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Dunne, Szyszko Lead Balanced Attack, Penn State Bests Slippery Rock

Cassie Dunne recorded points on Penn State's first three goals Friday night

In several ways, the Women's Ice Hockey Club's Friday night non-conference matchup with Slippery Rock at Pegula Ice Arena presented as a trap. It followed a string of six crucial College Hockey East contests over six weeks, it was a standalone final game before the university's Thanksgiving break, and it was against a much-improved SRU outfit that Penn State defeated 8-0 last season. Furthermore, PSU was without key forwards Devon Fisk (who scored four times in the 2012-13 romp) and Lucy Yeatman while also riding the potentially dangerous good feelings of being voted the East Region's top ranked squad earlier on Friday.

Freshman defender Cassie Dunne and senior forward Carly Szyszko had no intention of falling into the trap however, as their exploits helped stake PSU to a 5-0 first-period lead en route to a 7-2 victory. With the win, the WIHC improved to 9-1-1 overall while remaining 4-1-1 in CHE games.

Dunne got the scoring started less than four minutes after puck drop on Penn State's first shot of the evening, taking Szyszko's feed and depositing the puck from the slot. It was the first collegiate goal for the standout rookie from Wyndmoor, PA.

The pair reversed roles for the following two goals, as Szyszko made it 2-0 from a tight angle while streaking down left wing after receiving from Dunne. With 8:06 remaining in the opening period, the captain scored again - this time with a silky move to the backhand in front to work around SRU goalie May Prohaska, after Jackie Saideh's puck battle win along the wall allowed Dunne to work it low from just inside the line.

From there, others added fuel to the fire. Mary Kate Tonetti scored the fourth blue-and-white goal during a delayed penalty (the only one called in the game, as it would turn out) after Elizabeth Denis powered through the illegal obstruction down right wing and managed to pass into the middle of the ice. Ashton Schaffer's first goal of the season made it 5-0 into the break, as she rifled one through from high in the zone to cash in Taylor Nyman's offensive faceoff win.

A resilient Slippery Rock attempted to chip away at the lead during the second period. Star forward Christy Pastucha got her team on the board early by pushing her second hack at a Lacey Allis rebound through Katie Vaughan and into the Penn State cage. Kristin Bielewicz's unassisted marker in transition came during the opposite end of the frame.

However, the tandem of Tara Soukup and Anna Marcus saw to it that the Rock comeback try never gained much momentum. Following Pastucha's goal, Soukup restored the margin to five at 6-1 with a blast through a Kim Badorrek screen and assisted by Marcus' pass from the wall. Three minutes later, Soukup set up Marcus for PSU's final score of the evening.

With an eight-game unbeaten streak in hand, the WIHC will have next weekend off before returning to action with a semester-closing series against Delaware on December 7th and 8th. The front half of the series begins at 9:00 p.m. in Pegula Ice Arena's varsity rink, while the following day's rematch will be in Altoona's Galactic Ice Rink at 11:30 a.m.

Box Score


First Period
Scoring
1. Penn State, Cassie Dunne (Carly Szyszko, Nina Elia), 3:38; 2. Penn State, Carly Szyszko (Cassie Dunne, Allie Rothman), 6:43; 3. Penn State, Carly Szyszko (Cassie Dunne), 8:54; 4. Penn State, Mary Kate Tonetti (Elizabeth Denis), 11:42; 5. Penn State, Ashton Schaffer (Taylor Nyman), 14:03.
Penalties
None.
Second Period
Scoring
6. Slippery Rock, Christy Pastucha (Lacey Allis, Lacey McCuean), 2:56; 7. Penn State, Tara Soukup (Anna Marcus), 8:15; 8. Penn State, Anna Marcus (Tara Soukup), 11:07; 9. Slippery Rock, Kristin Bielewicz (unassisted), 14:26.
Penalties
None.
Third Period
Scoring
None.
Penalties
None.
Goaltending
Penn State: Katie Vaughan: W, 24 saves/26 shots. Slippery Rock: May Prohaska: L, 32 saves/39 shots.