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.

A slow start, filled with tough breaks and defensive lapses, nearly plagued Penn State Friday night.

In game one of its two-game series against Lindenwood, Penn State found itself down 2-0 after two periods despite leading in shots 31-12.

The Nittany Lions came out attacking in the third period, scoring five goals and walking out of Pegula Ice Arena with a come-from-behind 5-3 victory.

Despite being down 2-0 after 40 minutes of play coach Jeff Kampersal was not worried about his team's performance.

“We had plays on the table in the first and second period and it was a matter of if we they're gonna be alpha,” Kampersal said. “The team decided to come out and do whatever it takes.”

The blue and white got on the board just 58 seconds into the third period when junior forward Julie Gough found the back of the net.

Gough continued her hot streak, notching a goal in her sixth straight contest.

She was recently honored as CHA Forward of the Week and Kampersal was extremely impressed with the play of his forward.

“She went to her spot right in front or off to the side of the net and made things happen,” Kampersal said. “She is a sharpshooter and she really got us going tonight.”

The Nittany Lions went on the power play after Lindenwood took a tripping penalty and the blue and white went right to work.

Senior defender Izzy Heminger threw the puck on net and sophomore Alyssa Machado got her stick on the puck and deflected it past junior goalie Julia Maguire.

Machado’s goal was her third of the season and Heminger, who was playing in her 100th career game, tallied her fourth assist.

Just under a minute later, Penn State took a 3-2 lead as junior defender Mallory Uihlein blasted a shot from the point.

Uihlein has scored many clutch goals for the blue and white this season and fifth-year senior Natalie Heising has been very impressed with her play.

“She's just magical from the point when you give her time and space,” Heising said. “We needed that goal and I am really proud of her for stepping up and putting one into the net.”

MORE HOCKEY COVERAGE

After being shut out for the opening 40 minutes, the Nittany Lions came roaring back and scored three goals in 2:56.

The blue and white kept pouring it on when Kiara Zanon tapped home a short-handed goal on a cross-crease feed from Heising.

The goal was Zanon’s fourth on the campaign, and the first Penn State short-handed goal, while Heising tallied her sixth assist.

The duo has formed great chemistry playing on the same line together for the past two seasons.

“We talked about it on the bench but she didn't even know I was there,” Heising said. “We have been wanting a short-handed goal all season so I'm glad we finally got it.”

Lindenwood made things interesting late when Valerie Caldwell scored with just under six minutes to play.

The Lions threw a multitude of shots on net but sophomore goalie Josie Bothun stood tall preserving the one-goal lead.

Heising added the icing on the cake as she netted an empty-net goal with just 28 seconds left in the game.

The Nittany Lions finished the game outshooting Lindenwood 49-19.

Despite the comeback Kampersal wants his team to play more consistently throughout the game.

“It was a nerve-racking game and I am disappointed we can't start games quicker,” Kampersal said. “Collectively we just need to be hungry, take charge and lead with action.”

When teams have electric comebacks typically people would expect a big locker room speech, but for Penn State, it quite was the opposite.

“I have learned a lot about teams and when not to say something and when to say something and I knew whatever was going to be said would not matter,” Heising said. “I knew whatever I did on the ice would matter and I just wanted to lead by example.”

MORE HOCKEY COVERAGE

If you're interested in submitting a Letter to the Editor, click here.

Alex Rocco is a women's hockey reporter for The Daily Collegian. He is a sophomore studying broadcast journalism.