Following suit with their two games against Vermont last weekend, the Nittany Lions (1-2-0) continued to be out shot by their opponents Saturday. This time, College Hockey America foe Syracuse (1-2-0) out shot the team, 57-21, leading to a 4-0 shutout of the Lions in their home opener.
Goaltender Nicole Paniccia faced 28 shots in the first period alone, but she stopped all of the Orange’s attempts. The Lions’ offense was only able to put three shots on Syracuse goaltender Jenesica Drinkwater as the teams entered the locker room during the first intermission knotted at zero.
“Personally, I really like when you get a lot of shots,” Paniccia said. “You’re always focused, you’re always in the game and there’s not really time that you have to just twiddle your thumbs.”
Forward Micayla Catanzariti, last week’s CHA Rookie of the Week, racked up three penalties in the first 20 minutes of play. She was called for slashing, high sticking and checking.
Just over three minutes into the second period, Syracuse right winger Nicole Ferrara put one past Paniccia for the first score of the game. About four minutes later, fellow Orange right winger Melissa Piacentini received a pass behind the Lion defense and broke away to a one-on-one with Paniccia. Piacentini faked a shot to the left and put it in the net on the right side for a 2-0 Syracuse lead.
Paniccia said she sets her mind to refocus after every shot, whether it is by taking a drink of water or skating around the net. She also said abides by the saying, “stay at five,” which means to not get too confident or worried depending on the previous play.
The Lions were able to turn up the offensive pressure in the latter half of the second period, including a breakaway by forward Birdie Shaw, but Drinkwater came up with a save. Drinkwater added a few glove saves to keep the Lions off the scoreboard.
“I was really just trying to stay focused,” Drinkwater said. “That first period, I didn’t really have a lot of shots. Mentally, I just had to keep focused and I just came up with the saves, I guess, every time.
Head coach Josh Brandwene said the second period was the Lions’ best period and it was an even one for the both teams. He also said his group had opportunities to score, but yesterday was a day where those shots did not fall.
The Orange continued their attack and scored another goal over six minutes into the third period. Paniccia was sprawled on the ice after attempting to save the puck and Syracuse center Shiann Darkangelo shot on the exposed net. Paniccia threw her glove in an attempt to block the puck, but she was unable to stop it.
The Orange added a late goal when left winger Holly Carrie-Mattimoe found the back of the net before time ran out.
“Overall, we gave a good effort, but we certainly have a lot to learn moving forward,” Brandwene said.
The Lions look to avoid a sweep by the Orange when the two teams square off again at 2 p.m. on Sunday.