No. 10 Penn State Women’s Hockey Overwhelms RIT In Two-Game Road Series

No. 10 Penn State women’s hockey (24-8-2, 14-1-1 CHA) traveled to Rochester, New York on Friday and Saturday, and took down RIT (4-26-2, 1-13-2 CHA) in both matchups to end its regular season slate.

The Nittany Lions started off strong on Friday afternoon, taking care of the Tigers with a convincing 8-1 victory. Saturday’s game proved to be a slugfest, however. Penn State possessed a one-goal advantage with 15 minutes to go, before Kiara Zanon netted the game-sealing empty net goal, capturing a 3-1 triumph. With the score, Zanon reached the 24-goal mark on the campaign.

Game One

It didn’t take long for the Nittany Lions to open up with a score during its first battle of the series. Olivia Wallin beat RIT goalie Sarah Coe after just 1:30 of ice time to begin the opening period with a 1-0 edge on the road. 

Nearly three minutes later, Lexi Bedier collected a long rebound off the blocker of Coe. Bedier went on the bury the strike, giving Penn State an early and immediate 2-0 lead.

Later in the period, Tessa Janecke picked up her first point of the weekend. The freshman was able to put her stick on a timely rebound, leading to a tap-in score. With her strike, the lead grew to a 3-0 margin.

The first blunder of the matchup for Jeff Kampersal’s unit came midway through the opening frame. Josie Bothun couldn’t fend Jordyn Bear’s shot, leading to an RIT score. With just over nine minutes to go in the period, Penn State still held onto a 3-1 lead.

The Nittany Lions connected twice in the second period, while only allowing four shots on goal. Alyssa Machado netted a deflection early in the frame to put the Nittany Lions back on top by three.

At the end of the period, Eleri MacKay also beat Coe on a deflection, giving Penn State yet another finish at the net. Then, the Nittany Lions captured a commanding 5-1 clip.

After a power play early in the third period was killed off by RIT, MacKay struck once again At that point, the lead was extended to 6-1. With RIT all but put away, Lyndie Lobdell and Bedier both scored late in the game, giving the Nittany Lions a convincing 8-1 win.

Game Two

The Nittany Lions started their final game of the regular season looking a bit slower than the first game, highlighted by allowing several early shots on net from RIT. However, Penn State struck first in the scoring column despite being outurn offensively in the opening pair of minutes.

The lone first-period tally came with about 8:30 left in the period, courtesy of Olivia Wallin. The junior nothced a point-blank score on a routine strike, giving Penn State a 1-0 lead in the early. But, the Nittany Lions ended the first period with a staggering 20 shots compared to just eight from the Tigers.

The Nittany Lions once again kept constant pressure on the net from the onset of the second period, but Sarah Coe held strong in net for RIT. Penn State was able notch just one additional goal on 22 shots during the second period, resulting from an Eleri MacKay score.

RIT’s Addie Carr was called for hooking with 15 seconds left in the period, and the Nittany Lions went into the thrid frame with an odd-man advantage. RIT was once again stifled on offense, and the Tigers were held to only seven shots in the period.

After a roughing call against Penn State’s Izzy Heminger, the powerplay ended, and a short four-on-four stint was followed by an RIT advantage.

The penalty kill did its job for Penn State, and the Nittany Lions were eventually handed another powerplay because of a roughing call on Megan McCormick. The powerplay, once again, was cut short due to a faceoff violation, resultingn in yet another four-on-four sequence.

RIT was able to capitalize when Jessie Burks snuck the puck by Bothun for a powerplay goal, setting up a dramatic finish.

Penn State kept the pressure on late in the period and didn’t allow RIT a chance to pull Coe until a minute to go. Zanon scored an empty net goal nearly seven seconds after Coe was pulled, sealing the victory for the Nittany Lions at a 3-1 mark.

What’s Next?

Penn State will host a best-of-three semifinal matchups in the CHA tournament. The first matchup will be played on Friday, February  24.

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About the Author

CJ Doebler

CJ is a junior double majoring in broadcast journalism and finance. He is from Northumberland, Pa, just east of State College. CJ is an avid Pittsburgh sports fan, but chooses to ignore the Pirates' existence. For the occasional random retweet and/or bad take, follow @CDoebler on Twitter. All complaints can be sent to [email protected].

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