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Jan. 25, 2013
SYRACUSE, N.Y. - The Penn State women's hockey team went into CHA second-place Syracuse and nearly turned the upset, but fell 1-0 to the Orange at Tennity Ice Pavilion on Friday night. Junior Nicole Paniccia (Oakville, Ont.) was spectacular with 47 saves, but fell to 6-11-1 on the season with the loss.
The game started off on the right skate for Penn State (7-15-1, 1-9-1 CHA), earning an early 3-2 edge in shots. The Orange fought back, getting a rebound goal from freshman defender Nicole Renault for an early 1-0 lead. The marker was Renault's first collegiate goal as SU skated to a 12-4 shot advantage.
The second period belonged to Syracuse (13-11-1, 7-3-1 CHA) as well, shooting the shot total to 27-9, but Paniccia was phenomenal, especially on a Syracuse power play midway through the frame. Paniccia made three saves on the Orange advantage, but pitched a shutout, keeping it a one-goal lead for the final period.
Shannon Yoxheimer (Jackson, Mich.) nearly tied the game when she broke free on an odd-player rush, but top-choice goaltender Kallie Billadeau was equal to the task. Yoxheimer let loose a wrister in the slot, but Billadeau's shoulder was enough to keep Penn State off the board.
Penn State tried to rally in the final minute as the Lions pulled Paniccia. With the extra attacker, Penn State won three straight faceoffs in the zone, but the few shots from the point the Nittany Lions had were blocked by Syracuse defenders.
The Orange held a 19-4 edge in shots in the third period for a final game total of 46-13. Both teams were scoreless on five power plays, three for Penn State and two for Syracuse. Taylor Gross (Colorado Springs, Colo.) had three shots and Yoxheimer fired a team-high five shots. Jill Holdcroft (Pennsylvania Furnace, Pa.) had an impressive game, especially on the forecheck, getting both her shots on Syracuse turnovers in SU's defensive end.
Panicca's play has been outstanding in her past four appearances, allowing just seven goals against 139 saves. During that time, she has a .952 save percentage and a 2.12 goals-against average in 198:14 of game time.
Syracuse won its third straight over Penn State in shutout fashion. The Orange took a pair of games in Happy Valley in October by scores of 4-0 and 6-0. In those games, Syracuse out-shot Penn State 101-41.
The two teams cap the season series on Saturday afternoon at Tennity Ice Pavilion with a 2 p.m. opening faceoff. The game can be watched live on AmericaOneSports.com ($) or followed along at @PennStateWHKY, official Twitter handle of Penn State women's hockey.