No. 11 Penn State Women’s Hockey Falls To UConn 2-0
No. 11 Penn State women’s hockey (1-2) was defeated by the UConn Huskies (1-0) 2-0 on Friday night at Pegula Ice Arena.
Despite the upset, it was banner night in Hockey Valley as the team unveiled its 2023 CHA Tournament Championship banner, closing the book on a stellar 2022-23 campaign.
How It Happened
UConn came out strong as forward Brianna Ware got in behind the Nittany Lions’ defense and shot a backhander that Penn State goalie Josie Bothun got a piece of. The puck trickled behind her and was swept away by a Nittany Lion defender.
Penn State followed the UConn chance with a stellar opportunity of its own. Forward Katelyn Roberts fired a wrist shot from between the circles at Husky goaltender Tia Chan which was saved.
Captain Julie Gough took the game’s first penalty, a roughing call at 8:06 in the first period, and sent the Huskies to the power play.
There was little traction for the Huskies in the first minute as the Nittany Lions penalty kill held strong. The Huskies held the zone for the second half of their power play but only managed one shot on Bothun.
Finally gaining traction in the Huskies’ defensive zone, the Nittany Lions fired a flurry of shots at Chan. The pressure led to the second penalty of the game, a cross-checking call on UConn defender Claire Peterson in the first period.
The first power play for the Nittany Lions garnered two shots on goal and included some nice puck control from the power play unit. The Huskies killed the penalty.
In the final minute of the first period, Huskies defender Ava Rinker got in tight on Bothun and fired a shot that was promptly swallowed up by the goalie. Shots were 7-6 Penn State as the first period came to a close.
The second period began with more sustained offensive zone time for the Nittany Lions. While only managing two shots on goal in the opening five minutes, the pressure wore the Huskies down.
At 5:40 of the second period, Penn State nearly had its first goal of the game. Gough fired a shot that rang off the crossbar above Chan’s right shoulder. Players on the Nittany Lions bench celebrated as if the puck had gone it, but the game played on.
The defense for both teams was holding strong through the first 10 minutes of the second period. While there were five shots from each of the teams during this time, only Gough’s attempt was a high-danger chance.
The period’s first power play went to the Huskies at 12:52 of the second period. Nittany Lion defender Leah Stecker got whistled for interference and headed off to the penalty box.
UConn had its share of chances on the power play, accumulating three shots on goal, all of which were saved by Bothun. In addition to the shots, the Huskies held possession for the duration of the power play. The Nittany Lions penalty kill once again persevered, as the game remained tied.
With little action in the final minute of the second period, the two teams skated off the ice still deadlocked 0-0. Shots were 17-15 in favor of Penn State.
Action to begin the third period was fairly even, with both teams having time in their offensive zones. The first chance came courtesy of Huskies forward Kathryn Stockdale on a partial three-on-one break. Her shot was stopped and covered by Bothun.
It was at 4:28 in the third period when the game’s first goal finally came. Penn State forward Lexi Bedier attempted to clear the puck away from the Nittany Lions net but was unable to do so. This led to UConn forward Riley Grimley retrieving the puck and putting it in the back of the net.
Shortly after, the Huskies struck again. A shot by Stockdale made its way past Bothun to put the Huskies up 2-0 at 6:08. The Huskies spent a lot of time in the Nittany Lions’ zone this period and converted on their chances.
Needing to score to get back into the contest, the Nittany Lions were awarded their second power play of the game at 9:56. Grimley of the Huskies was sent to the box for hooking.
The power play unit for the Nittany Lions generated plenty of high-danger opportunities in the first minute of the penalty to Grimley but was unable to beat Chan. The Huskies penalty kill unit settled in for a less hectic second half of the Nittany Lions power play, once again killing it off.
With urgency from the Nittany Lions to score and a flurry of chances, Huskies head coach Chris MacKenzie called the game’s first timeout at 13:29 to give his team a chance to regroup. The Nittany Lions followed the stoppage with more pressure, but Chan and the Huskies stood strong.
The Huskies nearly put the game out of reach at 17:25 of the third period. A shot by Huskies forward Ware rang off the post, offering the Nittany Lions a sigh of relief.
Bothun left the ice at 17:50 as Nittany Lions head coach Jeff Kampersal opted for the extra skater as the team searched for two goals in the final minutes. A timeout was called by Kampersal at 19:35 with the Nittany Lions still looking for their first goal.
The Huskies defense held strong and wrapped up the shutout for their goalie. The Nittany Lions threatened at the end but were unable to convert.
- Nittany Lions goalie Josie Bothun has had a stellar start to this season. After two strong performances against No. 5 Northeastern, she turned in yet another solid effort on Friday night. Bothun saved 25 of the 27 shots she faced on the night.
- Despite being shut out, the Nittany Lions offense generated plenty of opportunities throughout the night. They outshot the Huskies 33-27 and saw their share of scoring opportunities.
- We saw a surprisingly scrappy game between the two teams. After-whistle dust-ups and scrums were common throughout.
The Nittany Lions will once again face off against UConn at 2 p.m. on Saturday, September 30, at Pegula Ice Arena. The game can be streamed on BTN+.
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About the Author
“To any current underclassmen reading this: learn the fight song, cheer loud, and tailgate early. You’re lucky to be a Nittany Lion.”
“Do you guys like Teen Beach Movie?”
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