Celine Whitlinger started her 13th game in net as Penn State and RIT played to a 2-2 tie Friday night. Amy Petersen and Shannon Yoxheimer tallied the Penn State goals in front of a 500-plus crowd in Pegula Ice Arena as Penn State picked up their third point in CHA play.
RIT took the opening 1-0 lead on Tiger Erin Zach’s power-play goal. Emily Laurenzi took a body checking penalty at 11:40 in the first period, setting up the Tigers on an extra-skater advantage. RIT wasted no time scoring on the power play on Zach’s backhanded deflection goal past the glove side of Whitlinger off Morgan Scoyne’s shot from the left circle.
The Nittany Lions gained two power play opportunities in the first period, but were not able to sustain any significant pressure and had difficulty breaking out of their own zone at times.
Jill Holdcroft had a breakaway chance late in the first, beating the defense on a lucky bounce in the neutral zone, and fooled Binnington, but hit the right post high and stayed out of the net.
Penn State tied the game 1-1 on a scramble in front of Binnington with 1:45 left in the first. Laura Bowman had the original shot that was stopped by the Tiger goaltender’s pad but Petersen pounded away at the pads until the puck trickled through Binnington and in for the tying score to end the first frame. The goal was Petersen’s third of the season.
Brooke Stoddart took over for Binnington to start the second period, after the starting RIT goalie surrendered one goal on six Penn State shots in the first.
The Nittany Lions dominated possession early in the second period, spending a good time in the Tiger’s zone and getting shots on net. RIT came back in the frame and dominated late, but Whitlinger stood tall in net as the Tigers pulled away in shots by a double digit margin.
While RIT had more chances on the scoresheet, Penn State had a fair amount of quality chances of their own. Yoxheimer had another Nittany Lion breakaway near the middle of the period but missed the target high and wide glove side.
The Tigers went on a late second period power play, on Jeanette Bateman’s interference penalty with 2:02 left in the frame, but strong defensive play and good stops by Whitlinger kept the two teams tied going into the final period.
Yoxheimer got on the board with her sixth goal of the season 2:41 into the third period. Taylor Gross took a shot streaking down the left side in close that rebounded off Stoddart’s pads and Yoxheimer was there in front to deposit the rebound past the RIT goalie for the 2-1 lead.
Seven minutes later, RIT tied the game 2-2 on a blocked Penn State shot that deflected over the blocker and shoulder of Whitlinger. Celeste Brown got credit for the Tiger goal after long stretches of Penn State offensive pressure in the RIT zone.
When 60 minutes could not produce a winner, the teams went to overtime. Laura Bowman had an excellent chance early in front of Stoddart but was stopped and play swung RIT’s way. However, neither team was able to net their chances and after 65 minutes the game ended in a tie.
Penn State fought back in shots but still trailed 20-36 through the three-plus periods of play.
“We were working hard the whole game,” Yoxheimer said after the game on her line with her, Laurenzi, and Gross. “It was a good night for us I would say.”
Coach Josh Brandwene was pleased with the team’s performance after the game. “Fabulous atmosphere out there tonight, I love the effort. You’ve got two great programs battling and it gets physical sometimes,” he said, calling it a “great 65 minutes of hockey”.
“It was just a fabulous 65 minute battle out there between two teams and that’s the kind of experience you want at this time of year every day moving forward.”
Penn State and RIT rematch tomorrow afternoon at 2 p.m. in their annual Skate for a Cure pink out game and free admission.