Rookies Lead Charge as Lady Ice Lions Batter Slippery Rock, 15-3

Tarika Embar scored her first two Penn State goals Friday night

Some hockey games, especially ones ending with scores like 15-3, are entirely forgettable and devoid of significance. This was not one of them, however.

No fewer than three Lady Ice Lions - Tarika Embar, Emma Embar and Hannah Dier - scored their first collegiate goals, while goaltenders Sumire Clevenger and Allyssa Long saw their first action with the team, as Penn State shredded Slippery Rock Friday night in Pegula Ice Arena.

PSU climbed to 7-3-0 overall with the win, while SRU dropped to 3-5-0. Both squads retained their conference records of 4-3-0 and 3-3-0, respectively.

The home team wasted little time firing up the offense, as Katie Murphy sniped from the right circle, fed by Darby Kern, just 2:26 into the contest. Murphy added a second, with another Kern assist, 3:28 later. In between those tallies, Riley O'Connor scored twice, both resulting from takeaways and initial shots by linemate Claire Gauthier.

Cara Mendelson made the score 5-0 on one of her trademark rushes, snaking through the defense and fooling SRU tendy Gabrielle Reed.

Then the real fun got started.

Tarika Embar went next, notching PSU's sixth score with five minutes remaining in the first period and the first of the Pittsburgh native's career, set up by a Tara Soukup pass. Embar wouldn't wait long for her second, firing iron and in from the slot to make the score 10-1 in the middle period after Kern left the puck for her.

Between those two Tarika strikes, sister Emma also got in on the parade, powering a shot past Reed from the left wing circle off of a Mendelson helper for her first PSU goal and point. Kern and Madison Smiddy also added ginos, one late in the first and the other early in the second, to bulge the Lady Ice Lion advantage to nine midway through the game.

Dier became the third Penn Stater to score a first goal Friday night, as the sophomore from New Jersey took the puck down low in traffic from Geneva Wagoner and pushed it through.

Blasts from Kim Badorrek and Soukup (on the power play) - their firsts of the season, although certainly not the firsts of their careers - followed by Murphy completing a hat trick and a shorthanded effort by Kern closed out the PSU scoring.

On the other bench, Kristin Bielewicz was the lone bright spot for Slippery Rock, as she put in all three Rock goals. Generally, they served only as window dressing: the first, a drive from just inside the PSU line, didn't come until the scoreboard already read 5-0, and the SRU reprieve only lasted 17 seconds before Tarika Embar answered.

It was a historic game for the Lady Ice Lions on a few different fronts, including:
  • The aforementioned first career goals for both Embar sisters and Dier
  • The first career appearance in for Long, who made 14 saves on 16 shots over 28:46 of crease time
  • Junior Clevenger's first appearance for the Lady Ice Lions (she previously played with Penn State Brandywine's ACHA Division 3 men's team). In 31:14, the Strath Haven High School product stopped four of five shots faced to pick up her first career win
  • Penn State shattered its team record for most goals scored, which previously stood at nine (accomplished twice, most recently against Navy on November 2nd)
  • The 12-goal margin of victory is also a new team high, besting the nine-goal spread from that November 2nd Navy game
  • By collecting seven goals in the first period, PSU topped its previous mark of five, set most recently in the first period against Slippery Rock on November 22, 2013
  • Kern's third-period shorthanded goal to close the game's scoring was the first such marker in team history - Taylor Gross had the last two shorties by an ACHA women's player at Penn State with the Lady Icers program in 2011-12
It's undocumented, yet likely, that the match also broke the Lady Ice Lions' record for most records or firsts established in one evening.

Next weekend, Penn State will head to Boston and historic Matthews Arena to take on ECWHL rival Northeastern. Puck drops are at 9:30 p.m. on Friday, November 21st and 8:00 a.m. on Saturday, November 22nd. The team will then get the weekend after Thanksgiving off before closing the fall semester at Liberty on December 5th and 6th.

Box Score

First Period
1. Penn State, Katie Murphy (Darby Kern), 17:34; 2. Penn State, Riley O'Connor (Claire Gauthier), 15:13; 3. Penn State, Riley O'Connor (Claire Gauthier), 14:17; 4. Penn State, Katie Murphy (Darby Kern), 14:06; 5. Penn State, Cara Mendelson (unassisted), 6:50; 6. Slippery Rock, Kristin Bielewicz (unassisted), 5:19; 7. Penn State, Tarika Embar (Tara Soukup), 5:02; 8. Penn State, Darby Kern (Madison Smiddy), 2:59.
1. Penn State, Madison Smiddy (2:00 interference), 9:32.
Second Period
9. Penn State, Madison Smiddy (Devon Fisk), 17:49; 10. Penn State, Emma Embar (Cara Mendelson), 14:06; 11. Penn State, Tarika Embar (Darby Kern), 8:46; 12. Penn State, Hannah Dier (Geneva Wagoner), 6:35; 13. Penn State, Kim Badorrek (unassisted), 5:29.
Third Period
14. Slippery Rock, Kristin Bielewicz (Kelly Sheridan), 18:15 (power play); 15. Slippery Rock, Kristin Bielewicz (Chelsea Heath), 12:04; 16. Penn State, Tara Soukup (Taylor Nyman, Geneva Wagoner), 10:10 (power play); 17. Penn State, Katie Murphy (unassisted), 8:12; 18. Penn State, Darby Kern (unassisted), 5:26 (shorthanded).
2. Penn State, Ashton Schaffer (2:00 hooking), 19:02; 3. Slippery Rock, Morgan Jones (2:00 body checking), 10:47; 4. Penn State, Taylor Nyman (2:00 tripping), 5:42; 5. Slippery Rock, Lacey McCuean (2:00 interference), 3:07.
Penn State: Sumire Clevenger (31:14): W, 4 saves/5 shots; Allyssa Long (28:46): 14 saves/16 shots. Slippery Rock: Gabrielle Reed: L, 24 saves/39 shots.

Penn State Lady Ice Lions: Twitter | Facebook | Instagram