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Dec. 7, 2012
CANTON, N.Y. - Penn State women's hockey battled St. Lawrence Saturday night, but ultimately fell to the Saints, 3-1, on the road in Canton, N.Y. Freshman Jill Holdcroft netted her fifth goal of the season on a power play in the second period, but St. Lawrence (9-7-1, 6-2-0 ECAC) responded with a two-goal final frame to put away the Nittany Lions (5-11-1, 1-8-1 CHA).
The Lions and Saints return to the ice at 2 p.m. Saturday to cap off the series at Appleton Arena. The game is the final clash of 2012 for Penn State, who returns home to Greenberg Ice Pavilion Jan. 4 to take on Chatham.
Celine Whitlinger (Garden Grove, Calif.), in her third start of the season, denied a career-high 45 shots in goal, besting her previous record of 40 set against Vermont Oct. 7. Whitlinger was aided by a stingy Nittany Lion defense that totaled 17 blocked shots to hold St. Lawrence to just a pair of goals before an empty-netter sealed the final score at 3-1. Jenna Welch (Austin, Texas) led the way by getting in front of three attempts.
After a scoreless first 34 minutes of play, St. Lawrence struck with 5:50 remaining in the second. SLU's Kailee Heidersbach carried the puck through the Penn State zone and fired a centering pass from left of the frame as she neared the goal line to Jenna Marks in front of the crease. Marks made a move to her right to create space and netted a shot past Whitlinger to light the lamp.
As time wound down in the second period, Penn State needed just 18 seconds to make the most of its third power-play opportunity as Holdcroft (Pennsylvania Furnace, Pa.) picked up the rebound from Shannon Yoxheimer's (Jackson, Mich.) attempt and powered a strong shot past SLU netminder Giulia Mazzocchi to set the score at one apiece heading into the final frame. The assist is the ninth of the year for Yoxheimer.
The Blue and White kept St. Lawrence off the board through the first seven minutes of the third period, but the relentless Saint attack broke through with 12:07 remaining as Rylee Smith found Kelly Sabatine, who wristed a shot over Whitlinger's blocker to give SLU a 2-1 advantage.
With a 1:16 on the clock, Penn State opted for an extra attacked and pulled Whitlinger from the goal. St. Lawrence responded 25 seconds later as Kayla Raniwsky potted an empty-netter to ice the game and set the final score at 3-1.
The Saints won the battle in the circle, 33-18. Holdcroft paced the Nittany Lions with a 6-9 mark on faceoffs while Taylor Gross (Colorado Springs, Colo.) finished 5-11. SLU's Raniwsky led all at 9-2. With Holdcroft's power-play goal, Penn State finished 1-of-5 as the PSU PK held St. Lawrence scoreless on three PP chances.