Seed Planted: WIHC Tops NDSU, Finishes With Perfect Pool A Mark

Anna Marcus scored twice in Saturday night's victory

The Women's Ice Hockey Club ended pool play at the 2013 ACHA National Tournament in style in Newark, DE: by battering west top seed North Dakota State 5-2 and closing the round with a spotless 3-0-0 mark, part of an 18-3-2 overall record.

PSU will now head to Saturday's 11:00 a.m. semifinal game, where College Hockey East archrival California awaits. Iowa State will play NDSU on the opposite side of the bracket.

Much of Friday night's affair was reminiscent of a contest at last year's national championship tournament. Then, as on Friday, Penn State and North Dakota State met in the final game of the group stage - a third contest for each in two days - with both teams locked into their fates relative to the semifinals (in this case, both squads had already secured advancement).

For two periods, the resulting flow of the new matchup remained a reasonable copy of the original as the WIHC and Bison traded frequent shots and goals.

Penn State got on the board first through Devon Fisk. The sophomore, who was named Second Team All-American just prior to puck drop, deposited the behind-the-net carom of a Tara Soukup shot into a gaping cage, past fooled NDSU goalie Jordan Salwei. As the script dictated though, North Dakota State answered quickly, as Maria Piette fired through from the high slot five minutes later and while Ashton Schaffer occupied the box on a hooking call.

Allie Rothman returned the lead to PSU (for good, as it turned out) early in the second period by taking a pass from Jackie Saideh and pumping a drive through the Massachusetts native's subsequent screen.

Another quick tally exchange closed the frame. Again the WIHC went first, as Nina Elia intercepted in the defensive zone and worked it ahead to Alex Warren-Caldwell. Warren-Caldwell sped down right wing, eventually locating Anna Marcus in the slot, where the freshman sniper patiently finished. The Bison reply came after just 54 seconds, as Kate Fredrickson scored on a Kacie Johnson setup off a turnover.

Other than the assist, however, Johnson - named the division's Zoe M. Harris Award winner as player of the year before the game - was held in check by Vaughan, who closed with 35 saves, and a stellar team defensive effort. While the 44-goal scorer (including seven in the tournament) was often dangerous, she was hung with a personal bagel for just the fourth time all season.

Late in the third period, the game finally broke the trend set by last tournament's draw as PSU pulled away for the victory.

Mary Kate Tonetti started a chain of positive events, drawing a hooking call to Ellen Lanman with her hard work in the corner. During the delayed penalty, Fisk was able to find Schaffer in the middle of the ice, and the junior assistant captain launched a shot past Salwei for her second goal of the season. On the ensuing power play, Marcus collected her second of the game, assisted by Soukup and Rothman. In all, Soukup has six points in three tournament games, while Fisk's goal and assist place her at five.

Box Score

First Period
1. Penn State, Devon Fisk (Mary Kate Tonetti, Tara Soukup), 6:40; 2. North Dakota State, Maria Piette (unassisted), 11:34 (power play).
1. Penn State, Ashton Schaffer (2:00 hooking), 9:55.
Second Period
3. Penn State, Allie Rothman (Jackie Saideh), 1:33; 4. Penn State, Anna Marcus (Nina Elia, Alex Warren-Caldwell), 13:01; 5. North Dakota State, Kate Fredrickson (Kacie Johnson), 13:55.
2. North Dakota State, Kate Fredrickson (2:00 tripping), 2:46.
Third Period
6. Penn State, Ashton Schaffer (Devon Fisk), 13:32; 7. Penn State, Anna Marcus (Tara Soukup, Allie Rothman), 14:32 (power play).
3. Penn State, Ashton Schaffer (2:00 roughing), 3:52; 4. North Dakota State, Ellen Lanman (2:00 hooking), 13:32.
Penn State: Katie Vaughan: W, 35 saves/37 shots. North Dakota State: Jordan Salwei: L, 21 saves/26 shots.