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Penn State Women’s Hockey Ties, Drops One In Pair Of Overtime Battles Against Syracuse

Penn State women’s hockey (14-9-4, 7-3-2 CHA) took on the Syracuse Orange (12-9-6, 10-3-1 CHA) for a two-game set at Pegula Ice Arena over the course of this weekend.

Both teams faced each other back in the middle of November and settled for a series split. This weekend held more intense games, as the two evenly matched squads tied in an exciting battle Friday night. From there, the Nittany Lions fell in another tight game Saturday afternoon.

How It Happened

Game One

Donning its gray alternate uniforms, Penn State controlled the puck and played well to begin the game. After plenty of back-and-forth action, the Nittany Lions went on the power play thanks to a Syracuse hooking minor. However, Orange goaltender Arielle DeSmet continued to deny the Nittany Lions throughout the one-skater advantage. 

Once again, Syracuse took a penalty, with Victoria Klimek taking a two-minute minor for unsportsmanlike conduct. DeSmet made several great saves as she faced enormous pressure from Penn State. Penn State gave up the advantage as Lyndie Lobdell took a penalty, thus giving Syracuse some time on the power play. 

Syracuse wasted no time on the power play and scored immediately. Anna Leschyshyn put the puck past Josie Bothun from a close angle to open the scoring late in the first period. 

Penn State took a second penalty to begin the second period, and this time it was Kiara Zanon being sent to the sin bin. The Nittany Lions ironically looked better than the Orange, though, with one shot even hitting the goal post. 

Penn State whiffed on several chances in the second period. The opportunities were being created, but the puck couldn’t find the net. 

At the eight-minute mark, Syracuse took a penalty. Then, right after that, the Nittany Lions took one as well. It would be four-on-four hockey, and the period remained scoreless.

The third period was full of frustrating missed chances for Penn State. However, the Nittany Lions were outshooting the Orange and pressuring DeSmet throughout the sequence.

After plenty of play in the third period, Penn State had a late equalizer in the game thanks to an Alyssa Machado goal. Neither team broke the tie, forcing a 3-on-3 sudden death overtime.

Overtime was full of exciting chances for both teams. However, game one of the series ended in a 1-1 tie despite the Nittany Lions outshooting the Orange 46-28.

Game Two

Penn State and Syracuse began round two by playing a tight game. DeSmet was back in goal for the Orange, presenting a tough challenge for the Nittany Lions as she has maintained a .937 save percentage this season and stopped 45 shots in game one.

Per usual, Penn State took plenty of shots and began to get into an offensive groove in the first period. Although Jeff Kampersal’s squad went on the power play twice and was outshooting Syracuse 24-3, Penn State could not seem to catch DeSmet off guard.

The second period began with a Syracuse power play as Olivia Wallin was sent to the sin bin for roughing. Syracuse wasted no time and scored 16 seconds into the period, with Jessica DiGirolamo sending the puck sailing past Josie Bothun to make the score 1-0 in favor of the Orange.

DeSmet continued to make life difficult for the Nittany Lions. It was more of the same, penalties were taken and no goals were scored in the second period despite Penn State outshooting Syracuse by a huge margin.

At 10:38 in the third period, Penn State finally tied it up. Rachel Weiss scored an unassisted goal, her fourth of the season, which was a much needed morale boost for her team. The Nittany Lions had taken almost 80 shots at Desmet and she’d stopped all but one of them, and it was seemingly inevitable that the Nittany Lions would eventually get past her given their play throughout the game.

For the second consecutive game, these two teams needed overtime to determine the score. Similarly to game one, game two lacked offense and was dominated by solid goaltending on both sides with Arielle DeSmet and Josie Bothun both playing extremely well. Bothun made 29 saves in regulation Saturday while Desmet stopped a whopping 91 shots over the course of two games.

In overtime, play was back and forth with the goaltenders doing the bulk of the work. However, Syracuse ultimately scored and won the game, avoiding a series split in Happy Valley with a final score of 2-1.

What’s Next?

Penn State will play at Cornell on Tuesday, February 8. Puck drop is scheduled for 7 p.m.

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About the Author

Nolan Wick

Nolan is a third-year journalism major from Silver Spring, Maryland, which means he's an avid fan of all D.C. sports teams. If Nolan isn't writing about or watching sports, you can probably find him listening to all sorts of music or traveling. To keep up with Nolan, you can follow him on Twitter @nolan_wick or email him at [email protected].

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