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Penn State One Shy of Cal

Junior Ashton Schaffer led a good outing by the Penn State defense Friday night

Although the Women's Ice Hockey Club is just in its second season, a common theme has emerged in its matchups with California (PA): tight, defensive contests where the first team to dent twine has a pretty good chance of coming away with the win.

That formula held true once again in Friday night's tilt between the two title contenders, as Kelsey DeNardo's third period goal served as the only scoring in a 1-0 win for the Vulcans at the Rostraver Ice Garden in Belle Vernon, PA. With the victory, Cal boosted its record to 3-0-0 (1-0-0 College Hockey East) while dropping Penn State to 2-1-0 (0-0-1 College Hockey East).

DeNardo's tally came with 7:33 remaining, on a back-door rebound set up by Melissa Heisler immediately after an icing call against PSU.

For the 43 minutes and 27 seconds prior to that, there was nothing - literally - between the black and white sides. The opening 17 minutes of that stretch featured a clinic in defensive play from WIHC blueliners Cassie Dunne, Tara Soukup, Ashton Schaffer and Allie Rothman, who allowed only a pair of Cal shots to reach senior goaltender Katie Vaughan.

Vaughan became increasingly important as the game subsequently opened up, however, making nine saves in the second period and eight more in the third. She was particularly stout over the second half of that middle frame, when consecutive penalties to Rothman and Soukup gave the Vulcans 3:58 of uninterrupted power play time. Thanks to help from penalty killers like Devon Fisk and Carly Szyszko, Vaughan managed to make several clutch stops to keep the game scoreless.

PSU had its own chance on the advantage shortly after that when Mary Kate Tonetti's strong effort in trying to get the puck deep into the offensive corner drew a checking call to Cal's Michelle Daley, but goalie Maria Sciacca (who wound up with a 17-save shutout) stymied the blue and white over the two minutes.

The Lions and Vulcans will face off once again on Saturday afternoon at 4:30 p.m., as Penn State looks to split the series and collect a first conference win.

Box Score


First Period
Scoring
None.
Penalties
None.
Second Period
Scoring
None.
Penalties
1. Penn State, Allie Rothman (2:00 hooking), 8:26; 2. Penn State, Tara Soukup (2:00 checking from behind), 10:24; 3. California, Michelle Daley (2:00 body checking).
Third Period
Scoring
1. California, Kelsey DeNardo (Melissa Heisler), 9:27.
Penalties
None.
Goaltending
Penn State: Katie Vaughan (49:39): L, 19 saves/20 shots. California: Maria Sciacca: W, 17 saves/17 shots.