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Penn State women's hockey power play breaks through in win over Holy Cross

Women’s Hockey vs Mercyhurst, Heising (20) shooting the puck

Forward Natalie Heising (20) shoots puck during the women’s hockey game against Mercyhurst at Pegula Ice Arena on Friday, Feb. 28, 2020. Mercyhurst defeated Penn State 3-0.

During Penn State’s 6-2 victory over Holy Cross, the Nittany Lions power play was finally able to find success.

This newfound success comes after a five-game stretch to start the season in which the blue and white struggled to get anything going with its opponents on the penalty kill.

Of the Nittany Lions six goals on Saturday, half of them came on the power play, as there were eight total opportunities with a man advantage.

The first power-play goal was scored by junior Julie Gough, who found the back of the net in the second period for the first time this season.

Fifth-year senior Natalie Heising, who earlier in the contest notched her 100th-career point, later converted on another power-play chance, as she struck for her second goal of the game toward the end of the second period.

The third power-play goal came from the stick of junior Mallory Uihlein, who scored her second goal of the season with less than a minute to go in the game.

Penn State coach Jeff Kampersal had mentioned how it was not only great to get the power play going, but to do so with different players on those units.

“We had different players that aren't normally on it,” Kampersal said. “Getting good looks, someone like Karley Garcia, does a good job of finding sticks or fighting seams as well.”

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Prior to Saturday’s win, the blue and white were scoreless on 19 power-play opportunities, which was a big reason why the team had lost three of its first four games by one goal.

That rough stretch on the power play was evident during the Nittany Lions 2020-21 season as well.

Penn State finished its season after only posting eight goals on 66 chances, which only amounted to a 12% success rate with the player advantage.

That streak finally came to an end for the Nittany Lions, and it was one that the team desperately needed to stop according to captain Natalie Heising.

“We needed that,” Heising said. “We've been frustrated with our power play lately, but finally, getting both groups going was a good feeling. They weren't beautiful goals, but we put it in so that's all that matters.”

Contrary to the power-play unit, the penalty-kill unit has gotten off to a great start to open up the season, as opposing teams have only scored two goals on 21 power-play opportunities through the first six games of the year.

One of those goals came in Saturday’s game against Holy Cross, as the Nittany Lions allowed one power-play goal on ten attempts.

Both teams had struggled to keep a clean sheet in the game as they combined for 18 penalties.

According to Gough, the Nittany Lions had been working on their power play a good amount during the last week in practices.

“We've been focusing on our power play a lot so it feels nice to see our more prominent line in the games,” Gough said.

The blue and white will have plenty of time to work on continuing that power play success as it will enjoy a week off before traveling to take on Brown University.

The series will be played on Oct. 23-24, with both games getting underway at 2 p.m.

That series will kickstart a four-game road stretch for the Nittany Lions, as they play both Brown University, and a conference opponent in Mercyhurst University, away from Pegula Ice Arena.

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