“Defy the odds” has been the motto of Penn State’s inaugural season in the NCAA, and after capturing its first conference win in comeback fashion, the team remained focused and continued to work toward that goal.
The Nittany Lions earned their first win in College Hockey America on Saturday, Nov. 17 when they beat the Lindenwood Lady Lions, 3-2.
“We battled through a lot of adversity over the weekend, and we really put together a solid, complete effort on Saturday. It was a great effort on everybody’s part,” head coach Josh Brandwene said after Monday’s practice.
Staying true to the team’s motto, the Nittany Lions’ first CHA win did not come easy.
After falling to the Lady Lions the day before, 5-1, the victory came after the Nittany Lions conceded the game’s first goal and later fell behind 2-1 in third period. Fueled by a quick goal 36 seconds later and their second power play goal of the game with 5:50 remaining, the Nittany Lions rallied to win the game.
“To do it in that fashion and to do it on the road speaks volumes about the character and the effort that we have on our team, that they just keep going,” Brandwene said.
The win came after six losses and one tie in CHA action. Although there have been many firsts for the program so far, this one most likely lifted more weight off the team’s shoulders than usual.
“Every time we get a first anything, it’s great,” senior defender Linsay Reihl said. “And so the fact that we got our first win in the CHA, that was very exciting.”
However, the hard work did not stop following the Nittany Lions’ first CHA win. Although they did not have a team practice, the players were given workouts to complete over their Thanksgiving breaks in order to stay in shape during their time away from campus.
Forward Shannon Yoxheimer said the workouts were intense, similar to what the team would do together on Mondays. She said it focused on conditioning and included work on a bike and weightlifting.
Reihl also said the workouts were intense, and that they pushed the team since it had no practices or games for a while.
“Obviously, we didn’t get to work on any different systems or anything last week, but we all came back fresh,” Reihl said. “We’re ready to go, and we’re ready for a hard week of practice.”
Brandwene said the players did a great job balancing the work they needed to do with the rest they received over the break to remain fresh.
“You could see it in the jump we had at practice today. It was a great practice,” Brandwene said. “You could tell that they were ready to go, right from the first couple minutes of practice today.”
To email reporter: email@example.com