Penn State vs. Wisconsin: Series Grades

Story posted September 27, 2022 in CommRadio, Sports by Josh Bartosik

The No. 14 Penn State Nittany Lions opened up their season with a rather surprising series split against the No. 5 Wisconsin Badgers, giving them their biggest win in program history.

Game 1 was one of the best offensive performances from the Nittany Lions in recent memory, with four goals on 24 shots in a 4-1 win.

Game 2 was Wisconsin’s turn to show off their offensive prowess however, putting up a whopping nine goals in a 9-1 rout.

Here are the grades from a shocking opening series.

Offense: B+

If this opening series was any indication for the rest of the season for the Nittany Lions, then watch out for Tessa Janecke. The freshman forward put on an absolute clinic in Game 1, finding the back of the net twice in a three point performance.

Janecke was one of many new faces that had a stellar opening night, as both transfers Eleri Mackay and Courtney Correia along with freshmen Katelyn Roberts and Kendall Butze tallied an assist in the win.

Kiara Zanon had a solid weekend as well to start off what is a crucial year for her as a Nittany Lion. Zanon started off the season on the right foot, scoring the game-winning goal in Game 1 and the only goal for the Nittany Lions in Game 2.

Defense: C+

While there were plenty of good things to mention in the opening series, the defense was certainly not one of them. The Badgers had several odd man rushes in both games in the series, which in turn led to the high offensive output in Game Two.

The inability to break out the puck from their own end once again proved to be the downfall of the Nittany Lions, as the Badgers dominated time of possession and hemmed the blue and white in their own zone for the majority of the second and third periods.

Not everything was negative on the defensive front however. The Nittany Lions had a whopping 36 blocked shots in the series, most notably the second defensive pairing of Izzy Heminger and Kendall Butze having eight combined blocked shots, four each respectively. 

Goaltending: A-

Once again, Josie Bothun stood on her head for as long as she could before it eventually came crashing down. Bothun had a phenomenal opening night, stopping 27 shots and shutting down the Badgers on all five power play opportunities.

Game 2 saw an entire team collapse, which in turn led to an early exit for Bothun after giving up five goals on 32 shots. The other two netminders, Katie Desa and Annie Spring, struggled mightily during the contest as well, giving up four goals combined on 14 shots.

Although Game 2 was one to forget for each of the goaltenders, Bothun should not be discouraged after a remarkable Game 1. The Nittany Lions will need a repeat performance from opening night if they want a chance at taking down Minnesota-Duluth this week.

Coaching: B

Credit must be given when credit is due, and Jeff Kampersal earned a massive amount of credit after leading the Nittany Lions to their first ever win over a top-five ranked team in program history.

The special teams showed out in a huge way as well, with the power play going two-for-eight on the weekend and the penalty kill shutting down the Badgers all series with just one goal against on eight attempts.

Even with a strong special teams performance, eight penalties in a series is playing with fire. If Kampersal’s squad wants to prove themselves as a premier program, they need to show a lot more discipline in the coming weeks.

Josh Bartosik is a second-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email