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Dec. 1, 2012
ERIE, Pa. - Nicole Paniccia (Oakville, Ont.) made a program-record 64 saves as Penn State women's hockey fell 7-1 at No. 4 Mercyhurst on Saturday. Jess Desorcie (Westford, Vt.) gave the Nittany Lions a brief first-period lead and broke Mercyhurst's 302-minute shutout streak in the process. The Nittany Lions return to action on Friday at St. Lawrence.
Penn State (5-10-1, 1-8-1 CHA) was dangerous in transition, taking advantage of a pair of Mercyhurst (14-1-1, 6-0-0 CHA) turnovers as Taylor Gross (Colorado Springs, Colo.) earned breakaways on the Laker miscues. MU's Stephanie Ciampa stopped Gross's first breakaway, but the second one proved consequential. Ciampa saved Gross's initial effort on the forehand as Desorcie cleaned up in the slot for a 1-0 lead 8:29 into the game.
Despite being outshot 20-4 in the opening frame, Paniccia was steady in net with 19 saves. Mercyhurst tied the game on a Molly Byrne unassisted marker four minutes after the Desorcie goal. In a 4-on-4 situation, Penn State turned the puck over at the blue line and Byrne made no mistake about it, beating Paniccia top shelf from distance.
It was more of the same in the second period as Mercyhurst peppered the Nittany Lion net, but Paniccia was up to the task. It took until Mercyhurst's 10th shot of the period did the Lakers get on the board as Jaclyn Arbour snuck one past Paniccia on a rebound following a failed wraparound attempt 9:04 into the period. Vaila Higston made it 3-1 at 11:46 on a wrister from the point.
In the third period, Mercyhurst's Lauren Jones made it 4-1 just two minutes into the frame. MU continued the scoring on a Christine Bestland tally 12:29 into the third period. Arbour scored her second of the game with 3:45 remaining for a 6-1 lead before Maggie Rothgery made it 7-1 with 2:51 left.
The Lakers out-shot Penn State 71-10 on the afternoon. Mercyurst, 10-time defending CHA regular-season champions, also dominated faceoffs by a tally of 56-19. Paniccia, who made 29 saves in two periods of action on Friday night, posted 93 saves on the weekend bringing her season total to 500. She leads the CHA in saves, minutes played and games started.
Penn State travels to St. Lawrence next weekend in the final series of the calendar year before finals. The first game is on Friday at 7 p.m. before the finale on Saturday at 2 p.m.