For a team without a goal in its last eight periods, Penn State has been making things a little more difficult for itself defensively.
In every period so far except for the second period of Saturday’s loss to Syracuse, the Nittany Lions have allowed more shots on goal than they have taken. In three of the 12 periods played this season, the shot difference between the Lions and their opponents has been more than 10 shots.
Freshman forward Emily Laurenzie said shooting more than the other team is important in games, but at the same time, the shot differential is not hurting the Lions immensely because the team is confident in its goaltending.
Jordin Pardoski, a freshman defender, said the Lions have worked to eliminate shots on goal from opponents through frequent practice.
“A lot of the lines, we each go through and get reps,” Pardoski said. “It’s mostly about repetition and having the forwards put good pressure on us, so it’s realistic.”
Head coach Josh Brandwene said good positional play is a key to reversing the trend in shots taken.
“We need to do as good a job as possible at clearing pucks from our end and getting pucks deep, and that will allow us to get some offensive flow going,” Brandwene said. “I think you’ll see an impacted shot chart when we start doing that.”
Controlling the puck more on the offensive end will also give opponents fewer opportunities to shoot on goal.
So far, the Lions have only averaged 21 shots per game. While not a terrible statistic, it pales in comparison to the number of shots Nittany Lion goalies have seen.
Although the team has not taken as many shots, Pardoski said they have mostly been quality looks.
Brandwene agreed, saying he’s seen strong shooting from his team in certain parts of games.
“We had some glorious chances on Saturday, and give [Syracuse’s] goaltender credit. She made some good saves. That’s hockey sometimes,” Brandwene said.
Pardoski said cutting down on the number of shots taken by opponents is one of the goals the Lions have in mind when they play Sacred Heart on Friday.
“Hopefully then, [we’ll see] a lot more offense this weekend than we had last weekend,” she said.
Three major items are on the list of things Brandwene wants to see from the Lions.
“If we keep the puck to the perimeter, limit odd-rush opportunities and generate quality scoring chances of our own, that’s a pretty good formula,” he said.