By Tom Shively, GoPSUsports.com
Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa - Three weeks ago, when asked about her personal goals, senior Laura Bowman talked about wanting to make it to 100 points. In the third period of Saturday's game, that became a reality as Bowman tallied her most significant point on an assist to Amy Peterson.
"Honestly, when it happened, I didn't realize it," Bowman said. "I knew I hit 99, but then when I hit the 100 I kind of forgot about it. Amy had such a great shot. I just threw it in front of the net and she bounced it off the post and in. I was just so happy that we were getting closer and closer to them."
Despite Bowman's achievement, the Lions came up just a little short, losing a hard-fought 4-3 decision to the Mercyhurst Lakers. Bowman remained positive after the game, keeping her mind focused on the road ahead.
"There's a lot of hockey left, I think this team only has up to look. I think we're going to do some great things later this season and I'm going to expect some big things from everyone else too," she said.
The result didn't come without drama, as the Nittany Lions erased a two-goal deficit early in the game and had multiple quality chances to tie the score in the third period.
With just about seven minutes remaining, Bowman found Petersen on a centering pass to the weak side which led to a wide open shot on net that was thwarted by the glove of the Mercyhurst goalie at full extension. Not long after, a shot from the point clanked off the goalpost, one of several Penn State shots that drew iron throughout the game.
"They're game-changers," interim coach Dean Jackson said. "I think today we hit four or five posts. Give the goalie credit [on Peterson shot], she made a terrific save. Amy got a lot of wood on it and it was a rocket to the weak side. Those ones sting. You feel as if you've got it and then you just feel like you literally got robbed. But we kept going and that's excited. We didn't fold and we kept pushing."
"It's frustrating, but it's also good to see that we're getting chances and pucks on net and really testing the goalie," Bowman said. "Yesterday, we weren't really getting that many chances, but today seeing those was really helpful. I think that our team is resilient enough to be able to handle that."
Plenty of resiliency was present at Pegula Ice Arena in the stands, as the annual Skate for the Cure game not only helped raise funds, but also recognize some of the breast cancer survivors in the crowd. The largest crowd of the season (990) welcomed the survivors with a loud ovation and made the entire afternoon very enjoyable.
"It's always great, I love our pink game," Bowman said. "We always have such a great crowd and it's awesome to see everyone support such a great cause and we really love skating for a great cause in front of that many people."
"That was fantastic," Jackson said. "I've only been here since the beginning of the season but that was definitely the largest crowd that I've seen. You could see the enthusiasm that they had so it was really nice to see them engaged and involved."
Saturday also served as the final postgame skate opportunity, giving the large crowd a chance to interact with some of the players while having some fun.
The same could not be said for Friday night's game, as the Nittany Lions fell in a 6-0 defeat in the first game of the series.
"It wasn't the prettiest of games for 60 minutes," Jackson said. "Certainly a penalty-filled game and when that happens, there's no flow to the game. It's tough to build any type of momentum."
Ten penalties in total were called on Penn State, equating to an entire period of playing with a man down.
"We've got to move our feet, we've got to be in the right positions," Jackson said. "We've got to anticipate the plays. When we get caught out of position and don't move our feet, that's when the sticks come out for the hooks and trips and interference."
The Nittany Lions are off next weekend before starting a four-game road trip consisting of visits to Lindenwood and Robert Morris in back-to-back weeks.
As always, it's time for the Nittany Lions to keep looking forward.
"It's always difficult to walk away from a weekend 0-2," Jackson said. "I think yesterday we definitely didn't deserve that, but I think today we played well enough to be on the other side of the column. There are certainly some things we need to clean up and I'm really looking forward to tackling Monday."