Natalie Heising’s Overtime Goal Lifts Penn State Women’s Hockey Over Mercyhurt

Story posted January 28, 2022 in Sports, CommRadio by Alyssa Wagner

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — After two scoreless periods, Mercyhurst struck first early in the third period. Natalie Heising responded with an extra attacker goal of her own late in the third, sending the game into overtime. Heising did not hesitate and scored again within the first 16 seconds of overtime for the Penn State win.

Heising’s first goal was assisted by Olivia Wallin and Anna Promersberger. Penn State had an extra player on the ice, as goaltender Josie Bothun was pulled with less than a minute remaining in the game.

Bothun had 22 saves in total, allowing only one goal slip past her.

Heising felt that Penn State dominated the game, playing really good hockey, but was unhappy with the way it was reflected on the scoreboard during the last few minutes of play. When asked about her goal to tie the game, she simply said, “the opportunity was there, and I was able to follow the puck to the net and put it in.”

During the two-minute intermission before overtime, head coach Jeff Kampersal said the team, “just chatted and rallied each other, which is actually really cool.”

Heising struck hard and fast during the 3-on-3 overtime after a faceoff win from Kiara Zannon.

“Kiara [Zannon] getting the possession first was huge, then Rene [Gangarosa] had moved the puck up the ice, skating by [Mercyhurst] players,” Heising said.

She initially thought Gangarosa scored, but followed the puck anyway, which led her to the overtime goal, which was assisted by both Zannon and Gangarosa.

Mercyhurst coaches challenged the goal, suspecting a Penn State player was offside, but to no avail.

“If anyone on the team was going to finish it, it would be [Natalie],” Gangarosa said.

Kampersal added that Heising is a clutch player and “when she has the opportunity to score, she almost always puts it away.”

Coach Kampersal finished by saying he wants to “crush [Mercyhurst’s] spirit early” on Saturday. He noted that in a series the losing team always comes back stronger, and that the first 10 minutes are crucial for setting the tone of the game.

Saturday’s game is Penn State’s annual Skate for a Cure game for breast cancer awareness. The team will have posters for people in their lives that have been impacted by breast cancer, as well as wearing pink shirts, headbands and masks.

Penn State’s record is now 12-8-3 for the season and 5-2-1 for the CHA Conference. Winning this game should help boost the team’s momentum for the remainder of this series, and for next weekend as it faces Syracuse at home.

The Nittany Lions will look to sweep the Mercyhurst Lakers on Saturday, with a 2 p.m. puck drop.


Alyssa Wagner is a first-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact her, email her at ajw6714@psu.edu.