Women’s Hockey: Penn State Can’t Break Through vs. Mercyhurst
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.- Penn State women’s hockey faced off against CHA Division opponent Mercyhurst at Pegula Ice Arena. It was a two game series that took place Friday and Saturday.
Game one started off with a strong defensive battle between the Nittany Lions and the Lakers. Just 9:41 into the first period, the Nittany Lions got their first power play chance as Jillian Skinner took a body-checking penalty for Mercyhurst. Penn State was unable to score. Shortly after the power play ended for the Nittany Lions, defensemen Jordin Pardoski took a checking penalty at 12:50 in the first period giving the Lakers a power play opportunity. The Nittany Lions penalty kill unit stepped up and helped all-time saves record leader goaltender Celine Whitlinger hold off the offensive presence of Mercyhurst. After one period of play, Mercyhurst had nine shots on goal while Penn State had eight.
Penn State struggled to find momentum in the second period as Mercyhurst controlled the pace for most of the period. Momentum shifted to the Nittany Lions when the Lakers’ Paige Horton took a tripping penalty, giving Penn State a chance to take a lead. Mercyhurst buckled down and their penalty kill kept the Nittany Lions off the board.
Mercyhurst got the scoring started late in the second period when senior forward Kathy Donohue wristed a dribbler just past Whitlinger. Moments later, Penn State captain Shannon Yoxheimer took a body-checking penalty, giving Mercyhurst the momentum once again. Penn State found themselves in a five-on-three situation when Bella Sutton took a holding penalty with only 15 seconds left in the second period.
The third period started with a five-on-three opportunity for the Lakers, as the Nittany Lions dug deep and found a way to kill off both penalties. Both teams struggled to find the offense, as it became a defensive battle in the third period. Penn State found some offensive momentum when Mercyhurst Jennifer MacAskill took a checking from behind penalty that cost the Lakers a game misconduct. Penn State was unable to capitalize on the opportunity and lost game one 1-0.
“Both teams battle really hard and generated offense on both ends. Sometimes that one bounce goes the other way not much you can do about that. I loved our response going into the third period,” said head coach Josh Brandwene.
Game two started with strong defensive play from Penn State as Mercyhurst brought the offensive attack from the opening faceoff. Penn State saw penalty trouble again late in game two when Remi Martin took a tripping penalty. Moments later, the Lakers’ Molly Blasen took a tripping penalty giving the Nittany Lions a chance to strike first. Neither team was able to capitalize on the power play chances.
The second period started with an early power play chance for Penn State when Mercyhurst’s Taylor Accursi took a slashing penalty just 1:13 into the second. The Nittany Lions were unable to capitalize on the power play opportunity, but kept the momentum on their side. Penn State continued to dominate the second period as they tallied 14 more shots on net, giving them 20 shots on goal while Mercyhurst added 18 shots on goal through two.
Penn State got the scoring started in the third period when Shannon Yoxheimer shot a beautiful pass from line-mate Ali Hardy to give Penn State the 1-0 lead. Halfway through the final period, Penn State’s Meike Meilluer took a slashing penalty, shifting the momentum to the Lakers.
Penn State was unable to hold off the offensive presence of Mercyhurst when Brooke Hartwick scored a power play goal late in the third. After three periods of play, the score was tied at one. Entering a five-minute sudden death over time, Penn State’s Bella Sutton took a hooking penalty giving the Lakers the man advantage. The Nittany Lions’ penalty kill dug deep and prevented the Lakers from capitalizing on the man advantage. Neither team was able to find the back of the net in the overtime period as the game ended in a 1-1 tie.
Penn State will go on a 12-game road trip, starting with a weekend series against Robert Morris in Pittsburgh, Pa. Friday Nov. 13th and Saturday Nov. 14th.
Keith Smith is a senior majoring in telecommunications. Contact him via email at email@example.com or follow him on twitter: @iamkeithsmith.