No. 2 Liberty Overcomes Late Deficit to Top Lady Ice Lions in Overtime

Cara Mendelson scored twice, including once while shorthanded, in Friday's defeat

Clarissa Tipping's power play shot from the top of the right-wing circle beat Mary Kate Tonetti with 1:27 remaining in overtime, as second-ranked Liberty completed a late rally to top the Lady Ice Lions 6-5 on Friday night in Lynchburg, VA.

With the defeat, Penn State fell to 9-4-0 overall while remaining 6-3-0 in the Eastern Collegiate Women's Hockey League. Independent program Liberty climbed to 13-3-1.

Tipping's goal was the culmination of a sequence of unfortunate events for PSU, which led 5-3 into the last 12 minutes of the third period before the Flames' Catherine Burrell snuck a second-chance opportunity underneath a sprawled Tonetti (who had just completed a spectacular save) from the slot, with Katie Murphy in the box for tripping.

The Lady Ice Lions very nearly held on to the one-goal advantage the rest of the way, surviving a score on a follow-up to a Carrie Jickling shot that was ruled to have been kicked in with 1:01 remaining. A livid LU bench didn't remain so for long though, as less than ten seconds later, with Liberty goalie Samantha Rupp off for an extra skater, and off of an offensive draw, Brittany Hymers blasted clean through to level the score and force overtime.

For Penn State though, the defeat wasn't an overwhelming negative.

Much of the second period saw the Lady Ice Lions keep the powerful Flames on their heels despite two early LU goals, from Hymers and Sarah Fowler, that flipped a 2-1 first-intermission lead into a 3-2 deficit 7:35 into the frame.

PSU responded to Hymers' goal with blunt force trauma: three goals in 1:16

Just 15 seconds after Penn State fell behind, Claire Gauthier knocked home a Katie Murphy shot from in front to tie things back up at 3-3. On the play, Tipping took a slashing penalty, which Devon Fisk converted on a scramble in front caused by Darby Kern's initial shot.

Thirteen seconds after the Fisk goal, Madison Fischer was sent off for tripping, and Cassie Dunne ensured that advantage was a short one as well, burying in front to give her team the ill-fated two goal lead. That bury chased LU starting goalie Kristina Toppazzini in favor of Rupp.

In all, PSU converted twice on the power play in seven attempts. Liberty, meanwhile, connected two times in four tries - including the Burrell goal that made the score 5-4 and Tipping's winner.

One of the Flames' missed opportunities came with a rather large asterisk. After a beautiful Geneva Wagoner to Kern to Cara Mendelson passing play allowed the latter an easy tap-in while unattended in front to open the scoring 4:05 from puck drop, Jickling tied the game from the slot off of a turnover shortly after. Then, late in the period, back-to-back calls to Ashton Schaffer and Kim Badorrek gave Liberty an extended 5-on-3. But PSU not only killed off both penalties, the Lady Ice Lions also took the lead back at 2-1 on a shorthanded goal after Mendelson ripped the puck from Fischer at the Flames line and converted the resulting breakaway.

Penn State will attempt to salvage a split on Saturday afternoon at 2:30 p.m., the team's final game of the fall semester. The ACHA's eleventh-ranked squad then returns to action after the holidays with a home series against Massachusetts on January 10th and 11th.

Box Score

First Period
1. Penn State, Cara Mendelson (Darby Kern), 15:55; 2. Liberty, Carrie Jickling (Catherine Burrell), 14:30; 3. Penn State, Cara Mendelson (unassisted), 3:20 (shorthanded).
1. Penn State, Darby Kern (2:00 tripping), 18:29; 2. Liberty, Sarah Fowler (2:00 slashing), 10:49; 3. Penn State, Ashton Schaffer (2:00 tripping), 5:56; 4. Penn State, Kim Badorrek (2:00 cross checking), 4:37; 5. Liberty, Brittany Hymers (2:00 holding), 0:48.
Second Period
4. Liberty, Courtney Gilmour (Clarissa Tipping), 16:24; 5. Liberty, Brittany Hymers (Sarah Stevenson), 12:25; 6. Penn State, Claire Gauthier (Katie Murphy, Ashton Schaffer), 12:10; 7. Penn State, Devon Fisk (Claire Gauthier, Darby Kern), 11:28 (power play); 8. Penn State, Cassie Dunne (Anna Marcus), 10:54 (power play).
6. Liberty, Madison Fischer (2:00 interference), 19:40; 7. Liberty, Clarissa Tipping (2:00 slashing), 12:10; 8. Liberty, Madison Fischer (2:00 tripping), 11:15; 9. Liberty, Clarissa Tipping (2:00 body checking), 9:34; 10. Liberty, Clarissa Tipping (10:00 misconduct), 9:34.
Third Period
9. Liberty, Catherine Burrell (Jenny MacArthur, Amanda Grainger), 11:15 (power play); 10. Liberty, Brittany Hymers (Clarissa Tipping), 0:52.
11. Liberty, Brittany Hymers (2:00 tripping), 15:52; 12. Penn State, Katie Murphy (2:00 tripping), 11:54.
11. Liberty, Clarissa Tipping (Brittany Hymers), 1:27.
13. Liberty, Clarissa Tipping (2:00 body checking), 3:49; 14. Penn State, Kim Badorrek (2:00 tripping), 1:55.
Penn State: Mary Kate Tonetti: L, 24 saves/30 shots. Liberty: Kristina Toppazzini: 5 saves/10 shots; Samantha Rupp (10:54 2nd): W, 25 saves/25 shots.

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