WHKY: Lakers Sweep Nittany Lions Despite Bowman’s Milestone
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa - Coming into the series Mercyhurst had historically dominated with a record of 13-3-2.
That trend would continue in Game 1, where the Lakers won easily, 6-0. Mercyhurst controlled every facet of the ice, outshooting the Nittany Lions 32-13 and absolutely owning the faceoff dot, where they won 44 of the faceoffs compared to Penn State’s measly 18.
In the first period, Rachael Smith got the scoring underway with her seventh goal of the season. After a turnover in Penn State’s defensive zone Smith found herself with the puck wide open in front of the net where she snuck it past Hannah Ehresmann through the five-hole.
In the second period penalties started to mount for the Nittany Lions who had to defend against the power play for half of the period. Sarah Hine owned the period for the Lakers, scoring two goals with the second coming with one player in the box for both teams. The pass came right across the crease where Hine was able to flick the shot top shelf right above Ehresmann’s left shoulder.
“Obviously a penalty-filled game,” interim coach Dean Jackson said. “When you get down early in a game it continues to compound, and it’s tough to climb back after that.”
The third period continued to be a struggle for the Nittany Lions as they picked up two more penalties finishing with a total of 10 on the night. Callie Paddock started off the scoring 3 minutes into the period, giving the Lakers a 4-0 lead. And the blowout was on. Sarah Hine had the assist on Paddock’s goal which meant she lead the team with three points on the night. Taylor Accursi picked up her first goal of the night five minutes later with the assist coming from Megan Whiddon. The final goal that put Penn State out of its misery came from Rachael Smith which was her second of the night. The Lakers never let Penn State into the game essentially nullifying the powerful duo of Amy Petersen and Laura Bowman.
“They know they weren’t at their best today,” Jackson said. “They didn’t execute well but we all know in that locker room they have the ability to do so. But tomorrow’s another day and we’ll get another crack at them.”
Sure enough, Penn State had a much stronger performance in the second game of the series. Penn State still fell, 4-3, to Mercyhurst despite many offensive chances specifically on the power play.
The Lakers jumped out to an early lead behind a goal from Jillian Skinner off a pass from Sarah Hine who notched her fourth point of the weekend. Only a few minutes later, Brooke Hartwick crossed the blue line with the puck before dodging around a Penn State defender. From there she flipped a backhand shot past Ehresmann for the 2-0 lead.
But multiple penalties late in the period against Mercyhurst gave Penn State time to regain control and start to fire shots on net. That’s when Penn State picked up there first goal of the series when Katie McMillan was able to find the goal. Amy Peterson and Abby Welch had the assists.
To start the second period, Penn State was still on a power play from the period prior and took advantage with a goal just 28 seconds into the period. This time it was Brooke Madsen with the goal. Amy Peterson and Laura Bowman had the assists on that goal.
Unfortunately, Penn State’s momentum did not last long before Maggie Knott answered just minutes later. This gave the Lakers a one goal lead but that was not all as Hartwick picked up her second goal of the game stretching Mercyhurst’s lead to 4-2.
Penn State had an impressive third period where they fired continuous shots on net. Amy Peterson was able to find the net on a beautiful pass from Laura Bowman. That assist gave Bowman 100 career points for the first time in program history.
“It feels good,” Bowman said. “Honestly when it happened I didn’t realize it was 100th, Amy had such a great shot I honestly was just so happy we were getting closer to tying it up.”
Penn State had multiple more chances to tie the game including a great shot from Amy Petersen that rattled off the post. The horn signaling a goal blared prematurely which sent many fans into a frenzy thinking the puck had gone in. The referees waved it off but this was as close as Penn State came to tying the game.
“It’s always difficult to walk away from a weekend 0-2,” Jackson said. “We weren’t as sloppy today so it allowed the puck to move up and down the ice easier which allows momentum to build.”
When Penn State returns to action they will be on the road at Lindenwood.
Brian McLaughlin is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email email@example.com.