Rising senior Jenna Brenneman is coming off of the best statistical season of her career.
With two younger goalies on the roster and no new additions in the latest recruiting class, Brenneman will likely retain her starting role in the 2019-2020 season for Penn State.
Last season, Brenneman played in 34 games, while her counterpart goaltenders, sophomore Cam Leonard and junior Chantal Burke, played less than six games combined.
Brenneman’s stats exceed both Leonard and Burke’s stats in every category.
While Brenneman allowed 59 goals last season, she also played almost seven times the amount of games Leonard and Burke played. Even then, Brenneman’s save percentage was better than both the other goaltenders.
Brenneman let in 1.74 goals per game. Leonard allowed 2.59 goals per game in four games, and Burke averaged 4.62 goals allowed per game after playing one game the entire season.
Brenneman finished the 2018-2019 season with a save percentage of .927 after facing 747 shots. Leonard’s save percentage was the next closest; she finished the season with a .871 save percentage after facing 27 shots. Burke had the lowest save percentage of the three. She ended the season with a .828 save percentage on 24 shots.
Brenneman was also the only goalie on the team to have a shut out the whole season. In fact, she had four throughout the year.
Besides her statistics, Brenneman’s experience and playing style also gives her an advantage over her fellow goalies.
Like a fingerprint, every goalie plays the game a different way. While they may be similar in some aspects, they are unique, overall.
Looking at last season, Brenneman’s playing style can be best described as, smart, effective and methodical.
For example, take Penn State’s game against Mercyhurst on February 15. In a video posted on Twitter, Brenneman’s excellent reaction time is portrayed as she is rushed in a two on three play.
Her defensemen attempt to break up the play, and partially do, after interfering with a cross-ice pass from the right face-off circle to the low slot, but ultimately Mercyhurst gets a backhand shot off.
While Brenneman is slow moving across the crease and mistimes the position of the shooter, she does an excellent job at recovering while being out of position.
With a quick left pad toe save, Brenneman is able to stop the shot and recover the rebound. After the save, she quickly stops the play by locating the puck and freezing it while on her stomach.
In dissecting more of her play from last season, Brenneman’s positional awareness jumped out — even if her quickness didn’t.
Additionally, she was keen on where the puck was going despite what team was in possession of it and looked as if she knew what they were planning to do with it.
Brenneman’s alertness of her position in net and understanding of the game are the key differentiators between her and the other goaltenders on the team.
Because of her ability to execute and deliver in net, along with her mental awareness and strategy, Brenneman was the go-to goalie for coach Jeff Kampersal in the 2018-2019 season, and will likely be the goalie he looks to again this season.