Penn State Comes Back to Remain Unbeaten, Earns Tie vs. Syracuse

Story posted December 6, 2020 in CommRadio, Sports by Kyle Cannillo

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State remains unbeaten. After falling behind in the first period, Penn State dominated the second, third and overtime periods to come back and earn a 2-2 tie against the Syracuse Orange.

“They could have given up,” Penn State head coach Jeff Kampersal said. “They chose to battle. That’s what I’m proud of.”    

Coming into this weekend, Penn State was 2-26-5 versus Syracuse all-time. With a 2-1 victory yesterday and a hard-earned draw today, it’s safe to say it was an impressive weekend for the blue and white.

Syracuse also came to play. After their defeat the day before, the Orange took it personally and came out with a strong first period.

The story of the first period was Syracuse senior Victoria Klimek. The Orange stormed the opening frame, firing 20 shots and putting two past freshman goalie Josie Bothun. Klimek scored both goals from just in front of the blue paint. The first was on a power play in the slot, and the second was on a 3-on-1.

Penn State played the majority of the period down a player, taking four penalties. The Nittany Lions couldn't establish much offensively because of it.

On Syracuse’s second goal, Bothun made the initial cross-crease save, but the rebound was sitting clean in the blue paint for Klimek to clean up.

In between periods, Kampersal made it clear that the most important play was just the next one. 

“I’ve been working on myself a lot and don't want to get too emotional,” he said. “I just told them to press the reset button. Chip away.”

It was a clean sheet in the second period, but Penn State took control of the action. The Nittany Lions held a 12-3 shot advantage and had the majority of the good looks. Rene Gangarosa particularly impressed for Penn State with a few scoring chances in the second period. She sped down the left wing, protected the puck with her body, and nearly put it past the outstretched arm of ‘Cuse goalie Allison Small.

Small was excellent in net all game long. She stopped 44 of 46 Nittany Lions shots. The senior from Ontario is having one of the best seasons of her career with a .926% save percentage. 

But ultimately, Penn State never quit. The third period was much like the second, as Penn State pushed hard. This time, it paid off. Freshman Carrie Byrnes cut hard to the net and chased her own rebound. She elevated the puck over Small’s left pad, and Penn State had life.

Two minutes and 10 seconds, later, Penn State got another with under 10 to play. Jess Ciarrocchi forced a turnover at the blue line when she fed Amy Dobson down low, who then put it bar down.

“I thought we stuck it to them,” Dobson said. “We grabbed momentum back.”

Momentum, indeed. Penn State was quick to look for more, but the late push wasn’t enough to find a winner.

The overtime period was nothing short of chaos. A new rule in the CHA this year saw 3-on-3 action for the entirety of the extra frame. As expected, chances came in both quality and quantity. Penn State’s Natlie Heising was robbed from point blank by Small, and the rebound created a Syracuse breakaway. But Bothun stood tall, and the game continued.

As the seconds ticked away, Lyndie Lobdell found herself one-on-one with the goalie but rang it off the post.

And that was the end of the game. Even in a draw, Penn State has to be pleased with its effort, especially after a slow start in the first period.

The rivalry doesn't stop. Penn State will take on this same Syracuse team next weekend in New York. It will be the first time that the team travels on the road this season.


Kyle Cannillo is a broadcast journalism major at Penn State University. To contact him, please email