Both the men’s and women’s hockey teams were back on the ice this weekend, facing a previously unbeaten ACHA Arizona State team and a #4 ranked Mercyhurst team respectively. The men split their 2 game series against the Sun Devils of Arizona State at home while the women dropped both of their games to the Mercyhurst Lakers up north in Erie.
In the first game of the men’s exhibition series against Arizona State, the Nittany Lions cruised to an 8-3 victory on the shoulders of emerging freshman forward David Glen. Glen, continuing his successes from previous weeks, recorded his first hat trick of the season, scoring three goals on six shots. Captain Tommy Olczyk also tallied his second goal of the season that gave Penn State the lead 2-1 just two minutes into the second period. Rounding out the scoring with a goal apiece were forwards Kenny Brooks, Michael Longo, and Eric Steinour and defenseman Luke Juha. Matthew Skoff reprised his role in net Friday night and saved an easy 24 out of 27 shots. The men also dominated in the shot count for the night, almost doubling Arizona State 52-27.
Game two for the men didn’t go quite as smoothly; however, as they missed sweeping the Sun Devils thanks to a 3-1 loss Saturday night. Curtis Loik had the lone goal for the Nittany Lions, a shorthanded tally in the third, assisted by the captain Olczyk and defenseman Nate Jensen. Penn State switched it up in net with PJ Musico in between the pipes for this game but despite a great 27 save performance, Penn State couldn’t generate enough quality chances on Arizona State’s Joe D’Elia. The Nittany Lions outshot the Sun Devils 37-30 and won the faceoff battle easily but seemed to lack the drive to finish the game off, keeping Arizona State in the game long enough for them to capitalize on good opportunities. The weekend split puts the men’s record at 6-5-0 for the year.
The women came back Friday from their bye week last weekend to play a gritty and downright dangerous #4 ranked Mercyhurst team. Game one saw the Nittany Lions get shut out 5-0, despite great play from goalies Nicole Paniccia and Celine Whitlinger. Paniccia played the first 2 periods, giving up 4 goals on 33 shots, while Whitlinger came in to finish off the game in the third period, only allowing one goal on 27 tries. Combined, the duo went on to save 55 shots through three periods of play. On the offensive side, the women continued to struggle in the shot count, only getting 10 shots through on goal for the entire game. Team leaders Hannah Hoenshell, Birdie Shaw, and Shannon Yoxheimer combined for 6 of the team’s 10 shots.
While Saturday night resulted in a 7-1 loss, the women were able to snap Mercyhurst’s shutout streak with a lone goal from Jess Desorcie. Desorcie’s goal also gave Penn State a momentary lead early in the first period, before Mercyhurst was able to tie it up just four minutes later. Like Friday night’s game, the Nittany Lions were only able to manage 10 shots on goal, with forward Taylor Gross having 4 of the teams’ shots. Gross made her presence known in this game early on, managing to get a couple breakaways and assisting on Desorcie’s goal. There was one big positive that came out of Saturday night’s game; however, as Nicole Paniccia made some history with 64 saves, breaking the team’s record for saves in a game. The two weekend losses to Mercyhurst drop the women’s season record to 5-10-1.
The men and the women’s hockey teams will both be away next weekend, with the men traveling to Holy Cross to play 2 games against the Crusaders while the women head to St. Lawrence to face the Saints. Holy Cross figures to be a tough game, as the Crusaders are 7-4-2 and are coming off a tie game with Robert Morris from this past weekend. Likewise, the women will also be tested this weekend with an 8-7-1 St. Lawrence team hoping to rebound from a loss to Cornell University. The puck drops for the men on Friday night at 7:05PM and Saturday at 5:00PM and for the women at 7:00PM Friday night and 2:00PM Saturday afternoon. Make sure you follow me on Twitter if you’d like to get your daily hockey fix (along with other random things) and check back next week for another recap!