Penalties eventually caught up to Penn State in each game of its conference-opening series against Syracuse over the weekend, leading to several costly goals.
The Nittany Lions committed five minor penalties in each game, totaling 10 minutes of penalty time.
Although the Orange did not score during any of their power plays on Saturday, the disadvantages the Lions faced throughout the game hindered their ability to set up an offense at times.
“In the third period, we had a couple more penalties to kill, and that pinned us down in our end a little bit for a little while,” coach Josh Brandwene said after Saturday’s game about the team’s two penalties in the third period.
Sunday’s contest featured the same amount of penalties by the Lions. However, the Orange made them pay the second time around, capitalizing on two of their five power plays.
A third period penalty almost led to another power play goal by the Orange. Jess Desorcie was called for hooking, and one second after her penalty expired Syracuse’s Margot Scharfe scored the game’s third goal.
“We went over a couple key adjustments on the penalty kill, and the execution wasn’t there,” Brandwene said.
Brandwene said that the penalties committed by the Lions were mostly unnecessary, and something that needs to be fixed.
“I think a big thing we’re trying to eliminate are stick penalties,” Brandwene said.
“I think it’s one of those lessons we need to take away from the weekend here, because it certainly caught up to us in the end.”
Brandwene also said that avoiding those types of penalties comes down to players keeping their feet moving on plays.
Micayla Catanzariti was the biggest offender of the weekend, compiling eight minutes in the penalty box. She committed three penalties in the first period of Saturday’s game, two of which (slashing and high sticking) were stick penalties. On Sunday, she only committed one penalty, a two-minute minor for hooking.
“Most of [the penalties] were stick penalties, and those just don’t fly, and you can always control those,” Catanzariti said.
“I think I did better this game with that...it’s just a discipline thing.”
Syracuse head coach Paul Flanagan said the key thing the Lions’ penalty kill unit needs to learn over the season is how to deal with the intensity of opposing power plays.
“They’ve got a young group, and for them, the flip side of that is for them to learn how to handle pressure,” Flanagan said. “And that’s what we’re trying to do with our power play — to get our D to have more composure and patience, and not just throw it away. I think that’s the big thing, and that’ll come with more experience from them.”
Overall, one thing junior Jenna Welch said the Lions can build on to avoid allowing so many goals is their play in the defensive zone.
“It’s a lot of little things. There’s nothing big that we’re missing, it’s just the little five-10 minutes in a period that we let down, and we just got to learn how to keep our composure,” Welch said.