In the first game of the season for the women, the team came back to tie the Vermont Catamounts at 3-3 after a spirited 65 minutes of hockey.
Shannon Yoxheimer and Nicole Paniccia are the two big stories of the game, though the team played pretty well overall. Yoxheimer tallied three points in the game, the tying goal in the third and had assists on Penn State’s other two goals. Paniccia, on the other hand, kept the Nittany Lions in the game, making huge stops throughout regulation and overtime, stopping a total of 35 of 38 Catamount shots.
The first period was a scoreless affair, with Vermont outshooting Penn State 6-12. However, freshman Kelly Seward pounded home the team’s first goal of the season, and the opening score of the game, on a Jordin Pardoski shot that just trickled past unsuspecting UVM goaltender Roxanne Douville. UVM then tied it up at 1 with just under 35 seconds to go in the second thanks to a nice stick side goal from forward Victoria Andreakos. Also of interest in the second period, UVM pulled Douville on a 5-on-3 power play after the Seward goal to make it 6-on-3 with an empty net; a very rare sight to see in the middle stages of a game.
The third period saw a lot of back-and-forth action, along with a few Nittany Lions comebacks. Just 2:39 into the final frame, UVM forward Amanda Pelkey made a quite nice looking toe-drag backhand goal that Paniccia couldn’t do much to stop and gave the Catamounts the 2-1 lead. A mere 2 minutes later though, Taylor Gross would knot her first goal of the season on a rebound off a Yoxheimer shot from the left circle. Then again, when UVM retook the lead 3-2 with 4:04 left in the game, Penn State rebounded back under a minute later to make it 3-3 thanks to another Yoxheimer left circle shot that this time hit the back of the net.
When 60 minutes wasn’t enough, the teams took to overtime but while UVM had some sustained pressure, Paniccia held strong and the team finished their first game with a hard fought, comeback tie.
The Catamounts ended up outshooting the Nittany Lions 38-21 through 65 minutes of play. But, the penalty kill came up big for Penn State in the game, as during the first two periods, UVM had 7 power plays but could not convert on any of them. The Catamounts went 1-8 on the night on the extra-man advantage – Penn State went 1-6 – but a huge part of the Nittany Lions’ comeback can be chalked up to the extremely dominant penalty kill. And the always stellar play of goalie Nicole Paniccia too.
Game highlights, including all three Penn State goals, can be found on the UVMAthletics YouTube page here.
Game two’s puck drop will be at 2:30 p.m. today. Expect more livetweets on my Twitter here, yes during the football game, and hopefully I’ll be able to cover most, if not all of the game.