Tourney Time: WIHC Dusts Slippery Rock to Wrap Up Regular Season

A pair of Carly Szyszko goals paced a typically-balanced Penn State effort in support of Katie Vaughan's 19-save shutout, as the Women's Ice Hockey Club bested Slippery Rock 6-0 Friday night in Warrendale, PA.

The victory elevated PSU to 14-2-2 overall in closing the team's second regular season. Within College Hockey East, the WIHC remains a regular season title-winning 8-2-2.

Penn State put the game out of contention early, striking three times in the first period. Tara Soukup got things started less than 5:00 from puck drop by taking it the distance herself, motoring down left wing and chipping around two SRU defenders before going top shelf. Just 2:20 later, and immediately off of a won faceoff subsequent to a Vaughan glove save, Taylor Nyman doubled the advantage racing down ice with Mary Kate Tonetti on a 2-on-1.

Nyman's second goal of the season was followed up by Szyszko, who closed the opening frame with a Soukupian effort - cruising the same area of the ice but, unlike her predecessor, sneaking the puck through low on the short side.

A shallow Slippery Rock team hung tough, clamping down from that point. The home team was buoyed by Amanda Brawley, a defenseman who played between the pipes for the goalie-free Pride. Brawley made 36 stops in defeat and admirably negated the effects of SRU's roster issue.

Penn State continued to come in waves, however, proving too much to overcome. Devon Fisk potted her team-high 13th goal of the season early in the second period by sticking with her own rebound and finally poking through Brawley's five hole. Muliple Fisk attempts led to PSU's fifth, although this time Jackie Saideh was the finisher, tapping home a rebound after Geneva Wagoner set up the play with a feed to the right side of the cage.

Szyszko closed the evening's scoring with 11:56 remaining in the third period by taking an Alex Warren-Caldwell rebound and circling behind the net, emerging to Brawley's left before burying. Warren-Caldwell received an assist on the play, the Massachusetts native's first WIHC point after joining the team over the semester break.

Vaughan registered her second shutout and tenth win of the campaign, doing her best work late in the game on Rock 40 goal scorer Christy Pastucha, as well as on a Kristin Bielewicz shorthanded breakaway near the end of the second period. As a squad, PSU now has six shutouts this season (in addition to holding opponents to a single goal in eight other contests).

Up next, Penn State will travel to York, PA on February 21st and 22nd to compete for the CHE playoff championship. On the first day of the tournament, PSU will face Delaware at 1:45 p.m. A win there would mean advancement to the next day at 3:30 p.m. and a meeting with California or West Chester in the final.

Box Score

First Period
1. Penn State, Tara Soukup (Carly Szyszko), 4:33; 2. Penn State, Mary Kate Tonetti (Taylor Nyman, Ashton Schaffer), 6:53; 3. Penn State, Taylor Nyman (Mary Kate Tonetti), 14:25.
1. Slippery Rock, Lynsey Babcock (2:00 hooking), 6:53.
Second Period
4. Penn State, Devon Fisk (unassisted), 2:07; 5. Penn State, Jackie Saideh (Devon Fisk, Geneva Wagoner), 10:07.
2. Penn State, Tara Soukup (2:00 body checking), 10:58; 3. Slippery Rock, Emily Whiteman (2:00 tripping), 15:13.
Third Period
6. Penn State, Carly Szyszko (Nina Elia, Alex Warren-Caldwell), 5:04.
4. Slippery Rock, Lacey McCuean (2:00 body checking), 0:40.
Penn State: Katie Vaughan: W, 19 saves/19 shots. Slippery Rock: Amanda Brawley: L, 36 saves/42 shots.