Kern, Tonetti Lead Charge as Penn State Shuts Out Vermont in Opener

Mary Kate Tonetti now has a 162-minute shutout streak

Every season, for every team, in every sport, at every level, opens with unanswered questions: What can we expect from our new players? How much will we miss the old ones? And, of course, for the Penn State Lady Ice Lions this season, how will all of the returning players fare in the more rigorous battles of ACHA Division 1 and one of the nation's toughest conferences after a pair of seasons in Division 2? All of those questions, of course, point back to that most fundamental of sports queries in one way or another: Are we good?

So far, so good.

Junior forward Darby Kern scored a pair of goals in her first game with the team and sophomore defenseman Cassie Dunne added another in support of Mary Kate Tonetti's shutout, as Penn State (1-0-0, 1-0-0 ECWHL) defeated Vermont (0-1-0, 0-1-0 ECWHL) 3-0 in its season and era opener Saturday night in Burlington, VT.

The Lady Ice Lions were dominant throughout the evening, although they had nothing to show for their efforts after a scoreless first period. But, as so often happens in hockey, the contest was decided with a quick burst.

Kern got things started midway through the frame by testing the left side of the Catamounts' zone. She was closed down, but managed to get the puck to Devon Fisk to probe the opposite side. The ice there was a bit more easily gained, so the junior All-American held possession, circled behind the net, and finally found Dunne stepping into the middle to fire home.

Almost exactly four minutes later, senior defenseman Cara Mendelson found Kern streaking through the neutral zone with a lasered stretch pass, and the native of Venetia, PA deposited past Vermont goalie Audrey Currier for a 2-0 lead. Kern added an empty-net goal with three seconds remaining in the game for the final margin.

Tonetti, who of course spent most of the last two seasons playing forward to alleviate depth concerns, has now played in three contests, spanning 162 minutes, as a Lady Ice Lions netminder. She has yet to allow a goal.

The senior club president was tested most heavily during the third period, with the score a safe-but-not-too-much-so 2-0, as Penn State took three consecutive penalties (the only three by either team in the match). She held, however, even with Currier pulled for an extra attacker over the second half of the last kill, a checking call to Sam Siciliano with three minutes left in the final stanza.

PSU will return to the Gutterson Fieldhouse ice Sunday afternoon at 1:30 to look for a sweep of the Catamounts before returning to Pegula Ice Arena for the first home series of the campaign, versus Delaware on October 4th and 5th.

Box Score

First Period
Second Period
1. Penn State, Cassie Dunne (Darby Kern, Devon Fisk), 11:48; 2. Penn State, Darby Kern (Cara Mendelson), 7:51.
Third Period
3. Darby Kern (unassisted), 0:03 (empty net).
1. Penn State, Sam Siciliano (2:00 holding), 13:48; 2. Penn State, Anna Marcus (2:00 hooking), 5:53; 3. Penn State, Sam Siciliano (2:00 body checking), 3:00.
Penn State: Mary Kate Tonetti: W. Vermont: Audrey Currier (58:00): L.

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