Lions Unable to Complete Sweep, Fall 4-1 to Princeton
Penn State women’s hockey (3-3-2) looked to sweep the Princeton Tigers (1-1-0) in what was a two-game series at the Pegula Ice Arena after they downed the Tigers 2-1 in their first matchup Sunday evening. However, the Nittany Lions were unable to come away with the sweep, losing 4-1 Monday afternoon.
The Lions, led by a powerful front line, had an early power play opportunity but were unable to get on the scoreboard. Princeton took control offensively soon after when Kelsey Koelzer scored at the 8:35 mark. Her goal, assisted by Hilary Lloyd, put the Tigers up 1-0 in the first period.
Princeton’s Molly Strabley was called for hooking with a little over two minutes to play in the first period, giving the Nittany Lions their second power play. They were unable to capitalize however, and Penn State went into the first intermission down 1-0.
With only 12 shots total between the two teams in the first period, the Nittany Lions found themselves in a tight game.
“It was a type of game I refer to as a War of Attrition”, said head coach Josh Brandwene.
With low shot totals and a strong defensive effort from Princeton, the young Penn State team tried to find ways to make things happen in the second frame.
The Tigers looked to continue their offensive dominance. Princeton outshot the Nittany Lions nine to three in the first period, and they looked to do much of the same going into the second.
Penn State went on the power play for the third time when Princeton’s Brianna Leahy was put in the box for slashing. However, Penn State’s Shannon Yoxheimer was penalized shortly thereafter, forcing about a minute of four-on-four action.
Penn State’s Laura Bowman took advantage of the open ice, beating Princeton’s goalie, Kimberly Newell. Bowman executed the one-on-one situation, placing the puck in the corner of the goal, tying it up at 1-1.
However, Princeton continued to fight, answering in the final minute of the second period when Kiersten Falck assisted Cristin Shanahan for a go-ahead goal. Princeton went into the final intermission with a 2-1 lead.
Penn State came out hot, possessing the puck for a majority of time in the beginning of the third period. The Lions were unable to execute however, and a Penn State penalty committed by Hannah Brahm put the Tigers in a prime scoring opportunity. They executed on the power play when Molly Contini scored, inceasing the Tigers’ lead to two goals.
Bowman nearly cut Princeton’s lead in half with an excellent shot from the right side of the goal, but it ricochet off the post and cross bar.
Bowman, Penn State’s lone scorer, felt that the younger players battled hard during the game, saying that the freshmen “are very mentally tough”.
“We’re going to improve”, said Bowman. “Not just the freshmen, but our team too.”
Despite their efforts, Penn State was unable to find the net. Princeton sealed the victory when a late goal went in off the stick of Cassidy Tucker, making the final score 4-1.
“It was a valuable experience,” said Coach Brandwene. “They’re communicating, they’re moving the puck well, they’re supporting each other on loose pucks.”
Brandwene’s reassuring message was that improvement would continue. “The outcome will happen if the process is good.”
The Penn State’s women’s hockey team will hit the ice again on Friday when they travel to Syracuse. Tune in to ComRadio on Thursday for live coverage of men’s hockey when the Nittany Lions face off against Bentley at the Pegula Ice Arena. Puck drop is set for 7 p.m.
Alex Bobbyn is a freshman majoring in Broadcast Journalism. To contact him, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.