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No. 14 Penn State Women’s Hockey Sweeps Series Against Lindenwood

No. 14 Penn State women’s hockey (16-11-1, 11-3 CHA) dominated Lindenwood (10-15-1, 5-8-1 CHA) in its weekend sweep. The Nittany Lions took the first game on Friday night by an overwhelming deficit of 10-1 and won Saturday’s game 6-1.

The Nittany Lions enjoyed stellar play from stars Tessa Janecke and Katelyn Roberts, as well as goalie Katie DeSa in the absence of Josie Bothun.

How It Happened

Game One

It was a fast start for Penn State, as it picked up where it left off from game two of the Syracuse series. Janecke intercepted an errant pass from Quinn McLaren near center ice and skated with the puck into the Lindenwood zone. The ensuing shot from Janecke went over the blocker of Natalie Ferenc and into the back of the net to give Penn State a 1-0 lead just 17 seconds in. Janecke scored so quickly that the lighting crew for Pegula Ice Arena was still in the rafters and was unable to set off the goal horn.

Lindenwood settled in as the period continued, keeping Penn State from garnering much pressure on the attack and forcing DeSa to make saves.

Trying to double its lead, Penn State began to possess the puck more in its offensive zone, and its efforts paid off as Brianna Brooks scored her seventh goal of the season at 11:34 as she crashed the net and was able to tip home a pass from Maggie MacEachern to make it a 2-0 game. Roberts did not get an official assist on the goal, but her stick lift on Gretta Pioske allowed the pass to reach Brooks.

With just under two minutes remaining in the first period, Penn State nearly scored its third goal as a pass from Janecke sprung Roberts on a partial breakaway. Roberts got a shot away but it sailed just above the crossbar and the game remained 2-0.

Time appeared to have expired for the period, but Penn State head coach Jeff Kampersal issued a coach’s challenge for a hit by McLaren on Leah Stecker in front of the Penn State bench. The challenge from Kampersal was successful and McLaren was assessed a five-minute major for head contact, as well as a game misconduct. Penn State would begin the second period on the power play.

As the penalty to McLaren began, Penn State was unable to do much of anything in the first two minutes of its power play. Lindenwood clogged passing lanes and promptly cleared the puck away when the opportunity arose.

With just 11 seconds remaining in the power play, Janecke was able to hear the goal horn for herself as she notched her second goal of the game at 4:51 of the second period to put Penn State ahead 3-0. Roberts flung a pass to Janecke, who was alone in between the faceoff circles, and fired the one-timer past Ferenc. After a shortened effort against Syracuse last weekend, Janecke continued to remind fans why she’s considered one of the best in women’s college hockey.

Penn State found itself back on the power play at 6:25 after Rachel Goff was sent to the penalty box for hooking. It turned out to be an abbreviated power play, however, as a slashing penalty to Mya Vaslet cut things short for the Nittany Lions. After an uneventful period of four-on-four hockey, Penn State killed the remaining penalty to Vaslet with little trouble.

Roberts built on her strong outing at 9:41 as she secured her ninth goal of the season to extend the Nittany Lions lead to 4-0. Stella Retrum attempted a pass to a crashing Janecke, but the attempt was blocked in front by a diving Sarah Waszkielewicz. Roberts was right there to gather the loose puck and sent a shot past Ferenc.

The Nittany Lions continued to pour it on as the period raged on. Mya Vaslet scored at 11:40 to put Penn State ahead 5-0. Initially, it appeared the goal would not count, but upon review the call on the ice was reversed and the goal counted. Alyssa Machado got the puck to Vaslet who was all alone and fired the one-timer for the goal.

Penn State once again found itself on the power play at 14:24 with Kaitlin Finnegan sent to the box for tripping. Things continued to break right for the Nittany Lions as Roberts scored her second goal of the game at 15:16 with assists from Janecke and Brooks. Roberts made Ferenc bite on a nice sequence of stick handling and put the puck into the wide-open net to give Penn State the 6-0 lead.

The horn sounded, signaling the end of the period, and Penn State found itself in the driver’s seat with Lindenwood searching for answers.

Lindenwood began the final period with a new goalie as head coach Taylor Wasylk tried to get something out of this game. Emily Finach was welcomed to the contest with a breakaway from Roberts just 25 seconds into the period. Finach made the initial save, but Retrum was there to clean up the rebound and gently sent the puck into the net to make it a 7-0 game.

Doing itself no favors in a brutal afternoon, Lindenwood took another penalty at 1:40 sending Penn State to the power play yet again. Lindenwood killed the penalty, but the Nittany Lions nearly scored their eighth goal a few times with the advantage.

Penn State found itself on the penalty kill for the first time as Stecker was sent to the box for roughing at 5:31. Just 13 seconds later, Lindenwood finally broke through for its first goal of the game on the power play. Sarah Davies got the puck past DeSa with an assist from Morgan Neitzke.

Shortly after the goal Lindenwood once again found itself on the power play with Karolina Hengelmuller sitting down for interference. Just as Lindenwood appeared to have the slightest bit of momentum, Janecke snapped it back to reality with a short-handed breakaway goal at 9:01 to give Penn State an 8-1 lead. The goal was Janecke’s third of the game, giving her the third hat-trick of her career.

Finding itself on another power play, Penn State once again extended its lead to 9-1 at 12:35 thanks to a goal off the stick of MacEachern from the left circle.

As if the Nittany Lions needed more power play time, Penn State went to the power play for five minutes as Goff was given a major penalty for head contact on DeSa at 14:02. Battling in front of the net, Goff struck the helmet of DeSa as she tried to get position. Regardless, the Nittany Lions would nearly end the game on the power play.

Penn State reached double digits to make it 10-1 as Maddy Christian tipped home a pass from Lyndie Lobdell at 16:25. Out of respect, Penn State simply skated back to center ice instead of celebrating the goal.

As the final horn sounded to put Lindenwood out of its misery, Penn State will look to complete the sweep with yet another dominant performance on Saturday.

Game Two

Penn State suffocated Lindenwood from the opening face-off with constant pressure in its offensive zone and tallied five shots in just two minutes. The Nittany Lions were quickly awarded for their efforts as it appeared a repeat of game one was likely. Retrum, who was all alone in the slot, took a nice pass from Janecke and promptly fired it past Ferenc to give Penn State the opening goal at 2:16.

Lindenwood nearly tied the game when Sidney Jackel stole the puck from MacEachern in the Penn State defensive zone. Jackel was in alone on DeSa and fired a shot that DeSe saved. DeSa made a second highlight reel save on the follow-up from Neitzke when she extended her leg just enough to keep the puck out with her toe and keep Penn State in the lead.

As Ferenc attempted to clear the puck from oncoming Penn State attackers, she made the grave mistake of passing the puck right to Maddy Christian, who put a nice move on Emma Hoen and snuck a forehanded shot past Ferenc to double the Penn State lead 2-0 at 9:47. Lindenwood had been sustaining pressure in its offensive zone, but the Ferenc mistake wiped any momentum Lindenwood had gathered.

Penn State found itself on the power play for the first time in game two with Madilynn Hickey sent to the box for tripping at 10:47. The Nittany Lions could not capitalize with the Lindenwood penalty kill holding strong for the two-minute penalty. Penn State had zone time but could not garner any of the high-danger chances it had with the advantage in game one.

MacEachern was sent to the box for holding at 16:13 meaning Penn State found itself on the penalty kill for the first time in the contest. The only real chance for Lindenwood on its power play came as the penalty to MacEacern was about to expire. Davies fired a shot that beat DeSa, but the puck appeared to have hit the crossbar and play continued. When play stopped, the officials reviewed whether the puck hit the crossbar and confirmed there was no goal. Penn State went into the locker room up 2-0 after one period of play.

After a tranquil start to the second period, Penn State would head to the penalty kill with Janecke being sent to the box for elbowing at 7:12. Much like its first power play, Lindenwood spent much of this power play in its defensive zone. For the duration of the penalty to Janecke, Penn State never spent extended time in its zone and made life easy for DeSa.

Heading back to the powerplay due to Lucie Quarto being sent to the box for hooking at 12:00, Penn State continued its search for its third goal of the game. The Nittany Lions had a few good chances from the slot and face-off circle, but Ferenc had an answer for whatever Penn State threw at her.

Penn State was once again sent to the power play just 30 seconds after its previous one came to an end as Brooke Pioske was sent to the box for tripping at 14:30. The advantage finally paid off for the Nittany Lions as Brooks solved Ferenc to give Penn State a 3-0 lead with just under five minutes remaining in the second period. Brooks, who scored her second goal of the series, was camped out in front of the net and snuck a rebound from a previous Vaslet shot past Ferenc.

The score remained 3-0 Penn State as the second period came to a close. Penn State will look to close out the game and cap off a dominant weekend.

Lindenwood returned to the ice for the third period with what felt like its first real momentum of the series as it found itself headed to the power play thanks to Karley Garcia being sent to the box for tripping at 0:28. Gigi Pora solved DeSa for the first time in game two on a shot in front of the net to cut the Penn State lead to 3-1 at 0:55.

Penn State did not take long to return the Lindenwood deficit to three as Brooks scored her second goal of the game at 3:51. Brooks and Stecker displayed some nice passing as they had a 2-0 against Ferenc, with Stecker completing the final pass to Brooks who buried the puck in the open net.

https://twitter.com/PennStateWHKY/status/1751328576366870972?s=20

Penalties were plentiful over the first five periods of the series and this trend continued with Corbin being sent to the box for tripping at 7:50, sending Penn State to the power play. Lindenwood killed the penalty and nearly scored its second goal of the game as the penalty expired. Sydney Rarick retrieved a loose puck and skated around Garcia, but Garcia was able to recover and get a piece of Rarick’s shot attempt on DeSa. The penalty expired shortly after and the teams returned to full strength.

At 11:23, Penn State extended its lead to five with Roberts scoring her third goal of the series and her 11th of the season. Roberts skated around Pioske who could only watch Roberts deke out Ferenc and fire a puck into the top right corner of the net.

The Nittany Lions continued to pour it on as the period progressed with Vaslet putting her name on the scoresheet at 12:43 to give the Nittany Lions a 6-1 lead. Vaslet got in alone on Ferenc and slid a backhanded shot past the goalie. The goal chased Ferenc from the game and the backup Ava McIllMurray took over the net for Lindenwood.

Vaslet’s goal stood as the final score of the series, as Penn State continued its win streak of three games.

Takeaways

  • Janecke continued her stellar season with a seven-point weekend, giving her 41 points in just 28 games for the season. Her hat trick in game one en route to a six-point effort was the best game of any Penn State player to this point of the season.
  • Penn State was the better team on the ice, and it was not just the goal differential that told this story. The Nittany Lions were faster, crisper, and more polished than Lindenwood during both games and Penn State made it feel as though Lindenwood was never in the game. Penn State outscored Lindenwood 16-2 and outshot it 88-42.
  • DeSa continued to do a stellar job in the absence of Bothun. Only surrendering two goals over the two-game set, Kampersal has to be feeling good about his backup and her ability to maintain a starting role.
  • Penn State is still to be atop of the CHA standings ahead of its important matchup with Mercyhurst, the team chasing the Nittany Lions. Heading into Saturday, the Nittany Lions were ahead by two points with zero games in hand.

What’s Next?

Penn State is back in Pegula Ice Arena for a series against Mercyhurst. The games are set for 6 p.m. on Friday, February 2, and 2 p.m. on Saturday, February 3. Both games can be streamed on BTN+.

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About the Author

Dennis Wilkins

Dennis is a third-year journalism major from Brick, New Jersey. He has a love-hate relationship with every team he roots for, especially the New York Giants. When he's not watching Jack Hughes highlights, he can be found playing golf or listening to music. Direct all complaints to him via email ([email protected]) or on Twitter (@denniswilkins27).

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