Penn State Women’s Hockey Drops Home Opener to Union
“It was a great battle out there tonight.”
Simply put, that is the one way Josh Brandwene could describe the intense match between Penn State and Union College.
The first contest at the Pegula Ice Arena for the Penn State women’s hockey proved to be a nail biter.
The Nittany Lions (1-3-1) fell to the Union College Dutchwomen (3-3-0) 2-1, on Friday night, in front of a record crowd of 1,424 fans.
Penn State’s first big chance to score came early in the first period when Laura Bowman’s shot ricocheted off the pipe and out of Union’s zone.
However, Penn State’s made some costly mistakes, as Union was able to take advantage of both of their power plays.
Penn State controlled the puck for the early part of the first period, but Union rapidly gained momentum after Laura Bowman went to the box with a checking penalty 14:37 into the first period.
Union scored first just 14 seconds into the advantage, as sophomore Courtney Turner recorded her third goal of the season after deflecting an attempt from teammate, Maddy Norton.
The Dutchwomen took a 1-0 lead into the first intermission.
“It was a big night for us. We all had a little bit of jitters and once we got those out of us we were ready to go,” said sophomore Shannon Yoxheimer.
Just 3:57 into the second period, Penn State captain Taylor Gross made a tremendous pass to the top of Union’s zone to Yoxheimer, who unloaded a snipe to the top shelf to tie the game at one.
Yoxheimer was interrupted by Nicole Paniccia when trying to be humble about how fast her shot is. “It’s really hard, I’ll tell you that,” Paniccia explained.
Penn State also had a second chance to score, that not even Brandwene could have drawn it up better in his head. Laura Bowman found herself near the net again with Union’s goalie out of the crease, and completely whiffed on the puck.
Brandwene had nothing but great things to say about Bowman.
"[She went] right back out there. Laura Bowman is a tremendous competitor and mature beyond her years.”
Despite the loss, Penn State has four freshmen that see a boatload of playing time and the future looks bright.
“We’ve got four unbelievable freshmen playing in the spotlight here…you’ve got a young team out there that’s got 11 sophomores and four freshmen in the everyday lineup. There’s nothing but upside for us going forward despite the frustration of the loss today,” Brandwene clarified.
The second period was dominated by Penn State, as they out-shot Union 11-7.
Things started to get a little chippy with under a minute to go in the period as Union’s Alex Tancrell-Fontaine was sent to the box for cross-checking after play stopped.
Both teams headed to their respective locker rooms, but that did not mean the intensity would end. Nearly three minutes into the third period, with the score knotted at one, some pushing and shoving began after a rally of shots was saved by Union goalie, Shenae Lundberg.
Once again, the turning point for this game came off of a costly penalty from Penn State, as Paige Jahnke was called for tripping 4:05 into the third period.
Less than 10 seconds later, Union notched their second goal of the night when Stefanie Thompson found the back of the net, which turned out to be the game-winning goal.
Penn State had trouble gaining possession the entire third period, and were out-shot 11-6 by Union.
Penn State resorted to pulling their goalie late in the third period in hope for a game-tying goal. They never even stood a chance as Union loaded up their defense and had one mission: clear the puck.
Brandwene declined to comment on the adjustments he noticed Union made, saying, “I’m going to keep those under my hat right now, you probably understand why.”
Tune in tomorrow to ComRadio as Penn State and Union face off at 2 p.m. at Pegula Ice Arena.
Alex Passaretti is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email email@example.com.