Shively, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa - After giving up a second goal early in Friday's game to fall behind 2-0, the Nittany Lions found themselves with their backs against the wall. Head coach Josh Brandwene decided to call a timeout to calm his players in the hopes that they still had a comeback left in them.
"[During the timeout] I asked them a question," Brandwene said. "I said, 'What haven't we done yet in the period?' And they knew the answer. They said we haven't shot the puck yet. And I said, 'Let's get some pucks to the net, shall we?' They did a good job with that and they did a good job simplifying."
Whatever Brandwene's message was, it seemed to inspire the Nittany Lions, as, a minute after the timeout, they were able to cut the lead in half on a goal from Meike Meilleur.
"It was definitely a harder first period getting down, and we had been playing well, working hard," defenseman Bella Sutton said. "So once we got [the goal], it was good and we got a jump in our step."
"We knew we had to find a way to bury those next couple of goals," defenseman Katie McMillan said. "I thought that after that timeout, we really came out with a lot of energy and it paid off."
With under two minutes to go in the second period, McMillan netted a goal off a beautiful centering pass from Amy Petersen to even the score at two goals apiece.
"I saw my former teammates from high school, Amy and Laura [Bowman], go on a 2-on-2 and I decided to join the rush," McMillan said. "They went to the left side and I saw back door was open and Amy hit me. It was awesome."
Early in the third period, Sutton put the game away for good as she slammed home a power play goal, her second of the season, to give Penn State a 3-2 lead which they would not surrender.
"Our power play had been working on that, using the flanks," Sutton said. "They have a really good penalty kill so those were the shots they were giving us instead of letting us go across the ice, which other teams would do. I just knew the power play was ending so I tossed it on net and saw it go in. It was a good feeling."
After the game, Brandwene attributed the win to his team's ability to respond despite the slow start.
"I think one of the signs of a team that continues to grow is a team that, after a stretch where we admittedly didn't have our best hockey, is able to in the middle of the period hit the reset button," Brandwene said. "To come out and change the complexion of the game and continue to build on it and grow during the second half of the game says a lot about the student-athletes on this team. I'm really proud of them for the adjustments they made during the second half."
Penn State once again found themselves in a situation where they needed to make adjustments in the second game on Saturday afternoon, as they surrendered a shorthanded goal early in the second period to fall behind.
"I think we have a lot to learn from the start we got off to today," Brandwene said. "I give Lindenwood a ton of credit for their effort, their work ethic, all that the coaching staff does with that team. They earned the result that they got today and it was a great battle through the second and third period and overtime."
Katie McMillan once again was responsible for the game-tying goal as she punched a rebound in off a deflection from the Lindenwood goaltender on the power play late in the second period. That goal was enough for the Nittany Lions to walk away with a 1-1 tie in game two.
"She just continues to work hard," Brandwene said. "She's so coachable and has such a great attitude. When you work hard and have a great attitude, you get rewarded for it."
"I'm loving her play right now, she's doing great," forward Laura Bowman said. "She's always been such an awesome defender, solid both on offense and defense. She's been getting those back doors all day, every day, and it's been great."
Not to be forgotten was freshman Daniela Paniccia's performance in goal, allowing only three goals over the weekend and making a combined 42 saves.
"She was terrific and she saw a lot of deflections, a lot of traffic," Brandwene said. "I'm really proud of her effort."
"It's a different game here [in college]," Paniccia said. "One thing I've been working on is having that short-term memory and forgetting what happened. Life happens and you just have to go on from there and just play your best and play in the present."
The Nittany Lions moved to 4-1-1 in conference play, currently trailing only Robert Morris in the CHA standings. They face a tough test next on the schedule as #4 St. Lawrence comes to town for a pair of games starting Nov. 21.