By Jack Milewski,
GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Anytime a coach says that their team played at a consistent high level, the team gets a jolt. If that praise comes two-thirds of the way through a season, it means that much more, due to the fact that the team has played that many more games.
For the Penn State women's hockey team, that is exactly the compliment that they got from head coach Josh Brandwene who said that Friday's 1-0 victory may have been one of, if not the best, efforts of the season for the team.
"[I was] really pleased with the business-like effort with the puck to do the right thing," said Brandwene. "When you do that, you get rewarded for it. Really pleased with the effort, especially over the last two periods."
According to Brandwene, the final 40 minutes of the game were some of Penn State's best all season. Amy Petersen netted a short-handed goal in the first period and that was all the Nittany Lion's needed. The team peppered RIT with 33 shots and only gave up 14.
Game two was no different as once again Penn State peppered the opposition with shots, while conceding only 15. Brandwene commented that he thought the team was even better in game two.
"I thought we were better," said Brandwene. "Better attention to detail and overall a more consistent effort. I thought the first period was good and the second and third that much better."
The series hinged on a few key aspects for the Nittany Lions, the first being the outstanding defensive effort that limited the RIT team to just 29 shots all weekend.
"Overall I was very pleased with our defensive effort," said Brandwene. "Emily Laurenzi, especially, was flying all afternoon and that's something that helped but didn't necessarily show up on the stat sheet."
Bella Sutton, who had multiple blocks on the back line agreed with Brandwene's sentiment and echoed that the defensive effort all weekend was fantastic for Penn State.
"It definitely helps that we have our two goalies who have been playing really well behind us," said Sutton. "For us on defense, were just trying to play well for them. It is about following our plan and staying disciplined and I think that's why we played so well this weekend."
The two goaltenders, Celine Whitlinger on Friday and Hannah Ehresmann on Saturday, pitched back to back shutouts. Penn State, who is known for its goaltender duo, among other things, rode the hot play of both the netminders during the weekend series.
"They are both playing great," said Brandwene. "They both work hard and they are great friends. Not sure what could be better for a hockey team."
As good as both goaltenders were, Shannon Yoxheimer stole the show during the weekend series. After playing a complete game on Friday and having nothing to show for it on the scoresheet, Yoxheimer led the dominant effort Saturday with two goals and eight shots on goal. The effort did not go unnoticed by her coach.
"Shannon was in beast mode all weekend," said Brandwene. "Her whole line played very well and she was great at both ends of the ice and made some great defensive plays both days. Today she got rewarded for her effort by going to the net and playing hard."
Yoxheimer also said that she felt comfortable the whole weekend and said that the team as a whole was fantastic offensively.
"I think that we had some pretty good momentum today and things were clicking pretty well," said Yoxheimer. "We were really working as a team today and I think that we all felt pretty good out there all day."
Penn State will continue their home stand and look to continue their hot play next Friday and Saturday with another conference series against the Syracuse Orange.