Penn State opened its first series at home in 2014 against the Colgate Raiders Friday and Saturday in Pegula Ice Arena. It was the first home game since the November 30th game against Maine that ended in a 1-1 tie. While the Nittany Lions were downed 3-2 in overtime on Friday night, the team came back strong and edged out the Raiders 2-1 in overtime again on Saturday to snap a five game losing streak for their first win in the new year.
The Nittany Lions played one of their best periods of the season in the second period of Friday night’s game. After going down 1-0 4:55 into the second frame, Jill Holdcroft tallied her fourth goal this year, unassisted off a turnover on Colgate’s goaltender Brittany Brooks at 6:43 to tie the game at 1-1. Penn State took the 2-1 lead with 4:58 left to play in the period on Taylor Gross’ seventh goal of the season. In the middle period alone, Penn State outshot the Raiders 15-7. Colgate stepped up to the adversity in the final frame; however, as Raider forward Taylor Volpe notched the 2-2 tying third-period goal on Penn State’s netminder Celine Whitlinger with 2:05 to play in the game to send the game to extra hockey.
In the overtime period, Jenna Welch took an ill-timed interference penalty at 2:09 to put Colgate on the power play. On the extra-player advantage, Volpe again pounced on a rebound to give the Raiders the 3-2 overtime victory, her third point of the night – the first coming off an assist to Kueber’s goal in the second. Whitlinger saved 29 of 32 Colgate shots in the game while Penn State equaled the Raiders in shots with 32 of their own. Of note, sophomore defenseman Sarah Wilkie sustained a season-ending leg injury during the game, though the specific cause of the injury and its complete extent is unknown as of now.
Penn State enacted overtime revenge against the Raiders in Saturday afternoon’s game as the Nittany Lions scored two unanswered goals to get the first win in 2014. Colgate jumped out to a 1-0 lead again, as Volpe tallied her fourth point of the series on a goal midway through the second period on Penn State goaltender Nicole Paniccia. With less than two minutes left in the frame, Hannah Hoenshell snapped a pass toward the net that deflected off of Laura Bowman’s skate and past Raider netminder Brooks for the 1-1 tie. From there, the game was even on the ice despite Colgate dominating the shot-count 38-16 through regulation. In overtime, Penn State’s Amy Petersen made a wonderful defensive play to spring Hannah Hoenshell for a 1-on-1 with a defender and beat both the Raider defenseman and Brooks for the overtime score and Penn State’s first overtime win in program history.
The Nittany Lions were ultimately outshot 40-17 through three periods and overtime in Saturday afternoon’s game as their defense and great backstopping by Paniccia kept them even with the Raiders. Paniccia stopped 39 of 40 Colgate shots through the game, earning her first win of the season in net for the Nittany Lions. Through two games, Penn State went 0-4 on the power play, and managed to commit no penalties through Saturday afternoon’s matchup – though the game itself only had one penalty called total.
The series split puts Penn State’s record at 4-17-2 (1-9-0 CHA) past the halfway point in the season. The ladies will have next weekend off and they’ll prepare to take on the Syracuse Orange for their second series this season. In the first two games, Penn State lost close games 2-1 and 4-3 in overtime but will look to battle back in New York on Friday January 24 and Saturday January 25. Puck drops at 7 p.m. and 2 p.m. for those games respectively.