Penn State went for the sweep in their first series of the season against Robert Morris, and got off to a hot start doing so.
The Nittany Lions defeated the Colonials 4-1 in the second contest of a two-game series in Moon Township, Pennsylvania, to improve to 6-1-1 on the season.
Freshman forward Maeve Connolly scored her second goal of the season to give Penn State the lead eight minutes into the first period.
Junior defender Jessica Adolfsson continued the offense with a score from the point just 32 seconds into the second period to give Penn State a 2-0 lead.
The lead was cut in half two minutes later, however, by Robert Morris’ Wasyn Rice, who captured a bouncing puck and shot it past freshman goalie Josie Bothun.
Adolfsson would restore the two-goal lead with a similar shot on a two-man advantage midway through the second period.
Freshman forward Kiara Zanon rounded out the scoring for the Nittany Lions with an empty-net goal in the waning seconds of the third period.
Penn State coach Jeff Kampersal’s squad finished with 41 total shots and tallied 15 blocked shots on the other side of the ice.
Here are the biggest takeaways from the Nittany Lions’ second game of 2021.
Penn State continues to excel in transition
The Nittany Lions’ breakouts worked seamlessly, creating problems for the Colonial defense.
While the Nittany Lions did not score any goals off the rush, they had multiple odd-man opportunities — leading to extended zone time and quality shots on Robert Morris goalie Arielle Desmet.
Penn State exited their defensive zone with speed, often catching the Colonials off guard through the neutral zone.
This created the first goal, where the Nittany Lions benefitted from fatigued penalty killers and ultimately capitalized when Connolly scored from the slot.
Josie Bothun stands tough, again
Penn State freshman goaltender Josie Bothun did not show any signs of fatigue after yesterday’s game, making her eighth consecutive start.
Bothun was tested early, facing ten shots in the first period and turning them all away, including high-quality chances during a Robert Morris power play.
The Wyoming, Minnesota, native stood tall after the Colonials halved the score, facing a couple of odd-man rushes and turning them both away.
Bothun did not allow any dangerous rebounds and was well positioned to stop whatever the Colonials could offer.
A first-year starter between the pipes for coach Jeff Kampersal, Bothun finished with 25 saves and just one goal allowed.
Faceoff wins leading to shots, goals
After losing the first two faceoffs of the opening frame, the Nittany Lions controlled crucial offensive and defensive zone faceoffs for the rest of the affair.
This led to two Penn State goals in the second period, as the blue-and-white were able to set up their offensive zone structure to force the Colonials to stay on the ice longer in the period of the long change.
The Nittany Lions were eventually able to draw two penalties in a short span, capitalizing on their opponents extended time on ice.
While Penn State totaled 22 faceoff wins on 56 attempts, the team was efficient and made the most of its transition opportunities.
Adolfsson made herself open to receive the puck, and scored two goals by shooting from the high slot into traffic in front of the net.
Penn State was able to set up its transition game after winning key draws in the defensive zone, leading to higher-quality chances in the offensive zone.
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