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No. 11 Penn State Women’s Hockey Sweeps Brown With 4-2 Victory

No. 11 Penn State women’s hockey (10-5-1) returned to Pegula Ice Arena to finish its homestand against Brown (3-4-1) after Sunday night’s shutout, taking care of business with a 4-2 score.

Jumping out to a 2-0 lead in the first, the Nittany Lions were unable to hold on late, conceding two third-period goals. Julie Gough put the blue and white back in front with a last-minute goal, and Kiara Zanon finished the job with an empty netter.

How It Happened

Penn State fielded a new forward line to begin its second match against the Bears, starting Alyssa Machado, Mya Vaslet, and Katelyn Roberts for the opening draw. Josie Bothun tended the goal for the blue and white, while Kaley Doyle returned to the cage for Brown.

After winning the puck drop, the Nittany Lions found space in the attacking third, setting up four shots to open the game. An early chance came on the rush as freshmen Kendall Butze and Tessa Janecke sped down the ice on a 2-on-1, but Doyle covered all options for the pair and the game remained level.

Penn State created another opportunity, this time spearheaded by Lyndie Lobdell and Olivia Wallin, but congestion in the crease kept the puck out. As the puck was cleared after the pileup, Brown’s captain, Madie Stockfish took a tripping penalty in the neutral zone and gave the Nittany Lions a power play.

Brown played an incredibly dense zone to protect their crease on the penalty kill, reacting to its shortcoming in the first game of the series where it gave up a “garbage” goal on its doorstep in the same situation. The Nittany Lions looked unfazed, however, as Kiara Zanon found a cutting Julie Gough in the slot to convert the powerplay and put Penn State up 1-0.

Zanon took a penalty for slashing late in the period, but the Nittany Lions’ strong penalty kill unit was able to shut down the opportunity without much trouble. Then, just before intermission, Penn State expanded its lead to 2-0 as Wallin snuck a bullet of a puck above the glove of Doyle for her fifth goal of the season.

After outshooting Brown 18-8, Penn State returned to a fresh sheet of ice for period two. The Nittany Lions almost struck again early in the second as Zanon controlled the puck in the low slot, but Doyle flashed the blocker and the chance went begging.

In a rare scene of hockey rulings, Julie Gough served a bench minor penalty for delay of game after there was some confusion about the location of the faceoff. Brown was unable to restart their stagnant power play and Penn State ran out the infraction comfortably.

As the period ticked onwards, Penn State increased its advantage in the shots column and won 9-of-13 faceoffs in the first fifteen minutes of the second.

The game briefly shifted towards a more physical, chippy brand of hockey within the last four minutes of the frame with Eleri MacKay taking an elbowing penalty for the Nittany Lions and Ellie Gauvin retaliating with a pretty nasty crosscheck on Zanon the next play. The four-on-four setting was played like a ping pong match with both teams more interested in clearing the puck than going on the offensive and they subsequently returned to full strength.

The period ended quietly with Penn State maintaining its 2-0 lead.

The Bears entered the third period with a mission to get back into the game, winning the center ice faceoff and gaining the offensive zone. Cutting down the left side of the ice, Jade Iginla was able to put the puck between Bothun’s blocker and pads as it dribbled across the goal line, halving Penn State’s lead to 2-1.

The middle of the period was all Brown, as it maintained a threatening presence on attack and was able to deflect the majority of Penn State’s attempts on goal to the corner where they feasted on pinned pucks.

Bothun was called on to make a large number of big saves, where she came up big on a low slot try from Iginla as well as a bevy of screened shots from the blue line.

Just as the game was seeming to swing back in Penn State’s favor, Brown knotted up the game at 2-2 after a faceoff win in the offensive zone set up India McDadi for an open shot that snuck past Bothun’s blocker.

Penn State’s sleeping offense woke back up, angrily, in the final two minutes of the game, peppering Doyle from every angle. Janecke found herself open for two big looks on goal, but an inhuman effort from Doyle kept the puck out of the net. Brown’s luck ran out, however, as Gough was able to cash in from up close and score the go-ahead goal with a minute to play, her second goal of the game.

Desperation from the Brown Bears led to Doyle getting pulled for the extra attacker, but Zanon put the game out of reach at 4-2 on the empty net.

Takeaways

  • Julie Gough secured a brace of goals, both opening the game and closing it with both go-ahead goals for Penn State. She also got in on the defensive effort and blocked a shot.
  • Kiara Zanon was a vital playmaker in creating Penn State’s lead with two assists. She was also able to finish an empty net chance from a low angle and with a defender on her hip to finish a three-point game.
  • The Nittany Lion penalty kill has separated itself as a major strength of the team. Penn State went the whole series against Brown without conceding a goal man-down.

What’s Next

Penn State will take the show on the road to play a two-game series at No. 8 Yale next weekend. The first contest is slated for 6 p.m. on Friday, November 18.

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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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