penn-state-womens-hockey-slammed-by-wisconsin-split-first-series-of-2022

Penn State women’s hockey slammed by Wisconsin, split first series of 2022

Story posted September 24, 2022 in

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — No. 14 Penn State was looking to build off its momentum after its stunning 4-1 upset over No. 3 Wisconsin on Thursday.

Not even a great atmosphere at Pegula Ice Arena could spark the Nittany Lions to a sweep however, as it fell to the Badgers by a whopping score of 9-1.

“We knew that after yesterday, Wisconsin was going to come hard. So that first period was going to be difficult,” Penn State coach Jeff Kampersal said.

The Badgers turned to freshman Jane Gervais in net after Cami Kronish started on Thursday. She stopped 22 Nittany Lion shots.

There were quality opportunities for both teams in the first five minutes. Both teams got a power play, but could not convert.

The Nittany Lions struggled to break the puck out of their defensive zone, which led to numerous Wisconsin chances. Even though goaltender Josie Bothun was able to bail the blue and white out for its miscues, it still cost them later in the game.

“We tried making difficult plays, like skipping a pass instead of making an easy pass and that cost us,” Kampersal said.

The Nittany Lions started the second period on their third power play of the game. This time, they converted near the end of it. Kiara Zanon drove to the cage, stuffing the puck behind Gervais on a rebound, as the puck squeaked into the net giving Penn State a 1-0 lead.

“[Zanon] is a playmaker. She’s one of those players who plays with her head up,” Kampersal said. “She looks to pass before shooting, but I like the fact that she took it off the wall and had the intuitiveness to see that [the puck] made it home.”

After being conservative on the forecheck for the first period, the Badgers got rewarded because of their aggression in the offensive zone. After a failed Penn State clear, sophomore right wing Lacey Eden feathered the puck between two Nittany Lion defenders and junior center Casey O’Brien tapped it past Bothun.

The Badgers continued to apply the pressure. A bouncing puck landed on the stick of Britta Curl and she fired it through traffic, giving the Badgers the lead. Wisconsin added extra insurance off of a brutal defensive zone turnover.

After Bothun’s terrific split save, Eden kept the play alive by wrapping the puck around the net and stuffing it home to give the Badgers a 3-1 lead.

Penn State was outshot 14-8 in the second period.

The third period was all Wisconsin. From forcing Penn State turnovers to making the Nittany Lions take careless penalties, the Badgers piled on six goals and forced Bothun out of the game. Freshman Katie Desa made her debut and surrendered three goals in a span of almost three minutes to make it 8-1 Wisconsin.

Kampersal tried to slow down the bloodbath by replacing Desa with Annie Spring, but the Badgers added a ninth goal to seal the deal.

Despite this crushing defeat, the moral in the Penn State locker room remains high even after the amount of mistakes committed.

“Sometimes unlucky bounces happen, but I do think that we can clean that up, and that's just a matter of getting used to it,” Zanon said. “It's our second game this season. Communication is a big part of that, but we'll definitely get there.”

Wisconsin outshot Penn State 46-23 and held the Nittany Lions to just eight shots in the final frame.

The Nittany Lions are back in action next week as they travel to Canton, New York to play the Minnesota Duluth Huskies.

Jacob Cheris is a senior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email jacobcheris19@gmail.com.