BLOG: Lions Will Draw Positives from Series Setback at Quinnipiac
Oct. 15, 2013
By Jackson Thibodeau, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
The Nittany Lions found difficulty in generating offensive production over the course of the road trip, combining for 39 shots on goal compared to Quinnipiac's 112 and totaling just one goal to the Bobcats' nine.
"They did a good job at crashing in on us on the breakout so it was hard to get up the ice," said senior captain Taylor Gross, who registered an assist on the only Penn State goal of the weekend.
"They put a ton of pressure on us," said senior captain Jenna Welch, who had pucks turned away in each of her three shots on goal. "I think we got away from our systems a bit."
On the other side of the ice, the Blue and White turned to their goaltending duo to slow down the Qunnipiac attack. Senior Nicole Pannicia started in net on Friday, turning away 48 opponent shots and allowing four goals. On Saturday, sophomore Celine Whitlinger defended the cage--registering 55 saves while surrendering five scores. It was the fourth time in the young netminder's career that she accrued over 50 saves in a single game.
This marked the second-straight series in which head coach Josh Brandwene decided to split time between the two talented goalies, seeing similar and impressive results from each.
"They are both very consistent and are both great goaltenders," Gross said. "They kept us in both of the games this past weekend."
Although the Nittany Lions didn't generate the results they would have liked to over the weekend, the team will try to draw positivity out of the situation as they shift their focus to their next opponent and their home opener.
"We try to learn from each game and break down the game into positive points," said senior Jess Desorcie. "We don't dwell on the game and get down on ourselves."
It was a busy weekend in Happy Valley while the team was in Hamden, Conn., as Penn State hosted its homecoming weekend, the football team outdueled nationally ranked Michigan and the men's hockey team opened their season at Pegula Ice Arena with a win over Army.
Following Saturday's tough loss, the team stopped at a restaurant on their bus ride home to demonstrate their Penn State pride and watch the football team secure a wild win in quadruple overtime.
After two weekends in a row on the road, the team can now look forward to four-straight weekends (eight games) of playing on their home ice. It all begins with Friday's highly anticipated home-opening matchup with Union. The Nittany Lions dropped both contests to Union last season when they played in Schenectady in January.
Although jitters can be felt throughout the locker room and across Hockey Valley about the first game on the new ice, the team insists that the early-season butterflies have diminished.
"Having already played our first four games, I think our nerves are pretty much gone," Desorcie said. "Now we are just anxious to finally be able to play in the comfort of our own rink."
Coach Brandwene's team will look to improve their offensive production from last weekend by generating more chances and increasing puck possession time as they head into their home stand.
"If we keep it simple and stick to how we know how to play, that will in turn help us create some more offense in the upcoming weeks," Welch said.
The Nittany Lions host Union on Friday at 7 p.m. and again on Saturday at 2 p.m.