Women’s Hockey: Nittany Lions Sweep Series with RIT

Story posted January 31, 2016 in CommRadio, Sports by Alissa Devine

The Penn State Nittany Lions shut out the RIT Tigers in both games, posting a 1-0 on Friday night and continuing the effort Saturday in a 2-0 win. Friday night, the team’s effort and business-like manner on the ice ultimately led to Penn State’s best hockey of the season in the second and third periods, outshooting RIT 33-14.

The Blue and White made smart decisions with the puck on both ends of the rink, making no mistakes for RIT to capitalize on offensively. The Tigers had little to no opportunities to fire pucks at goalie Celine Whitlinger, and only had a couple of high quality scoring chances.

“Overall I think it was a really great effort team-defense wise,” Jordan Pardoski commented on Penn State’s dominating defensive play. “I think we were able to keep it in their zone most of the game, so that obviously stopped them from getting shots on our own end.”

Defensively, the Nittany Lions only gave up 14 shots on goal throughout three periods. For a majority of play, the puck was in RIT’s zone with Penn State on the attack, leaving no room for RIT to get any momentum offensively.

Penn State head coach Josh Brandwene also praised his team’s defensive efforts and said, “Really strong effort by our d-core today. We did a great job with our gap control and a great job with communication. Defense is a team effort and so we got great effort from our forwards, centers helping out down low and wingers with shot blocks.”

Little plays defensively gave the Nittany Lions the edge over RIT. There were no opportunities for the Tigers to generate any offense as a result of numerous blocked shots and a team effort on both ends of the ice. Hannah England was noted for a late shot block in the third, eliminating any chance for RIT to get the game-tying goal late in the third period. Bella Sutton excelled defensively and also made things happen offensively with balanced play throughout the game and hitting the post early on.

The Nittany Lions tallied the lone goal of the evening on a rare short-handed goal by Amy Peterson. Penn State hadn’t scored a short-handed goal all season until tonight, as Laura Bowman set up Peterson to bury her fifth goal of the season.

The story was no different Saturday as Penn State again dominated on both ends of the ice to shut out RIT 2-0, holding the Tigers to 15 shots on net in Saturday’s contest and 29 total shots throughout the weekend. The win marks the Blue and White’s second series sweep this season. With the sweep, Penn State improves to 9-14-5 overall and 5-4-5 in CHA action.

“Really pleased with the overall effort, poise, and hard work from our hockey team this weekend,” said Brandwene. “What I’m most pleased about is we got better today than we were yesterday in a lot of different areas. We were even more consistent than yesterday in puck decisions. As good as it was yesterday, it was that much better today. “

Saturday’s game had contributions from the second line, finally getting rewarded for their hard work.

Shannon Yoxheimer opened the scoring with a power play goal as she tallied her fourth goal of the season. Penn State cycled the puck into RIT’s zone until Remi Martin blasted a shot on goal from the point with Yoxheimer in front of the net for the deflection.

In the third period, Yoxheimer added her second goal of the game with 4:52 left in regulation, burying the puck in the back of the net in front of RIT’s goaltender Jenna de Jonge for her fifth goal on the season. Freshman Victoria Samuelsson and Hannah England again were credited with the assists on the second goal.

“It was only a matter of time before we had some more break through goals from a number of different people, Brandwene commented on more lines producing offensively for Penn State. “Shannon Yoxheimer, Hannah England, and Victoria Samuelsson were absolutely dominant today and Yoxheimer was in beast mode all weekend. She played great on both ends of the ice. She made some great defensive plays yesterday, continued that effort today and got rewarded with just some great work going to the net on offense. It was just a well rounded effort by their entire line.”

The Nittany Lions are peaking at the right time and are finally getting rewarded for their hard work and determination, producing on all lines offensively. Look for more hard work and grinding play on the puck next weekend, as the Penn State Nittany Lions take on Syracuse in another weekend series at Happy Valley.

Alissa Devine in a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact her, email alissadevine96@gmail.com.