Shannon Yoxheimer notched her first two goal game of the season but the Penn State Nittany Lions (4-28-3) ultimately fell 3-2 to the RIT Tigers (17-15-3) in game one of the first round of the CHA Tournament Friday night. The sophomore forward gave the Nittany Lions a 1-0 lead midway through the first period and tied the game at 2-2 after two back-to-back Tiger goals in the second period; however, RIT came away with the overtime win and the 1-0 lead in the best of three first round in Rochester, N.Y.
Nicole Paniccia took the start in net for Penn State with 44 saves and captain Taylor Gross, Laura Bowman, and Amy Petersen each tallied assists in the overtime loss.
Yoxheimer put Penn State up on top of the Tigers 1-0 with her seventh goal of the season at 10:35 of a strong first period by the Nittany Lions. On a two-on-one against Tiger goaltender Ali Binnington, Yoxheimer fired a sniper shot from the left side of the ice past the RIT netminder for the opening score.
The Tigers responded after the first intermission, firing off two quick scores past Paniccia to start the second period just 1:26 apart. RIT’s Jess Paton netted the tying goal 3:24 into the middle frame after a pile up in front of the net and teammate Caitlin Wallace scored her first of the year to give the Tigers a 2-1 lead unassisted off a forced turnover that beat Paniccia glove side.
Penn State’s power play went to work after the lead was lost, snapping an 18 game power play goal-less streak on Yoxheimer’s second goal of the night to tie the game at two-all. At 8:43 of the second period, while Tiger Cassie Clayton was in the box for tripping, Petersen and Bowman made a few nice passes to get the puck down low to Yoxheimer, who buried the puck past Binnington for the score.
A scoreless third period was not without opportunities for either team, but neither Penn State nor RIT were able to convert chances as both teams tallied their highest shot totals of the game in the 20 minute third frame and the game was sent into overtime.
In the overtime period, Jenna Welch had the Nittany Lion’s best chance on a spectacular opportunity in front of Binnington for the win but the goaltender made the save on the Penn State forward. Jill Holdcroft had a breakaway a few minutes later that the forward almost put in but again Binnington came to the rescue of the RIT defense for the stop. The puck was cleared down and Paniccia covered for a faceoff in the defensive zone for the Nittany Lions but RIT’s Celeste Brown received the puck after the faceoff and put the puck past Paniccia for the Tiger win.
Penn State was outshot by the Tigers 36-47 but went 1-2 on the extra-skater advantage while RIT were held off the board in that area, 0-2. The game was Penn State’s longest match of their Division I career as well, going a full 70:15 with the overtime period.
The two teams will rematch Saturday afternoon at 2:00 p.m. in the best of three series where Penn State will need to win the next two games in order to advance to round two of the CHA Tournament.