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Feb. 28, 2014
Ritter Arena Rochester, N.Y. Attendance: 313
ROCHESTER, N.Y. - Shannon Yoxheimer (Jackson, Mich.) recorded her first two-goal game of the season and the Penn State women's hockey team lost in heartbreak, 3-2, at RIT in the first game of a CHA First Round series at Ritter Arena Friday night. Nicole Paniccia (Oakville, Ont.) made 44 saves in Penn State's longest game in program history.
An eventful opening 60 minutes of play led to an exciting 10:15 of overtime hockey as both Penn State (4-28-3) and RIT (17-15-3) had chances to end the game. In fact, Penn State's two best chances came immediately before Celeste Brown's game-winner.
Jenna Welch (Austin, Texas) couldn't convert an RIT turnover in front of its own net as Ali Binnington (34 saves) was there for the save. Twenty seconds before the Brown winner, Jill Holdcroft (Pennsylvania Furnace, Pa.) had her second breakaway chance of the game stopped by Binnington as the ensuing clear was covered by Paniccia, leading to the faceoff that would provide Brown's goal.
The 70:15 of game time was the most in Penn State women's hockey history and the second time the two teams entered overtime in the CHA Tournament. Last year's deciding game was a 3-2 RIT winner at Ritter Arena.
The Tigers now lead the all-time series, the most played in PSU history, 9-0-2. Six of the last seven contests between the two teams have been decided by a goal or less. The two teams meet Saturday for Game 2, which will get started at 2 p.m.
Penn State continued its trend of strong starts against RIT as the Nittany Lions controlled most of the play and scored the game's first goal. Yoxheimer ripped her seventh of the year on a 2-on-1 rush with a left-winged effort with 9:25 remaining in the period. Linemate Taylor Gross (Colorado Springs, Colo.) was credited with her eighth assist of the year on the play.
The Nittany Lions maintained the 1-0 lead through the end of the period as Penn State out-shot RIT 12-9. Paniccia stoned all nine Tiger shots. Penn State scored first against RIT for the fourth time in five meetings this season. PSU has held a lead in every game between the two teams this season.
The script was flipped in the second period as RIT came out flying, peppering the Blue and White goal. Jess Paton evened the score just 3:24 into the frame on a mad scramble in front of the cage with assists credited to Cassie Clayton and Lindsay Grigg.
The Tigers took their first lead of the game 86 seconds later as Caitlin Wallace forced a turnover in PSU's zone and beat Paniccia under her glove for the 2-1 edge. The goal was Wallace's first of her career.
Penn State would settle down and break their power-play scoring drought with Yoxheimer's second of the night and eighth of the season with 11:17 remaining in the period to knot the score at two apiece. Amy Petersen (Minnetonka, Minn.) found Laura Bowman (Minnetonka, Minn.) for an intermediary pass before Bowman slid the puck down low to Yoxheimer who made no mistake.
PSU's extra-player goal was its first in 18 games, a span that dated to Nov. 23, 2013 in a 4-1 win over Lindenwood. The skid included 66 trips on the power play without scoring a goal for the Nittany Lions. After two periods, RIT held a 24-20 advantage in shots following a 15-8 margin for the second period.
The third period was played at a frantic pace that saw each team go through strings of opportunities to gain the game-winning goal. The Nittany Lions fired nine of the period's first 12 shots, in the process surpassing their highest total against RIT in any contest (23 on three occasions). The best chance of the period came with 8:12 remaining in the period as Holdcroft, who scored two times in her last appearance at Ritter Arena, had a breakaway shot that just missed the frame to put the Lions ahead.
RIT would take over from there, starting with a power play that yielded five consecutive shots as Paniccia was there to stop them all. The Tigers would finish the third period with a run of 14 of the last 18 shots in the period, taking a 41-34 margin into the third intermission. The overtime game presented the fourth in the 11-game series between the two teams and the second consecutive overtime contest in the CHA Tournament.
Penn State fired 36 shots to RIT's 47, while going 1-for-2 on the power play and killing off both Tiger power plays. RIT won the faceoff battle, 42-32, while Penn State blocked 17 shots to RIT's seven.