Survive and Advance: Fisk's Late PPG Boosts Penn State Over Delaware

Devon Fisk's power play goal drove PSU to the CHE championship game

It wasn't easy, but it counts.

Devon Fisk scored on the power play with 4:14 remaining in regulation, Geneva Wagoner offered a pair of points and Katie Vaughan stopped 16 of 17 shots, as Penn State edged Delaware 2-1 in the College Hockey East playoff semifinals Friday afternoon in York, PA.

With the win, the WIHC improved to 15-2-2 overall and advanced to the league title game on Saturday afternoon at 3:30. The team will take on California in that contest, as the Vulcans defeated West Chester 2-0 in the other CHE semifinal. The winner of the PSU-Cal matchup will become the conference's first women's tournament champion. Penn State won the CHE regular season title by a single point over CU, and the teams split the regular season series 2-2.

Back on the opposite rink at the York City Ice Arena, the top-seeded WIHC got on the board first, late in the opening period. The score came on a perfectly-executed offensive faceoff: Wagoner won the draw to Fisk and headed towards the net, Fisk then left the puck for Kim Badorrek, who rifled it towards the net, where Wagoner was able to tip home.

A tough Delaware tried to execute the formula that led to ties against CHE favorites Penn State and California earlier in the season, and nearly pulled it off. Strong goaltending from the Hens' Sarah Ehrlich - who finished with 33 saves - was complemented by steady defense and timely penalty killing throughout most of the affair.

The payoff for keeping PSU within arm's reach came with 3:27 left in the second period on a goal that can fairly be considered controversial. The sequence started with a spectacular Vaughan pad save. The resulting scramble in front then forced the net off and drew a whistle as the puck kicked out to UD's Samantha DiSabatino, who fired into the unmoored cage. After a brief conversation, the officials awarded the tally to tie the game.

Undaunted, the WIHC came out in the third period and continued to pepper Ehrlich, firing 12 shots on goal for a second consecutive frame. The shooting advantage came largely thanks to Carly Szyszko, who drew three Blue Hens penalties over the 17 minutes. The second of those, a hooking call to Katrina Anderson, proved decisive.

It didn't look that way at first. Delaware offered one of its best kills of the afternoon for most of the two minutes, until PSU found offensive life late in the advantage, beginning with a pair of Tara Soukup blasts. Following the second, play refocused around the UD net, where Wagoner was able to find Fisk in the slot for the winner.

With two points in the game, Wagoner re-took the lead in the ACHA Women's Division 2 rookie scoring race - the Millbrook School product's 23 points eclipsing Michigan State's Kate Garrow and her 21.

Following Saturday's CHE championship game, PSU will officially learn its fate with respect to the ACHA National Tournament, which takes place March 13th through 16th in Newark, DE. The WIHC is expected to receive a first or second seed when bids are officially extended in the coming week, with Saturday's showdown with Cal possibly deciding which of the two giants finishes in the top spot.

Box Score

First Period
1. Penn State, Kim Badorrek (Devon Fisk, Geneva Wagoner), 12:06.
1. Delaware, Alexx Good (2:00 interference), 3:26; 2. Delaware, Sarah Berkley (2:00 interference), 8:49.
Second Period
2. Delaware, Samantha DiSabatino (Kelley Philbin), 13:33.
3. Delaware, Katie Smith (2:00 body checking), 5:35.
Third Period
3. Penn State, Devon Fisk (Geneva Wagoner), 12:46 (power play).
4. Delaware, Katie Smith (2:00 tripping), 5:49; 5. Penn State, Mary Kate Tonetti (2:00 tripping), 8:16; 6. Delaware, Katrina Anderson;(2:00 hooking), 11:09; 7. Delaware, Jamie Moelis;(2:00 interference), 13:18.
Penn State: Katie Vaughan: W, 16 saves/17 shots. Delaware: Sarah Ehrlich: L, 33 saves/35 shots.