Nittany Lions Look to Continue to Produce Offensively Versus RIT

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By: Sean Flanery, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - This past weekend the Nittany Lions (2-4-0) traveled to Sacred Heart (3-3-0) where they split a two-game series with the Pioneers.

Penn State's offense came alive on the road as the Lions tallied seven goals during the road trip, which included a 6-1 victory on Saturday. Six different Nittany Lions scored goals over the weekend with freshman forward Shannon Yoxheimer (Jackson, Mich.) netting two. Yoxheimer credits the system the team plays within for her production so far this season.

Yoxheimer-Shannon.jpeg"With a lot of system things too," said Yoxheimer. "Following the system is what creates the opportunities that I'm getting and just being able to finish. It's a good feeling knowing once I follow the systems that I can get on the scoreboard." 

Yoxheimer leads the Nittany Lions in shots, with 43, and goals, with four, so far this season. With her three-point performance - two goals and an assist - this past weekend, Yoxheimer earned College Hockey America Offensive Player of the Week honors, becoming the first Nittany Lion to do so.

"It means a lot, the player of the week award," said Yoxheimer. "I think it's good for the program because we are new and getting our name out there. Micayla [Catanzariti] was rookie of the week [two weeks ago], so it's nice we are out there and making changes in the CHA."

The Nittany Lions entered last weekend having not converted on a power play opportunity yet this year. However, over the weekend the Lions changed that, converting three times in nine opportunities with the player advantage.

"At first, we weren't really getting much out of it, but we made some changes and we scored three power play goals this weekend," said Yoxheimer. "So, the modifications that the coach gave us helped a lot."

While the Nittany Lions' offense sparked over the weekend, the play of junior goaltender Nicole Paniccia (Oakville, Ont.) was equally as impressive. Paniccia entered the Sacred Heart series with a goal against average of 3.50, but allowed only three goals in the two-game series with the Pioneers to lower that number to 2.51.

"Those two games were actually pretty challenging," said Paniccia. "There was a lot of traffic in front of the net and it was pretty hard to see the puck. I got lucky a couple of times and it ended up working out."

While the Nittany Lions split the series with Sacred Heart, the convincing win on Saturday should provide the Lions with a lot of confidence moving forward. Penn State will begin a string of six-straight home games this Thursday night at 7 p.m. EST as they play host to Rochester Institute of Technology (3-3-0) in the first of a two-game series.

"I'm looking forward to it," said Paniccia. "RIT a good team and it's going to be a tough game, but we know we're ready. We have been practicing really hard and we are ready for anything at this point. We're ready to go." 

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