Penn State Completes Sweep of Michigan State, Improves to 5-1-0

Carly Szyszko's hat trick helped Penn State complete a sweep of Michigan State on Sunday morning

Senior captain Carly Szyszko scored her first goal of the season - and her second, and her third - while freshmen Lucy Yeatman and Geneva Wagoner also tallied to propel the Women's Ice Hockey Club to a 5-3 win over Michigan State on Sunday morning to complete a sweep of the Spartans. With the victory, Penn State improved to 5-1-0 in 2013-14.

Much like the first triumph however, recovery from an early deficit was required.

Perhaps sensing that the power play was the way to a W after observing Penn State's two-goal performance on the advantage Saturday night, the Spartans stuck first with Geneva Wagoner off on a hooking minor. Samantha Stefani, who was in the box herself for both of PSU's PPGs in the front half of the series, started the play with a blast from left point, and Kate Garrow finished it by curling the subsequent rebound around goalie Sarah Eisenhut.

Fortunately, the reply from the WIHC was swift and decisive. Just 1:19 after Garrow's tally, Yeatman scored her first career goal on a third-chancer from Taylor Nyman and Ashton Schaffer, on a sequence started by Elizabeth Denis' effort on the forecheck. And less than three minutes after Yeatman's goal, Szyszko banged home a lead changer from the post to the left of MSU goalie Hannah Johnson, after Nina Elia's strong work to win the puck behind the net.

Szyszko began the second period where she left off the first, by scoring goals, as she shuffleboarded a puck through Johnson's five hole off of a turnover generated by Elia just 1:10 in. PSU looked for more when Stefani once again headed to the box shortly after that, but the Spartans turned the existing formula on its ear when Dana Ovsjannikova was set free on a shorthanded one-on-one by Breana Kraut and deposited the 3-2 marker after a nice inside-out move (the goal was technically at even strength, as it happened one second after Stefani returned to the ice).

As in the opening frame, Penn State handled the setback beautifully. This time, the reply took a bit longer, roughly five minutes, but was equally effective as a Wagoner shot from the left wing circle changed up Johnson and restored PSU's two-goal advantage. MSU managed to stick around though, as a miscommunication behind Eisenhut led to a Garrow wraparound goal with just seven seconds remaining in the stanza to trim the lead to 4-3 after 34 minutes.

One emerging characteristic of this year's Penn State squad is the ability to shake off sloppiness and clamp down on leads late in games. That trait held once again on Sunday morning as PSU managed to keep its zone relatively clean for the first 14 minutes of the third period while clinging to the slimmest of advantages. Even so, heavy drama was injected late in the proceedings when Allie Rothman was sent off on a rather soft body checking call with 3:04 remaining. The ensuing two-minute block had its moments but ended with a successful kill, and Szyszko locked down the result by completing her hat trick into an empty net with seven seconds left.

With the win, Eisenhut remained unbeaten at 2-0-0 on the season, and 3-0-1 including 2012-13.

The WIHC will have the next two weekends off before returning to action in a titanic home series against defending national champion and archrival West Chester on November 9th and 10th.

Box Score

First Period
1. Michigan State, Kate Garrow (Samantha Stefani), 5:38 (power play); 2. Penn State, Lucy Yeatman (Taylor Nyman, Ashton Schaffer), 6:57; 3. Penn State, Carly Szyszko (Nina Elia), 9:46.
1. Penn State, Geneva Wagoner (2:00 hooking), 5:23.
Second Period
4. Penn State, Carly Szyszko (Nina Elia), 1:10; 5. Michigan State, Dana Ovsjannikova (Breana Kraut), 5:57; 6. Penn State, Geneva Wagoner (unassisted), 11:20; 7. Michigan State, Kate Garrow (unassisted), 16:53.
2. Michigan State, Samantha Stefani (2:00 boarding), 3:56.
Third Period
8. Penn State, Carly Szyszko (unassisted), 16:53 (empty net).
3. Penn State, Allie Rothman (2:00 body checking), 13:56.
Penn State: Sarah Eisenhut: W, 16 saves/19 shots. Michigan State: Hannah Johnson (49:57): L, 20 saves/24 shots.