Penn State (2-5-0, 0-3-0 CHA) entered Thursday night’s game in search of their first CHA conference win, but did not get off to the start they wanted and ultimately fell, 4-1, to opponent Rochester Institute of Technology (4-3-0, 1-2-0 CHA).
Just over three minutes into the game, RIT right winger Katie Hubert took a shot from goalie Nicole Paniccia’s right side and the puck trickled through Paniccia’s legs for and early RIT lead.
After a round of penalties for both squads that nearly put the box at capacity, the Lions looked at a four-on-three advantage late in the first period and forward Shannon Yoxheimer did not waste the opportunity. Yoxheimer ripped a shot into the back of the net to tie the game before the first intermission.
“It was big lift for us,” Penn State head coach Josh Brandwene said. “Shannon is just excellent at [adjusting]. [She] literally moved to the spot we just talked about and she got rewarded for it.”
Yoxheimer said captain Taylor Gross’ assisting pass was “nice” and that the team worked on that play in practice, so it was good to see it transition into the team’s game play.
The Lions and Tigers remained even in the second period until Hubert notched her second goal of the contest after defender Madison Smiddy was penalized for cross-checking. RIT added a shorthanded goal when center Erin Zach put a move on Paniccia and found the back of the net.
RIT coach Scott McDonald said Paniccia is a legitimate goalie and the second period goals were big for his squad heading into the final period of play.
“We were shooting some pucks right at her in the first period,” McDonald said. “Finally getting a couple and breaking through in the second period definitely gave us some momentum.”
RIT added one more goal late in the third period when left winger Tenecia Hiller received a cross-ice pass and scored on an exposed left side of the net on a power play.
Both teams racked up eight penalties during the game and the Lions were only able to score once on the power play as opposed to the Tigers’ two.
Gross said the Tigers were able to win because they did well on their power play and capitalized on their opportunities, but the Lions had some bright spots as well.
“I think we have a lot to work on, but there were definitely some positives,” Gross said. “We never gave up. Even though we didn’t get a lot of shots, we still did have scoring chances.”
Brandwene said his team gave a good effort and there was an improvement in terms of special teams play. He also said his squad is spending more time defending than it needs to and it has to get better with zone clears.
The Lions look to take a series split when they square off again with the Tigers on Friday at 7:30 p.m.
“We definitely wanted to get the win, but unfortunately we didn’t,” Paniccia said. “At this point, we’re kind of just ready to move on and learn from it, but also get ready for the next game and come out strong.”