Penn State’s women’s hockey team started their CHA playoff journey this past weekend, facing RIT in a best-of-three series that started Friday afternoon. Unfortunately, their playoff hopes ended early with two close losses to the Tigers, a 1-0 shutout on Friday and a 3-2 overtime loss Saturday.
Friday afternoon’s matchup only saw one goal from either team. RIT’s Marissa Maugeri scored the lone goal for the Tigers almost halfway through the first frame. From there on; however, Penn State goalie Nicole Paniccia would blank the Tigers the rest of the way, saving 34 out of 35 shots in the game. The Nittany Lions got their fair share of chances as well, putting together 16 total shots on RIT netminder, Ali Binnington. RIT controlled the first two periods of play, outshooting Penn State 29-11 within the first two frames. Penn State was able to even the play up in the final period but RIT held onto the 1-0 lead to take the first game in the series.
Game two of the best-of-three series started off well for the Nittany Lions. Taylor Gross netted her seventh goal this season, her first in the playoffs, to give Penn State the early 1-0 lead 9:56 into the first period. RIT stormed back to tie the game at one apiece late in the first; however, off a goal from forward Celeste Brown. In the second period, the Tigers skated to a 2-1 lead just 1:30 into the new frame and would hold that lead until Hannah Hoenshell knocked home a Birdie Shaw pass, her ninth this season, to tie the game and give the Nittany Lions some life. The game couldn’t be settled in regulation so the two teams headed to extra time, where RIT scored 47 seconds into the overtime period to win the game and send the Nittany Lions packing. Nicole Paniccia played her second straight game in net for the team and stopped a tremendous 54 shots on 57 attempts and was named the first star of the game for her efforts. RIT was also able to hold Penn State to 19 total shots in the game, also blocking 11 from getting to the net as well.
And so the 2012-2013 season draws to a close for Penn State’s women’s hockey team. With an overall record of 7-26-2, the team has a lot to be proud of in their inaugural Division I season. Most of the team will stay intact next year, with only two seniors on the team this year, and they’ll bring in a good looking freshman class for the first year in the new Pegula Ice Arena. I am really looking forward to see how the team builds on this year and what possible changes they’ll make coming into the 2013-2014 season. I was extremely impressed with the play of the entire freshman class this season and hopefully next year’s new class will have the same effect the freshmen this year had. I expect Nicole Paniccia to have another great year in net next season but it will be interesting to see who will be her backup next year, as both Brooke Meyer and Celine Whitlinger did extremely well in their freshman seasons this year. I expect a lot of good things from this team in the coming years and it will be fun to watch their progression while covering them.
Well, this is my last recap for Penn State’s 2012-2013 hockey season. I will do periodic updates on any interesting Penn State hockey news that I come across over the next few months though so you can still get your hockey fix here at Victory Bell Rings. It’s been great fun covering most of the season here as a part of the VBR team and I can’t wait to cover next year in the new Pegula Ice Arena, if Matt will keep me of course. But, as always, follow me on Twitter for up to date Penn State hockey news and other sports related ramblings. Hope to see you all next season, folks!