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No. 4 Mercyhurst Downs Penn State, 5-0

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Celine Whitlinger recorded 26 saves in 20 minutes of action against the Lakers

Nov. 30, 2012

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ERIE, Pa. - Penn State women's hockey dropped a 5-0 decision to No. 4 Mercyhurst on the road in Erie, Pa., Friday night. The Lakers (13-1-1, 5-0-0 CHA) powered by the Nittany Lions (5-9-2, 1-7-1 CHA) with a three-goal second period bookended by one-goal opening and closing frames.

The teams square off for the second game of the series at 2 p.m. Saturday at the Mercyhurst Ice Center.

Junior Nicole Paniccia (Oakville, Ontario) stopped 29 saves in two periods of work between the pipes for Penn State before freshman Celine Whitlinger (Garden Grove, Calif.) accumulated an impressive 26 stops in 20 minutes of action in the third in her third appearance this season. Mercyhurst put up a 60-10 advantage in shots and finished 2-6 on the power play while the Nittany Lions could not convert their lone power play opportunity of the night. The shutout is just the third time a team has held the Nittany Lion offense scoreless this season.

The Lakers controlled action in the circle as well, finishing with a 39-20 lead in faceoffs. Jill Holdcroft (Pennsylvania Furnace, Pa.) paced the Lions with an 8-13 effort while Jess Desorcie (Westford, Vt.) finished 4-7 and Kendra Rasmussen (Sartell, Minn.) won 3-of-5 attempts. Mercyhurst's Shelby Bram led all with a 15-8 ledger.

The trio of Hannah Hoenshell (Plano, Texas), Shannon Yoxheimer (Jackson, Mich.) and Birdie Shaw (Troy, Mich.) recorded two shots apiece but could not best Laker goalie Amanda Makela, who finished with 10 saves in the whitewash.

Mercyhurst grabbed a 1-0 lead 60 seconds into play as Bram snuck a shot by Paniccia directly in front of the net. The Nittany Lions tightened up on defense, however, and battled the Lakers to a 1-0 finish in the first period before Mercyhurst struck again nearly eight minutes into the second frame on Stephanie DeSutter's power-play goal.

Just over three minutes later Kelsey Welch extended the MU lead to 3-0 after snatching a rebound in the slot to Paniccia's left and firing it back at the net. The Lakers' Christine Bestland beat the horn to light the lamp with less than a second remaining in the period to close the first 40 minutes with a 4-0 advantage off a faceoff taken right of the goal with 2.1 seconds on the clock.

Two minutes into Whitlinger's shift in goal, Mercyhurst netted its final score of the night as Vaila Higson sent a rocket shot from the circle over the Penn State netminder's left shoulder.




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