Penn State women’s hockey team returned to the ice this weekend against the Syracuse Orange up in New York. Earlier in the season, the Orange swept the Nittany Lions at home, winning their games 4-0 and 6-0 in tough hockey action at the Greenberg. However, this past weekend, the much improved Nittany Lions were almost able to complete an upset over one of the top CHA women’s hockey teams in the country.
Friday night’s tilt saw only one goal total allowed by either team. Syracuse’s Nicole Renault scored the lone goal of the game about seven minutes into the first frame. However, spectacular play by the Nittany Lions goaltender Nicole Paniccia kept them in the game until the very end. Paniccia ended up saving 45 shots on the night and recently has looked up to task, despite her record this season of 6-11-1. Overall the team had 13 shots on goal, but had at least 12 blocked before they could reach Syracuse’s netminder Kallie Billadeau. The two teams were pretty even from the faceoff circle; however, with Syracuse having the slight advantage in faceoff wins 24-22.
The hope of keeping the momentum going off of the almost upset was shot down pretty quickly in Saturday afternoon’s game. Syracuse netted three goals in the first period on PSU goalie Celine Whitlinger, two of which were within the first five minutes of the game. Whitlinger buckled down after the first and only gave up one more goal to the Orange in the third, saving 51 of 55 for the game, but the offense could not come through. Jill Holdcroft scored the only goal on the power play for the Nittany Lions in the 4-1 loss. The second period goal was Holdcroft’s eighth this season and is currently second on the team in goals scored just behind Shannon Yoxheimer. The two weekend losses puts the Nittany Lions record at 7-16-1 on the season heading into the last home stretch of the year.
You’re probably wondering why I only covered the women’s games in this update and not the men too? Well, that’s because fellow blogger and lead editor of the site Matt de Bear went to the men’s Saturday matchup against Michigan State and decided to write up his own thoughts on the game he saw and on the game Friday night as well. His recap was posted last night and can be found here for your viewing pleasure.
This week, the women will have their own rare midweek game against Princeton on Tuesday night. The game will be the first of five at home – their last five home games of the season – and the puck will drop at 7:00PM Tuesday night at the Greenberg. As for the men, they will be facing off in an exhibition series against Ohio this weekend. Friday night’s game will be played in Hershey, Pa at the GIANT Center where gametime is scheduled for 7:00PM but they’ll be back at home Saturday night to face the Bobcats at 7:30PM. Make sure to check me out on Twitter (and give our lead editor, Matt, a follow too here!) for all things Penn State hockey.