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Penn State Women’s Hockey Completes Comeback For 5-3 Victory Over Lindenwood

Penn State women’s hockey (5-4-2) used a strong third period to take down Lindenwood (1-8) 5-3 at Pegula Ice Arena Friday night.

Despite struggling for most of the game, the Nittany Lions used a final offensive push to pick up their fifth win of the season. Jeff Kampersal’s group exploded for five goals in the final frame to grab a win in the series opener.

How It Happened

Penn State entered Friday’s game against Lindenwood after splitting a two-game series in Erie against Mercyhurst last weekend. Lindenwood, after starting 0-7, finally picked up its first win of the season in its last game against Syracuse 5-3.

The Nittany Lions went with sophomore Josie Bothun in goal while Lindenwood elected to start junior Julia Maguire between the pipes.

Despite being the better team on paper, Penn State was outplayed in the first 10 minutes, registering just two shots on goal and was forced to chase pucks in its own zone due to costly turnovers. As a result of Penn State’s sloppy play early on, Lindenwood took advantage and netted the games first goal just under six minutes into the opening period. Sophomore forward Kaitlin Finnegan got loose in front of the Penn State goal for her first goal of the season. Forwards Gigi Pora and Morgan Neitzke were credited with the assists.

Immediately following the Lindenwood goal, Penn State was given a chance to tie the game after forward Megan Wagner was sent to the box for two minutes for tripping. Despite the man advantage, Penn State was unable to generate enough offense and the game returned to even-strength hockey with Lindenwood still leading 1-0.

After a long stretch of back and forth hockey, Penn State once again struggled to shake off the forecheck from Lindenwood. A one timer from Gigi Pora quickly gave the Lions a 2-0 lead after the first period.

Unlike the first period, the Nittany Lions were the more physical team early on in the second did a better job of holding onto the puck.

The first power play of the second came just over two minutes into the second period. Nittany Lions forward Rachel Weiss was whistled for slashing to give Lindenwood its second power play of the game. However, Penn State killed the penalty with ease and the game returned to full strength.

Despite the strong effort in the early parts of the second and the momentum from the penalty kill, Penn State struggled to hold onto the puck and as a result, failed to generate enough scoring chances to keep pace with Lindenwood’s physicality.

With a chance to get the offense going and cut the Lindenwood lead in half, Penn State was sent to the power play after sophomore defenseman Sena Takenaka was whistled for cross checking. Although they were able to move the puck more fluently and create more scoring chances, the Nittany Lions once again were shut out on the power play as even strength play resumed with Lindenwood still up 2-0.

The second period came to an end with Penn State still trailing by two despite outshooting Lindenwood 31-13.

Much like the second period, it didn’t take long for the offense to get going in the third, only this time Penn State found the back of the net to cut the Lindenwood lead in half. Junior forward Julie Gough poked home a loose puck in front of the net for her sixth of the season. Forwards Maeve Connolly and Lexie Bedier were credited with the assists.

With all the momentum leaning towards the Nittany Lions, Penn State managed to turn this game around with two goals in just over a minute to take a 3-2 lead. Sophomore forward Alyssa Machado and junior defenseman Mallory Uihlein both scored their third goals of the year, respectively.

Looking for more insurance, Penn State was gifted with an extended 5-on-3 power play. Despite the two-man advantage, the Nittany Lions were held scoreless once again on the power play.

Penn State’s surging third period continued when the Nittany Lions scored their fourth straight goal, this time while shorthanded to take a 4-2 lead with just over ten minutes remaining. Captain Natalie Heising scored her seventh of the season and the 58th of her collegiate career. The lone assist on the goal went to sophomore forward Kiara Zanon.

Trying to fight its way back into the game, Lindenwood took advantage of a Penn State penalty and scored an unassisted goal to cut the Nittany Lions lead to one goal with just under six minutes remaining. Valerie Caldwell was credited with the score following a brief replay review.

A late push from Lindenwood proved not enough as Penn State scored an empty netter in the final minute. The Nittany Lions outshot Lindenwood 49-20

Players Of The Game

Alyssa Machado and Natalie Heising

It was Alyssa Machado’s goal early in the third that tied the game at two, giving Penn State all the momentum late. Captain Natalie Heising also had a big game, scoring two goals to add to her impressive career totals.

What’s Next?

Penn State will look for the two-game sweep over Lindenwood at 2 p.m. Saturday at Pegula Ice Arena. The game will be available to watch on BTN+.

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