameranesi took a high sticking penalty giving Penn State one last chance to put points on the board. Minnesota fought off the Power play attack by the Nittany Lions.
Minnesota won the game 5-0 with 38 shots on goal while Penn state produced just seven shots on goal.
Penn State falls to an 0-2-0 start in the standings. The Nittany Lions will be in action again next Friday and Saturday as they face off against Boston University in Boston.
Keith Smith is a senior telecommunications major at Penn State. Contact him via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on twitter: @iamkeithsmith