After several tough games, including a tie in overtime, Penn State earned its first win at home with ease on Friday night when it defeated Sacred Heart, 6-0.
The offensive onslaught began during a first period in which the Nittany Lions outshot the Pioneers 22-2. Hannah Hoenshell scored in the game's eighth minute after a scrum in front of the net.
Hoenshell would continue to find the net and earned the program's first ever hat trick early in the third period.
She scored on a breakaway three minutes into the second period, putting a move on the Pioneers' goalie, Alexius Schutt. About seven minutes into the final period of play and with the game out of hand, she scored again to put the Lions up, 6-0.
“[Hoenshell] was terrific. She also had a great week of practice,” head coach Josh Brandwene said.
“Hannah really had a nice balance of patience, discipline with zone entry, and using those moves at the right time and right place, and she got rewarded for it.”
On the opposite end of the ice, Nicole Paniccia essentially had a game off, compared to the 61 shots she faced in the team's previous game. Paniccia saved 11 shots through two periods before Brooke Meyer took over to start the third period.
Meyer, who was the back-up goalie for the Lions after Celine Whitlinger was scratched due to an illness, also played well during her first stint in net. Meyer's seven saves cemented the program's first ever shutout and win at home, which came in front of a home crowd of 231.
“It think [the win is] a big deal, because we've had our fans coming out and it's time that we got a win,” said forward Shannon Yoxheimer, who scored two goals in the game. “We've worked really hard all week, so we deserved it.”
The 66 shots taken by the Lions were the most they have recorded in a game this season by far. The victory was also their first since they defeated the Pioneers on Oct. 20, 6-1.
The two teams will finish their series on Saturday at 2 p.m.