By Chris Allen
The Dutchwomen traveled down to University Park, Pennsylvania to take on Penn State this past Friday and Saturday.
The game marked the first home contest for the Nittany Lions in their new Pegula Arena.
Penn State dominated the majority of the first period, getting support from the packed crowd and playing off the energy of their home-opener.
The momentum shifted at 14:48 in the first period when the Dutchwomen went on a power play. Courtney Turner ‘16 took advantage of the situation, netting her third goal of the season and first of the game.
“We got scoring on the power play Friday night and the past couple of weekends which is good to build confidence going forward because those small details of the game are important as the season moves along,” notes defender Kelly McGrath ‘15.
The second period opened with the Nittany Lions outshooting the Dutchwomen 11-7. Their persistence earned them their first goal of the game, tying the game at one.
The tied score was reflective of the rest of the second period as both teams put pressure on each others’ nets.
Penalty kills proved to be a weak spot for the Nittany Lions who once again found themselves in a four on five situation in the third period. Senior leadership from Stefanie “Jobin” Thompson ‘14 and Ashley “Stretch” Johnson ‘14 sealed the deal for the Dutchwomen.
With Thompson capitalizing on an assist from Johnson, they brought the final score to 2-1 in favor of the Dutchwomen.
In a game with so much offensive pressure, the defensive play of the Dutchwomen should not be overlooked. Shenae Lundberg ‘15 had another stellar performance in net, recording 23 saves during the night.
All six defenders played a solid game, reacting well to the “fast ice and lively boards,” noted Haley Welch ‘15.
The Nittany Lions came out with something to prove in Saturday’s matchup, having been beaten on their new home ice. Penn State came out flying and got themselves on the board first at 12:28 in the first period.
Union responded well to the challenge in the second period, leading in shots and playing aggressive defense.
The Dutchwomen’s persistence paid off when once again the Nittany Lions took a penalty. Once again, Turner was able to capitalize on the opportunity and put Union on the board.
“The power play is becoming effective because the defense are getting good shows in low from the point, it makes my job easy to put in the rebounds and create offensive chances,” says Turner.
It was a different story in the third period though, when Penn State came out scrappier than ever and hungry for a game-winner.
Unlike the night before, the Nittany Lions left Pegula Arena proud as after a scramble, a few lucky bounces and some pressure in front of Lundberg, Penn State came out with the win.
Once again, the defense should not be forgotten in this contest. Especially Lundberg, who stopped 32 of 34 shots. With these saves, Lundberg inched closer to 200 saves during the season, she is now only three saves away from this mark.
“Shenae stood on her head for us and was solid back there again,” notes McGrath.
The Dutchwomen also proved the strength of both their penalty kill and power play lines, a major improvement from previous struggles.
The Dutchwomen will hit the road once again this weekend, this time to Syracuse, for what is sure to be another hard-fought matchup.