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No. 10 Penn State Women’s Hockey Sweeps Syracuse, Clinches CHA Regular-Season Title

No. 10 Penn State (22-8-2) women’s hockey traveled to Syracuse, New York, to take on its conference rivals and earned the double against the Orange (9-20-2) with two resounding victories.

Winning the first game in a 7-0 landslide, the Nittany Lions were forced to sweat out a second matchup that stayed even through two periods. When the blue and white broke through, however, they piled on the goals for a 4-1 victory that propelled them to a CHA regular-season championship

Game One

From the onset of the first matchup, the Nittany Lions looked adept at pressuring their opponents, keeping the puck in threatening positions for the majority of the first 10 minutes. Almost 10 minutes into the first period, Olivia Wallin finished the play from up close, capitalizing on Penn State’s onslaught.

As the period wore on, the Nittany Lions continued to attack with confidence, as Lyndie Lobdell found Maeve Connolly with space to place the puck over the Orange goaltender to put Penn State up 2-0.

As the second period began, Courtney Correia earned a breakaway opportunity, and after a fake shot and deke to the backhand, buried the puck for the third straight Nittany Lion goal.

The score remained 3-0 for the remainder of the second as Penn State slowed its game down to maintain its lead.

The Nittany Lions picked up the pace once more in the third period to finish the game. Mya Vaslet tracked down a rebound and stuffed the puck home from the low slot to set the score at 4-0 Penn State.

The Nittany Lions proved themselves masters of rebounds, as Wallin used her quick reflexes to beat the defense to a dangerous puck and pushed the lead to 5-0.

With the game already in hand, Kiara Zanon and Alyssa Machado tacked on two more goals in garbage time to shut out the Orange 7-0.

Game Two

Game two proved to be a quieter affair, as Syracuse seemed to game plan a more conservative forecheck to counter the faster Nittany Lions on the break. When the puck was settled, the Nittany Lions were quick to pull the trigger on shots, but only nine of 16 pucks found the net and were all turned away by Arielle DeSmet.

Penn State also played stifling defense, only allowing its opponents seven shots on goal, with none being of much quality. The first period ended 0-0 with the ice-breaking goal not yet scored.

The second period was also scoreless, but the box score told a different story than the first frame. Uncharacteristically, the Nittany Lions conceded 10 face-offs to their opponents and only won eight themselves. This allowance of possession helped the Orange mount a sustained attack, firing 15 shots at Josie Bothun. Penn State’s unselfish defense congested the center of the ice and only allowed six shots to reach the net, which Bothun dealt with easily.

The Nittany Lions streaked late in the period, tallying 13 shots on goal themselves, but neither team was able to capitalize before the period expired with the score 0-0.

Penn State wouldn’t stay quiet all game, though, as its high-octane offense surged two minutes into the final period. Mallory Uihlein teed up from the point and snuck the opening goal past DeSmet to put the Nittany Lions in the lead.

The matchup became chippy with 13:48 to go in the third, as both teams were assessed minor penalties, forcing two minutes of 4-on-4 hockey. The Nittany Lions used the open ice to their advantage when Kendall Butze found Tessa Janecke on a cross-crease pass to extend Penn State’s lead to 2-0.

Two minutes later, the Nittany Lions earned a 2-on-1 advantage, and Janecke and Eleri MacKay stormed down the ice. MacKay tapped the one-timer home for the 3-0 goal.

On a roll, the blue and white offense couldn’t be contained, even short-handed. The Orange went with the aggressive play of pulling DeSmet with four minutes to go to give themselves a 6-on-4 advantage, but Kiara Zanon took Izzy Heminger’s feed and scored on the empty net to make the game 4-0.

Syracuse wouldn’t be shutout twice, though, as Mae Batherson beat Bothun to make the final score 4-1 Penn State.

What’s Next

Penn State takes a weekend off before returning to New York, this time traveling to RIT for a pair of games against its CHA rival Tigers. The first game is on February 17, and puck drop is scheduled 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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