Nittany Lions Shutout 1-0 in Season Opener

Story posted September 24, 2021 in Sports, CommRadio by Maclain Young

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.- The Penn State Nittany Lions opened up their season with a hard-fought loss to the St. Lawrence Saints 1-0.

The Nittany Lions began the night by unveiling their CHA regular-season championship banner in front of fans for the first time in over a year ahead of their matchup against the Saints.

“We were super grateful for people to be here and it was nice to see a roar zone for us,” head coach Jeff Kampersal said. “Those fans got us going and we appreciate them always supporting us.”

The blue and white rallied off the energy of the fans and came out extremely aggressive to start the game outshooting the Saints 7-2 after the first period.

Despite the offensive attack, it was St. Lawrence who jumped to an early lead. First-year forward Hillary Sterling deflected a shot from junior defender Rachel Teslak for her first collegiate goal.

The first period ended with the Nittany Lions’ sophomore forward Kiara Zanon drawing a penalty on a drive to the net, earning her squad 1:58 of powerplay time to begin the second period.

Despite some chances in the second period, the score remained 1-0 in favor of St. Lawrence.

The Nittany Lions best chance of the night came when sophomore forward Olivia Wallin found herself with a wide open net but junior goalie Lucy Morgan made an outstanding save to keep the game 1-0.

The Saints played organized defense and Morgan was excellent in net.

“They controlled the blue lines better than we did,” Kampersal said. 

The third period held more of the same with the Nittany Lions left frustrated against the well-organized St. Lawrence defense.

With about two minutes remaining, the blue and white hit the post and that led to a St. Lawrence counter-attack and forward Skylar Podvey on a breakaway. However, Lions sophomore goaltender Josie Bothun came up large.

“Whenever I see plays like that I try to stay patient because I know that somebody’s always coming back hard to back-check,” the Lions goaltender said of the play, “I just tried to stay patient, out wait her and it worked in my favor.”

Bothun finished the night with 16 saves on 17 St. Lawrence shot attempts and just the one goal allowed.

The Nittany Lions were gifted a power play with under a minute to play in the third period after St Lawrences’ Sterling picked up a kneeing penalty. Despite the late opportunity, the Lions were unable to convert, finishing the night 0-4 on the power play.

“People were dancing around trying to draw paintings when they just needed to draw straight lines,” Kampersal said, “St. Lawrence’s powerplay was really simple.”

Coach Kampersal wants to see his team play smarter hockey.

“Keep it simple and execute shorter shifts and stay out of the box,” Kampersal said.

The Nittany Lions will look to defeat the St. Lawrence Saints for the first time in program history when the two squads matchup again on Friday, September 24.

Maclain Young is a second-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email macyoung21@gmail.com.