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No. 12 Penn State Women’s Hockey Decimates Syracuse 11-3 In Series Sweep

No. 12 Penn State women’s hockey (13-8-1) outscored defeated Syracuse (7-11-1), 11-3 in a barnburner this afternoon.

Jumping out to an early three-goal lead, the Nittany Lions allowed their opponents back into the game but hammered down late with seven unanswered scores. Captain Kiara Zanon also got her first career hat trick with silky wraparounds and adept rebounding.

How It Happened

Coach Kampersal gave junior Josie Bothun the nod for her 75th straight start in net for the Nittany Lions, while Arielle DeSmet returned for the Orange.

After winning the opening draw, Penn State got to work with the puck, finding its way into the zone around an ultra-aggressive forecheck from Syracuse. With defenders behind the play, Tessa Janecke found Olivia Wallin alone in the slot for an open look on goal. Wallin buried the puck to put the Nittany Lions up 1-0.

Similarly winning the next faceoff, Penn State worked its way up the ice on the skates of Kiara Zanon, whose speed created a breakaway chance on the net. Her shot beat DeSmet and rang off the pipe, but rebounded off of the Orange goalie and found its way into the net for the second Nittany Lion score in a minute.

Syracuse, looking to win back some momentum, pushed its forecheck well into the Nittany Lions’ zone to contest Penn State’s dominant clear game. The aggressive play didn’t pan out as Tatum White was called for tripping as she pursued the puck around the net. Penn State went on the power play and created dangerous chances around the zone, especially the doorstep of the goal. This time, DeSmet had an answer for the Nittany Lion offense and the man advantage expired.

The Orange didn’t stay down for long, however, as a shot from the blue line caught traffic in the slot, bouncing to Bothun’s feet. Madison Primeau was able to track down the puck before the defense and punched it in, setting the score at 2-1. Penn State used a coach’s challenge over suspicions of Syracuse being offsides, but the goal stood.

The Nittany Lions found their footing after giving up a tough goal as Julie Gough worked her way into open space on the faceoff dot and shot the puck low through DeSmet’s five-hole for the 3-1 goal.

Not letting up on the throttle before the end of the period, Penn State threatened the Orange with three skaters on the left side of the attacking zone, waiting for the defense to shift before dishing the puck to the opposite point. Izzy Heminger was waiting for the puck and unloaded a snapshot to put the Nittany Lions up 4-1 as the first period expired.

On a mission after intermission, Syracuse used the fresh ice to its advantage as it sped down the ice after creating a turnover at the point. Lauren Bellefontaine netted the unassisted goal to bring the Orange back into the game at 4-2.

Syracuse struck again three minutes later after Mae Batherson lobbed a puck on net from the blue line. The Nittany Lions weren’t prepared as the puck looped up and over Bothun and into the net, bringing the Orange back within one goal.

Tempers flared after a pileup in Penn State’s crease as Courtney Correia got into it with Sarah Thompson behind the play. Thompson earned four minutes for roughing on two infractions, while Correia was handed two minutes for her roughing. The penalties would offset, and Syracuse had to send Primeau to the box to serve the extra man-down portion. Not wasting any time, the Nittany Lions scored with their extra attacker as Zanon scored her second goal of the night to put Penn State up 5-3.

Penn State doubled down exactly two minutes later as it pressured Syracuse up the ice, allowing Eleri MacKay an open look on goal for her fourth score of the season and setting the score at 6-3.

Starting the third period where it left off, Penn State returned to the offensive zone in a hurry and peppered DeSmet with pucks. Working behind the cage, Rene Gangarosa found MacKay alone in the slot, who backhanded the puck toward the top shelf of the net and smashed the crossbar. She found the net after the puck rolled off of Syracuse’s netminder and across the goal line for her second goal of the night and Penn State’s seventh.

The Nittany Lions made a big defensive play as they stopped a threatening odd-man rush dead in its tracks when Correia opened up to block a shot from the point. She took a bullet of a puck to the foot and limped off the ice where a trainer was waiting for her.

Penn State took its defensive dominant defensive pressure back up the ice once more, this time Lyndie Lobdell found Wallin in front of the goal for the 8-3 score.

35 seconds ticked by before the Nittany Lions struck again off of the stick of Zanon from behind the net for the hat trick, ending Arielle DeSmet’s day early after conceding nine goals.

Syracuse gave backup goalie, Amelia Van Vliet, the last eight minutes of the contest to stop the bleeding.

Going for double digits against its conference rivals, Penn State turned the puck on net again and crashed the net for the rebound. Gough tracked the puck down through traffic and popped it in for her second goal of the night, setting the score at 10-3.

Forcing their opponents to sweat out the game, the Nittany Lions held an aggressive forecheck and forced a neutral zone turnover. Heminger created an open look at the cage that Maeve Connolly was able to redirect for a goal, icing the game at 11-3 Penn State.

Takeaways

  • Penn State spread the puck around and shared points with the whole team. Notable statlines include Kiara Zanon’s hat trick, Olivia Wallin and Eleri MacKay’s two-goal-two-assist games, and Tessa Janecke’s three assists.
  • Penn State held a stifling defense all game, only allowing its opponents 18 shots on goal. The Nittany Lions also played gritty and unselfish hockey in their own end, blocking eight shots for their goalie.
  • Josie Bothun earned a milestone 75th straight start for the Nittany Lions. Having such a strong presence in the cage has freed up the defense to play aggressively and look for takeaways, allowing for their signature high-octane play style.

What’s Next

The Nittany Lions get a much-deserved break until December 30 when they take on Long Island University at Pegula Ice Arena. Puck drop is set for 2 p.m.

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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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