Penn State hockey had their first action of the New Year this past weekend with both the men’s and women’s teams returning to play for the first weekend in 2013. The men were off to Connecticut to face the AHA Huskies while the women were back at home for the first time in almost two months to play Chatham University’s Cougars. The women’s team soared to two easy victories, outscoring their opponent 14-0 in their games, but the men had a much more difficult time with a tough Huskies team.
After their emotional win against Ohio State in Pittsburgh just two weekends ago, the men were away again to play a very good Division I University of Connecticut team. Game one for the Nittany Lions on Friday night saw the men take a tough 4-3 loss to the Huskies. Despite having a 2-1 lead in the early second, the team couldn’t hang on as UConn scored 2 goals in just over a minute later in the second frame to give them back the lead. David Glen, Taylor Holstrom, and Connor Varley all scored one goal apiece but unfortunately, the team was never able to build a substantial lead for long. Matthew Skoff was in between the pipes for Penn State and turned aside 17 of 21 shots from the opposition. Overall the team had 42 shots on goal but weren’t able to make them count when they needed them to. However, the team did go 1 for 2 on the power play, an area they’ve had trouble with all season, and hopefully this success can jump start their man advantage play.
Game two against the Huskies started out strong, but ended very much the same way as the first game. Casey Bailey scored his ninth goal of the season just 13 seconds in to give Penn State the 1-0 lead. However, UConn had great play by their own netminder Garrett Bartus, who stopped the other 42 Penn State shots, and was able to get 4 goals of their own past Nittany Lion goalie, PJ Musico. Again, Penn State had the shots – outshooting the Huskies by almost double their total – but they cannot seem to convert on second chances and rebound plays. It’s a recent problem, but one they need to fix soon to be able to put together a complete game and win. The 4-1 loss drops the men’s record to 8-11-0 for the season.
Back at home in Happy Valley once again, the women put on a show in their first game in almost a month. Not only was it a 10-0 shutout, it was also a record breaking game for the Nittany Lions as well. According to gopsusports.com, they broke records for: goals in a game (10), assists in a game (17), and goals in a period (5, in the first). Shannon Yoxheimer, Hannah Hoenshell, and Kendra Rasmussen all had big nights with 2 goals each. All three goalies played in the game also, with Nicole Paniccia starting, Celine Whitlinger in for the second, and Brooke Meyer finishing the game out in the third. Combined, they saved 17 total shots but overall, Paniccia got the win for the night. The women also improved in their shot count – one of their big problems this season – and more than doubled the Cougars in shots with 48, a definite factor in their win Friday night.
Saturday night’s game had another blowout feel, but this time the Chatham defense was strong enough to hold Penn State to a 4-0 win. Forward Jenna Welch had 2 goals, Katie Zinn had a goal and an assist, and defenseman Paige Jahnke had 2 assists for the night. All around, it was another very strong game for the Nittany Lions. Goalie tandem of Celine Whitlinger and Brooke Meyer saved all 16 combined shots they faced and Whitlinger got the win. The offense had another great night as well, putting up 71 shots on goal; however, Chatham goalie Kaitlynn Smith held her own despite letting in four goals and was able to deny most of the great looks the Nittany Lions had. The two wins for the women improves their record to 7-12-1 and looks to be a great confidence booster in the coming tough weeks ahead.
Looking ahead to this upcoming weekend, both teams will be in action and the men will be back home for the first time since the December 15th matchup against Robert Morris. For the men, they’ll play an exhibition series against the US National Under 18 team on Friday the 11th and Saturday the 12th. Both games will have a 7:30PM start at the Greenberg Ice Pavilion. Tickets, as always, are $10 for adults and $5 for youth and students, with their ID. The women, meanwhile, will be off to play Union in New York on Friday and Saturday as well. Friday’s game will start at 7:00PM and Saturday’s game will have a 4:00PM start. Make sure to follow me on Twitter for the occasional live tweeting of games and for the latest in Penn State hockey and now NHL hockey!
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