Penn State (4-6-1, 0-4-1 CHA) and Robert Morris (4-2-1, 1-0-0 CHA) were evenly matched for the first 10 minutes of the first period until they suffered a Colonial offensive onslaught that ultimately downed the Nittany Lions, 7-1.
Halfway into the first period, goalie Nicole Paniccia could not corral the puck in a scrum in front of the net and Colonial center Rebecca Vint pushed it through Paniccia’s legs for the first score of the game.
Less than five minutes later, the Lions found themselves down 4-0 and Vint had already picked up a hat trick for the game.
Head coach Josh Brandwene described the contest as a tale of two chapters. The first chapter was the first ten minutes of the game where he felt the Lions played some of their best hockey of the year, but second chapter was not what he wanted to see.
“They came out of the locker room well prepared, fired up [and with] great execution with our game plan and we had a great rhythm through that first ten minutes,” Brandwene said. “Then, we got away from what we were doing and for the next 50 minutes, it was a monumental struggle for us.”
The Lions were able to hold off the Colonials in the second period until left winger Thea Imbrogno shot a cross-ice pass into an exposed net.
Forward Shannon Yoxheimer provided a brief bright spot for the Lions when she extended her scoring streak to seven games. Yoxheimer shot the puck from the circle after forward Taylor Gross won a faceoff and it trickled past Colonial goalie Kristen DiCiocco.
However, Robert Morris answered less than two minutes later when Vint notched her fourth goal of the game during a 5-on-3 advantage for the Colonials Vint said it was important to answer quickly to keep Penn State out of the game before heading into the locker room for the second intermission.
“If they got back in the game, we could get down, they could keep scoring,” Vint said. “You never know. Any flukey goal could go in just like for us. A lot of it’s important to just make sure that you don’t let their momentum get up.”
Vint polished off her day by adding her fifth goal in the third period before the buzzer sounded. The score more than doubled Vint’s goal total of two coming into the game.
Vint said she did not do anything special to score the five goals because she happened to be in the right spot at the right time. Vint credited her teammates for doing most of the work.
Yoxheimer said the team can take away the lesson to not watch the scoreboard because it can mess with the player’s minds.
Yoxheimer also said the team stopped doing the little things right like cheering for puck clears after Robert Morris scored, but she said that the first couple of minutes in Friday’s game gives the Lions hope for their rematch on Sunday.
“We can take away that getting down on yourselves really doesn’t help anything,” Yoxheimer said. “We know that we can with them because the first seven minutes, we were playing with them.”