Ice Hockey Recap: And That Happened

I fear that my energy towards the weekend rubbed off on the men's team on Saturday. After playing with their food for a bit Friday night, Penn State played to their ability and rolled Arizona State. With that showing of power out of the way, the Nittany Lions just didn't show up Saturday. Arizona State took advantage and picked up a weekend sweep - picking up likely the biggest win in program history. ASU has a lot of NCAA-level talent, to the point where I found the weekend to be like facing Sacred Heart without the NCAA implications. So the split isn't too surprising (and certainly not "shocking", seeing how Penn State still isn't all that respected at the NCAA level yet), but disappointing nonetheless.

While the ACHA teams were both idle, the women's D1 team found themselves in a real battle against #4 Mercyhurst. It was an uphill battle for sure, as Mercyhurst has rolled over CHA-foes RIT and Lindenwood by a combined score of 25-3. While a similar fate was almost a certainty for the Nittany Lions, the ladies were going to make sure Mercyhurst earned the victories this weekend. The impressive stat that nobody is talking about from these games: Penn State players blocked 46 shots in the 2 games, continuing to be led by forward Micayla Catanzariti, who added another 10 blocked shots this weekend.

Men's NCAA D1:

November 30, 2012 1 2 3 Final
Arizona State (ACHA D1) 1 1 1 3
PENN STATE 1 4 3 8
PSU Goals: Juha (1), Olczyk (1), Brooks, Glen (3), Longo (1), Steinour (1)
Arizona State SOG: 27
Penn State SOG: 52

December 1, 2012 1 2 3 Final
Arizona State 0 1 2 3
PENN STATE 0 0 1 1
PSU Goals: Loik (1)
Arizona State SOG: 30
Penn State SOG: 37

Summary: Since these games are considered "exhibition games" in the eyes of the NCAA, nothing at all counts towards Penn State officially-recognized stats. The goals numbers noted above reflect the goals scored in "exhibition" games. Also, the season record below will not be adjusted for these games.

Friday night's game saw Arizona State come out flying, putting tons of pressure on Penn State, while the Nittany Lions struggled to do the simple things like connect passes. ASU would capitalize and take the first lead of the game, but PSU would counter on the (newly-sponsored) PNC PowerPlay, which went 3-3 Friday night. PSU opened the 2nd period with 3 quick goals, and it was all Nittany Lions from there. David Glen continued his torrid pace to start the season, picking up a hat trick in the 8-3 win.

Saturday night, Penn State continued to roll a number of the reserves, including only 5 defensemen. The players that did play seemingly didn't show up at all, and somehow they still nearly pulled out a win. Both teams looked sloppy in the first, and while Arizona State picked up their intensity in the second period, Penn State didn't match it. ASU scored 38 seconds into the period, and really controlled play until Penn State's short-handed goal scored 6:28 into the 3rd period. Penn State was close to tying the game at 2-2 in the 3rd period, but the Dominic Morrone goal was waved off as he had knocked it in with his hand. A defensive turnover lead to an ASU breakaway, giving Arizona State a well-earned 3-1 victory.

Season Record: 6-5-0 (4-3-0 NCAA D1)

Next Opponents: The Nittany Lions return to the NCAA world, and not too lightly either. The boys are on the road at a quality and hungry Holy Cross (7-4-2) team, who are currently winless in their last 4 games.

Women's NCAA D1:

November 30, 2012 1 2 3 Final
PENN STATE 0 0 0 0
#4 Mercyhurst 1 3 1 5
PSU Goals:
Penn State SOG: 10
Mercyhurst SOG: 60

December 1, 2012 1 2 3 Final
PENN STATE 1 0 0 1
#4 Mercyhurst 1 2 4 7
PSU Goals: Desorcie (3)
Penn State SOG: 10
Mercyhurst SOG: 71

Summary: The ladies put up one hell of an effort this weekend. Saturday's final score is less indicative of the quality of play, and more the result of playing their hearts out for the previous 5 periods of hockey. Friday's game saw a quality defensive effort, and only a shaky second period kept the ladies from being in position to force some pressure on the Lakers in that game. While Nicole Paniccia continues to play phenomenally between the pipes, Celine Whitlinger's 3rd period performance was wildly impressive - coming off the bench and stopping 26 of the 27 shots she faced.

Saturday's game actually saw Penn State jump out the lead, thanks to Jess Desorcie's first period goal - the first time Mercyhurst has been losing in a game since their November 2nd game against Lindenwood. But like that game against those Lions, the Mercyhurst ladies would storm back against the Nittany Lions, tying the game 4 minutes later, and then controlling the majority of play for the remaining 2 periods of hockey. 71 shots is an insane number, and the fact that Paniccia (the workhorse of a goalie this season) made 64 saves and isn't dead is a testament to her great ability. Mark both of these up to the "moral victory" column for this young and improving ladies team.

Season Record: 5-10-1 Overall, 1-8-1 CHA

Next Opponent: The ladies are back on the road for the third straight weekend, this time going out of conference to play the St. Lawrence Saints (8-7-1). The Saints are another solid team, just on the outside of being ranked in the top 10 of the poll. And don't let those 7 losses on the Saints record distract you - 6 of those came against the top 3 ranked teams.

The ACHA round-up: Both teams were idle. This weekend, the Ice Lions host Delaware and Temple in a couple of important games for the rankings. The D2 Lady Icers continued their deep discussions on the ever-popular topic "Hegel or Schlegel: Who's the better 'Wilhelm Friedrich'?" *UPDATE* Good news, everyone! The Lady Icers have a game added to the schedule! They host their first "home" game against Slippery Rock this Sunday. The game is being played in Altoona at 9:50am, so if you're in the area and need something to do Sunday morning - go see the ladies! Guess that Hegel/Schlegel argument will have to take a backseat to some quality ice hockey action.

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