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No. 11 Penn State Women’s Hockey Bests Mercyhurst 4-1

No. 11 Penn State women’s hockey (8-4-1) dominated Mercyhurst (5-6) 4-1 to open its two-game home series against the Lakers on Friday afternoon from Pegula Ice Arena.

After conceding the first goal of the outing, the Nittany Lions, led by Courtney Correia and Tessa Janecke, stormed back and tallied four unanswered to win the first game of the series handily.

How It Happened

Mercyhurst won the opening face-off and started its attack early, but the Nittany Lions managed to defend and start working their usual high-octane offensive presence and forecheck. Penn State went on the powerplay early when Vanessa Upson was called for interference. The blue and white found no luck in the offensive zone after a barrage of four challenging shots was turned away by goaltender Ena Nystrøm.

The Lakers surged after their penalty kill and on the following possession, found the back of the net in a physical scrum in the crease that allowed forward Liliane Perreault to tuck the puck into the five-hole of Josie Bothun.

Penn State refused to be down for long, though, as Correia found space in the face-off circle to unload a wrister that snuck past Nytrøm and set the game tied at 1-1.

Two minutes later, Correia won an offensive zone draw for the Nittany Lions, took the puck behind the net, and teed up an opportunity for Eleri MacKay. MacKay dropped to her knee to score a ridiculous goal in the upper corner and grab a Penn State lead at 2-1.

As the game went into the second period, the Nittany Lions found themselves on their first penalty kill of the game as sophomore Mya Vaslet was booked for cross-checking. Bothun stood tall, and with the help of a block from Mallory Uihlein, turned away four Laker chances.

Penn State then gained the offensive zone as its penalty expired and was tripped up, setting up its second powerplay of the night. Speedster Janecke sliced the Mercyhurst defense and controlled the puck from behind the cage. She wrapped the puck around to the slot and found Julie Gough in space for a one-time slapshot that put Penn State up 3-1.

The Nittany Lions were awarded yet another powerplay as Perreault was sent to the bin for tripping Lyndie Lobdell. After feeling Mercyhurst out for the first minute of its advantage, Penn State crashed the net hard and peppered Nystrøm. Janecke found the loose rebound and cashed in for her tenth goal of the season, extending the Nittany Lions’ lead to 4-1.

The third period began with physical passages of play as the puck was pinned to the boards on multiple occasions and neither team was able to sustain a prolonged attack.

Halfway through the period, the Lakers created a chance off of a neutral zone interception, and Mary Kromer was left all alone in the high slot. Josie Bothun was unfazed through head fakes and came up with a huge kick save on the breakaway.

Penn State parked the bus to end the period, only conceding five shots to Mercyhurst in the third period. Aside from having to survive a 44-second 6-4 disadvantage when Rene Gangarosa was put in the box for interference, the game ended without much fuss at 4-1 Penn State.

Takeaways:

  • Tessa Janecke has recorded at least one point in her sixth straight game. After her goal and assist against the Lakers today, she leads the team in points with 16. Janecke and her linemate, Kiara Zannon lead the team in goals and assists respectively.
  • While the final score looks like a resounding win, the Nittany Lions had to grind out an intensely physical matchup. Mercyhurst committed four penalties, notably one for body checking and one for interference, but there were also a lot of “extra-curricular activities” in the backwash of most plays. The Nittany Lions will have to be ready for another similar matchup to close the series tomorrow.
  • Penn State capitalized on the powerplay, going two-for-four on its chances today. This is a massive improvement from its season average before this game.

What’s Next?

The Nittany Lions will conclude their home stand against Mercyhurst at 1 p.m. on Saturday, November 5, from Pegula Ice Arena. The game will be streamed on BTN+.

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About the Author

Jack Scott

Jack is a sophomore aerospace engineer from Pittsburgh, PA. Sometimes, he enjoys the misunderstanding of his friends and family that Penn State Club Ski Racing may be a D1 sport and usually won't correct them. Jack is way too into Thundercat for his own good. Follow him on Twitter @joscottIV and Instagram @jackscott._iv

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