Penn State has been looking forward to the CHA Tournament all season long, and now that the time has come, they will have to compete in it without a key component.
Forward Jill Holdcroft, who is second on the team in goals with 10, broke her wrist in the Lions’ regular season finale against Robert Morris on Saturday.
Holdcroft said she was battling for the puck with a Colonial and went too hard into the boards. She also said she did not know she broke her wrist immediately.
“I thought the pain would go away in a couple seconds, but it didn’t,” Holdcroft said.
Forward Shannon Yoxheimer said Holdcroft is a big piece of the team and that she plays well all around.
Head coach Josh Brandwene said the Pennsylvania Furnace native had an “awesome” freshman season and she will be missed in the lineup for the conference playoffs that start Friday at RIT.
“It’s moments of challenge like these that it’s up to everybody else to step it up and take their game to the next level,” Brandwene said. “That’s part of hockey.”
Holdcroft has been a force on the power play unit as she leads the team with six power play goals.
One of the more subtle contributions Holdcroft gave the Lions all season long was in the faceoff dot.
Holdcroft has 146 faceoff wins, which is second on the team behind forward Emily Laurenzi. Although Laurenzi has 92 more faceoff victories, Holdcroft owns the highest winning percentage on the team among players with more than three attempts.
Assistant coach Gina Kearns said the loss of Holdcroft is huge because the 5-foot-1 freshman does everything.
“There’s no way to replace a player like Jill Holdcroft,” Kearns said. “We’ll just have to do without her and hope that some others step up.”
Laurenzi is one of the Lions that will have to fill the void left by Holdcroft in the faceoff circle. Laurenzi said there is a lot of pressure on winning faceoffs because it has a big impact during the course of a game.
“If you win the puck, it gives your team the advantage because you have possession now, so it’s a lot [of pressure.]”
The Townsend, Del., native also said she loves the aspect of being a center since she has always played the position and takes pride in her efforts in the faceoff dot.