As the fall semester starts to draw to a close, so do the schedules for Penn State’s men’s and women’s hockey teams. The 2012 half of the schedules may almost be over, but there was still hockey action this weekend as the men faced off against Holy Cross and the women traveled to play St. Lawrence.
It took just less than two minutes of extra time to decide the winner of the men’s first game against Holy Cross on Friday night. The Nittany Lions fell to the Crusaders 5-4 in overtime despite having a 4-2 lead for most of the third period. Holy Cross was able to convert both of their power play opportunities of the game and the second power play goal was the equalizer that sent the game into OT. Even with the loss, Freshman forward Jonathan Milley had a career night in which he totaled 3 points, having one goal and two assists in the game. Fellow Freshman David Glen also had a good night as well, scoring one goal and assisting on another. Even though Penn State was outshot 37-25, goalie Matthew Skoff put up good numbers and saved 32 of the 37 Holy Cross attempts.
In game two for the men against Holy Cross, Nate Jensen scored the only goal for the Nittany Lions in their 4-1 loss. Penn State led in the shot count 33-32 Saturday afternoon, but only had one goal to show for it thanks to excellent play by Holy Cross goalie, Derek Kump. David Glen continues to have a strong season as well, putting up a team leading 8 shots on goal for the game despite not netting any of them. Glen has been one of the Nittany Lion’s most consistent players this year, making a case to become one of the team’s leaders in the near future. PJ Musico took over in net for this game for Skoff – a trend we’ve been seeing a lot these past few weeks – and stopped 28 shots. One of the other stories of this game was Penn State’s 40 total penalty minutes, 20 of which were a result of Jonathan Milley and Michael Longo’s 10 minute misconducts in the first and second period respectively. By comparison, Holy Cross only took 8 minutes of penalties through three periods. This third straight loss for the men puts them under .500 for the season at 6-7-0 as of today.
Over in New York, the women played a tough two game series against a great St. Lawrence team. The first game against the Saints was a 3-1 loss that certainly could have gone in the Nittany Lions favor thanks to strong play all around. Jill Holdcroft scored the lone goal for Penn State in the last 30 seconds of the second period to tie the game at one. St. Lawrence would retake the lead about 8 minutes into the third period and was able to notch an empty net goal in the final minute of play to seal the win. Penn State goaltender Celine Whitlinger was phenomenal in between the pipes on Friday night despite the loss, stopping 45 of 48 shots and giving the women a good chance to mount a comeback. Her great performance also earned her the honor of being the CHA Rookie of the Week, Penn State’s second Rookie of the Week honor this season.
Penn State came out firing in their second game of their St. Lawrence series, scoring in the first to give the Nittany Lions the early lead off of a Jess Desorcie goal. However, St. Lawrence was able to even the score at 1 apiece before the first intermission. The Saints would score twice more to widen their lead until Hannah Hoenshell broke through to score her fifth goal of the season in the third to keep the game close. In the end, a power play goal from St. Lawrence’s Amanda Boulier put an end to the comeback and brought the final score to 4-2 in favor of the Saints. Nicole Paniccia was the net minder for the Nittany Lions in this game, saving 54 out of 58 shots. This is the fourth straight loss for the women and it drops their season record to 5-12-1 just past the midway point of their season.
Coming up for the men, they will take on a 5-7 Fredonia State team with a rare midweek matchup Tuesday night at 7:00PM. I’ll do a midweek recap of that game Wednesday or Thursday and then another short recap plus first half reactions to both teams seasons thus far after the men take on Robert Morris – who are 6-4-2 on the year – at 7:30 this Saturday at home. As for the women, they are done for the 2012 calendar year but they will lace up soon to face Chatham at home in early January. As always, follow me on Twitter for the latest in Penn State (and NHL, or lack thereof) hockey and some other useless ramblings as well.