Penn State fell in a 2-0 hole early in the first period and could not mount a comeback against the Lindenwood Lions Saturday afternoon in a 2-1 loss. The Nittany Lions outshot their opponent for the first time since October 19 against Union, winning the shot column 46-29.
Jenna Welch added her first goal of the season and Jill Holdcroft picked up her third assist on Welch’s second period tally.
“It was a little bit of a slow start but we picked it up. Tonight was a big night for us, we got a lot of shots on net but the bounces didn’t go our way,” starting goaltender Nicole Paniccia said. “We outshot them and that’s a big thing for us. Tomorrow we’re ready to go.”
Lindenwood tallied the opening goal of the game 9:27 into the first period. Lion Alyssa West picked up teammate Carrie Atkinson’s rebound in front of the net to Paniccia’s right side and beat the Penn State goalie between the leg and blocker for the 1-0 lead.
Two minutes later, Lindenwood doubled their lead on a power play goal. With Welch sitting in the penalty box for two minutes on an interference call, Lindenwood swarmed the net and Caitlyn Post’s shot in close deflected up and over Paniccia’s shoulder glove side and the Penn State goalie could not get a glove on it at 12:44 of the first frame.
Penn State’s quality chances finally payed off 3:25 into the middle frame. Holdcroft’s rebound in a pileup in front of the Lindenwood net bounced right to teammate Welch, who held off a defender long enough to fire it in the wide open net past Lindenwood goaltender Nicole Hensley.
The Nittany Lions almost tied the game at 2 all on their first power play of the game. With 6:40 gone in the period, Lindenwood’s West went to the box for cross-checking and Penn State went on the extra-skater advantage. A Nittany Lion shot trickled through Hensley and almost over the line, but the Lindenwood goaltender pounced on the puck before it could go across the red line.
Shannon Yoxheimer had her best chance of the game at the end of the second frame. The sophomore somehow got open in front of the Lindenwood net with less than ten seconds remaining in the period and received a pass from the boards but could not get the shot on net as she missed it wide to end the middle period.
The ice opened up a bit for Penn State on a 4-on-4 chance near the halfway mark of the third. Welch sat for two on an interference call with 5:41 gone in the third then Lindenwood’s Katie Nokelby went to the box for hooking 36 seconds later. Neither team could net any goals during the minors.
Taylor Gross made a few key plays in the final period, blocking a point shot then almost connecting on a one-timer in the final minute of the game but missed wide.
Lindenwood took a holding penalty with 2:06 left to play in the game and Penn State skated 6-on-4, after pulling Paniccia, for the remainder of the game. The Nittany Lions had their chances but the Lindenwood defense and Hensley’s outstanding play conserved the win for the opposing team.
“Mostly proud of our effort tonight and frustrated on behalf of my hockey team because they played so well,” Coach Brandwene said. “In so many ways we played a fabulous hockey game today and my job as the coach is to be frustrated for them and honor their effort. It was a great hockey game.”
Penn State and Lindenwood will rematch Sunday afternoon at noon as Penn State looks to find their first win since January.