After a 2-1 loss the previous night, Penn State came back to win 2-1 over the Union Dutchwomen in front of an 800-plus crowd Saturday afternoon. Despite Union scoring their third power play goal in two days, Penn State scored one of their own late in the third to give the Nittany Lions their first home win of the season.
Penn State dominated a majority of the game at even strength, though Union had an early chance ring off the post less than a minute into the game that looked like it had Penn State goaltender Celine Whitlinger beat high glove side. Yet after the close call, Penn State took over in the offensive zone and were unrelenting in their pressure. With 7:32 left in the first frame, Jill Holdcroft scored her first goal of the year with some fancy stick work unassisted that beat Union goaltender Shenae Lundberg to give the Nittany Lions the 1-0 lead going into into the first intermission.
Domination continued for the Nittany Lions in the second period, but Union was able to tie the game at 1 on the power play with 2:42 left in the period. Forward Jenna Welch committed two minor penalties, cross checking and unsportsmanlike conduct, at 16:15 in the frame, one of which was offset by a Union roughing penalty, but the small scrum resulted in a 2 minute power play for the Dutchwomen after some deliberation from the officials. Courtney Turner scored the tying goal for Union that knotted the game up going into the third period.
Penn State again controlled much of the period and Union goalie Lundberg had all the answers until the Nittany Lions scored their own power play goal off a rebound that Laura Bowman buried home for her third goal of the young season to put the team up by one with 5:29 to play. Despite the fleury in the last final minutes, Penn State held onto the lead and came away with the 2-1 victory, their first in Pegula Ice Arena.
Celine Whitlinger got the start in goal for the Nittany Lions, saving 20 of Union’s 21 shots, and while Friday night’s game was close in shots, Penn State came away with a solid 13 shot lead by the end of the game. With the win, Whitlinger improves her season record to 2-1-0 and the team record to 2-3-1.
Penn State faces off against the University of New Hampshire Wildcats next Saturday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. The UNH Wildcats (3-2-1) are coming off a 3-1 win against Boston College from last Wednesday and Penn State will look to extend their home win streak next weekend.