Penn State Stuns Defending Champ West Chester Again To Complete Sweep

Freshman Lucy Yeatman scored in the second period to chase WCU starting goalie Aly Golia

Assessing expectations when matched up with the defending national champions, a squad also anticipating a strong run at a repeat, is always a little difficult. One school of thought says a team should expect to win each game it plays - although with the understanding that, given the quality of the opponent, it probably won't be very easy to pull off. Another asserts that a series split against a powerhouse of that nature should be treated as a win.

Walking away from things after delivering a pair of three-goal poundings isn't generally considered on the table. But that's exactly what Penn State did Sunday evening at Pegula Ice Arena with a 6-3 victory over West Chester to follow up Saturday night's 3-0 triumph. The highly-successful series pushes PSU's record up to 7-1-0 overall and 3-1-0 in College Hockey East, a mark good for first place in the league. WCU drops to 5-4-0 overall and 2-2-0 in College Hockey East.

The second contest didn't start quite as the score would indicate, as the payback-driven Golden Rams dictated play for the first several minutes - other than when they were interrupted by Elizabeth Denis, who opened the game's scoring, just as she had on Saturday. The latter goal came 2:16 in, and began with the New Hampshire native working the puck to the front of the net, where linemates Lucy Yeatman and Taylor Nyman showed up to help keep the play alive. Denis then picked up the puck on the doorstep and swung it around WCU goalie Aly Golia.

Penn State found its footing by late in the first period, eventually resulting in a Becky Dobson roughing penalty that was punished on the ensuing power play by Carly Szyszko with 26 seconds remaining in the frame. After Szyszko won a battle in the corner to get the puck high to Cassie Dunne at the line, Dunne fired into the crowd fronting Golia, with the captain eventually finishing the play she started on the scramble. Nina Elia and Geneva Wagoner were given the assists on the tally.

Denis helped ensure that the Women's Ice Hockey Club's foot stayed on the gas with a spectacular second period, both for the team (which fired 16 shots on goal in the 17 minutes) and for her individually. Her second goal of the evening came in transition 2:29 in, and just 2:16 later, Denis won an offensive draw that wound up on the stick of Allie Rothman at the line. The senior from West Chester, PA put the puck on in the style of Dunne, and Yeatman was then able to fire home to boost PSU's lead to 4-0. That marker chased Golia, who was named the top netminder at last season's ACHA National Tournament, in favor of freshman Presley Fiorilli.

While Fiorilli would ultimately fare somewhat better than her predecessor, Tara Soukup sizzled a drive to the back of the net with 6:45 left in the period, after Denis retrieved the puck from the corner, to make it 5-0 for the home team.

However, ACHA leading scorer Dobson, after being held in check for the majority of the series, had plenty to say about that commanding edge.

Consecutive minor penalties to standout defenders Ashton Schaffer and Soukup overlapping by just three seconds gave West Chester a long power play, but Dobson ended it early on one of her trademark end-to-end rushes - the first strike against the Penn State defense by the Golden Rams after 82:43 of shutout hockey.

Dobson scored a shorthanded goal in a similar fashion early in the third period during Kirsten Baron's roughing call, then completed a hat trick at even strength with 3:53 remaining in the contest. Fortunately for Penn State, Wagoner's shot into a gaping cage after some spectacular work behind it by Devon Fisk preceded Dobson's third and prevented things from becoming too uncomfortable before the final horn.

Katie Vaughan stopped 20 of 23 shots on the PSU goal during the game and 37 of 40 over the course of the weekend, against a team that came in averaging more than six goals per game.

Up next, the WIHC will travel to Delaware for another CHE series this coming Saturday and Sunday before returning to Pegula Ice Arena on November 22nd to face non-conference opponent Slippery Rock. Additionally, Sunday is the cutoff date for the season's first ACHA Women's Division 2 coaches poll, one now expected to be quite kind to Penn State.

Box Score

First Period
1. Penn State, Elizabeth Denis (Lucy Yeatman, Taylor Nyman), 2:16; 2. Penn State, Carly Szyszko (Nina Elia, Geneva Wagoner), 16:34 (power play).
1. Penn State, Geneva Wagoner (2:00 body checking), 7:34; 2. West Chester, Becky Dobson (2:00 roughing), 15:04.
Second Period
3. Penn State, Tara Soukup (unassisted), 2:29; 4. Penn State, Lucy Yeatman (Allie Rothman), 4:45; 5. Penn State, Elizabeth Denis (unassisted), 10:15; 6. West Chester, Becky Dobson (Colleen Elvin, Presley Fiorilli), 14:43 (power play).
3. Penn State, Jackie Saideh (2:00 high sticking), 7:39; 4. Penn State, Ashton Schaffer (2:00 holding), 11:31; 5. Penn State, Tara Soukup (2:00 slashing), 13:28.
Third Period
7. West Chester, Becky Dobson (unassisted), 2:40 (shorthanded); 8. Penn State, Geneva Wagoner (Devon Fisk), 10:57; 9. West Chester, Becky Dobson (unassisted), 13:07.
6. West Chester, Kirsten Baron (2:00 interference), 1:48; 7. Penn State, Taylor Nyman (2:00 elbowing), 13:42.
Penn State: Katie Vaughan: W, 20 saves/23 shots. West Chester: Aly Golia: L, 6 saves/10 shots; Presley Fiorilli (4:45 2nd): 15 saves/17 shots.