Penn State With Fast Start, Improves to 15-1-1 When Scoring First

Story posted January 28, 2023 in CommRadio, Sports by Justin Ciavolella

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.- Think fast. Start fast.

No. 12 Penn State defeated Lindenwood 5-1 on Friday night in a game that was in full control from the opening faceoff.

Kiara Zanon won the opening draw for the blue and white setting the tone for what was to come.

Lindenwood came inches away from finding the back of the net first, but freshman defender Kendall Butze made a diving stop to prevent the puck crossing the red line.

Butze’s block, which comes off of a weekend in which she had eight against Mercyhurst, led to the momentum once again finding the Penn State sticks. Just before the midway point of the first period Lindenwood’s Morgan Neitzke was called for roughing, giving the blue and white an early chance to take the lead.

That is exactly what it did as Eleri MacKay buried a shot past Julia Maguire giving the Nittany Lions the first lead for the second consecutive game.

“We talk a lot about a fast start,” MacKay said. “That’s something that we want to take into every game and I think it sets the standard of play for the rest of the game.”

That standard of play was seen not too long later as the lead doubled to two with 7:21 left in the first 20 minutes when Olivia Wallin scored for the third time in the last five games.

The two-goal lead held into the first period intermission with the Nittany Lions outshooting the Lions 17-7.

In the middle frame, it was back and forth in shots for quite some time with Penn State still holding the advantage 12-8 in the second frame. Those eight shots were the most that Lindenwood would get off on junior netminder Josie Bothun.

Bothun held a shutout until the 3:05 mark of the third period making 23-of–24 saves en route to her 17th win of the season, which earned her the praise of head coach Jeff Kampersal.

“I think that since Josie has been here we’ve definitely relied on her and then we can play a certain aggressive style knowing that if things go a little wonky Josie is back there to help us out,” Kampersal said.

Before getting to those final 20 minutes Julie Gough, who announced on Friday morning that she will be using her extra year of eligibility next season, showed that aggressive style of play as she scored to make the Nittany Lion lead three goals.

Entering the third period with a three goal lead the blue and white came out firing as MacKay recorded her second power play goal of the game before five minutes had gone off the clock.

“I think it's exciting, especially at this time of the season. You know, you want your line to be clicking at the right time, so this is definitely a good time to be doing that,” MacKay said of her line with Tessa Janecke and Julie Gough. “...It’s really important to start clicking.”

Penn State recorded one more goal before five minutes were gone as Katelyn Roberts snuck a shot by Maguire to cap the Nittany Lion scoring at five goals.

Maguire recorded a loss for the seventh time in eight tries this season as she finished the night allowing five goals on 35 shots for Lindenwood.

The Lions’ got on the board with just over three minutes left as Neitzke made up for her earlier mistake, but it was all too little for Lindenwood.

Penn State picked up its program-record 19th victory of the season and will look to make it 20 wins when these two teams hit the ice for game two on Saturday at 2 p.m.

“Tomorrow will be a little bit of a different story,” Kampersal said. “We gave them a little life in that second period. They won’t have their bus legs tomorrow, so we gotta be ready to go.”

Justin Ciavolella is a second-year student majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email