UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – The No. 9/10 Penn State women’s hockey team unveiled its 2020-21 CHA Championship banner Thursday night, but the ensuing game went the way of St. Lawrence as the Saints blanked the Nittany Lions 1-0 at Pegula Ice Arena to begin the 2021-22 regular season.
Penn State (0-1) outshot the Saints 22-17 for game, but a shutout performance by St. Lawrence (1-0) goaltender Lucy Morgan kept the Nittany Lions off the scoreboard.
Additionally, Saints forward Hillary Sterling notched the lone goal of the game in the first period to give SLU the advantage in a defensive duel.
Penn State sophomore goaltender Josie Bothun (Wymoning, Minn.) made 10 of her 17 saves in the third period to keep the Nittany Lions within striking distance, but Penn State was unable to find its offensive footing in the loss.
“I thought we were moving the puck pretty well,” said Penn State head coach Jeff Kampersal. “We just didn’t execute…They controlled the blue lines better than we did. Essentially games are won and lost because of the blue line. Then we got into a couple of offensive zone penalties which is uncharacteristic.”
HOW IT HAPPENED
The first special teams opportunity of the season for either team resulted in a goal with St. Lawrence being the beneficiary. Hillary Sterling tipped in a shot from the point by Rachel Teslak with 6:50 remaining in the first period to give the Saints the 1-0 edge.
In the second period, St. Lawrence nearly doubled its lead on a three-on-one rush, but Bothun made a great kick save with her right pad to keep the margin at one with 14:50 left in second.
Penn State still managed to outshoot SLU 8-5 in the second period, but couldn’t find the back of the net to trail 1-0 heading into the second intermission.
Bothun shined in the third period for Penn State, making several solid saves as the Saints peppered her with shots. The sophomore goaltender coolly turned those tries away, including a big save with just over two minutes left in the period on an SLU rush.
A kneeing penalty was called on the Saints with just over 30 seconds left to give Penn State a power-play chance with an extra attacker, but the execution came up just shy for the Nittany Lions as the Saints held on for the one-goal win.
GAME NOTES AND STATS
- Penn State finished 0-4 on its power-play chances with four shots on goal while SLU’s lone goal came on the advantage. The Saints were 1-3 on the night with three shots on goal.
- Defensively, senior defender Rene Gangarosa (Rochester, N.Y.) and junior defender Mallory Uihlein (Edina, Minn.) shared the team lead with four blocked shots each.
The Nittany Lions and Saints square off against tomorrow evening at 7 p.m. at Pegula Ice Arena.