Penn State Drops 4-3 Decision Sunday, as UMass Turns Overtime Tables

Claire Gauthier scored her third and fourth goals of the season on Sunday

On Sunday afternoon, the Lady Ice Lions were 19.8 seconds from skating away from an unqualified success of a series against fifth-ranked Massachusetts with a tie, to follow up Saturday night's win.

However, UMass freshman Amy Morin flipped the script on Penn State, popping a transitional centering feed from Alyx Rivard past Aimee Little to give the Minutewomen an 4-3 overtime win to match PSU's series-opening victory.

The visitors remain in the ECWHL driver's seat with an 11-2-0 league record and a 15-5-0 overall mark. The Lady Ice Lions are now 10-6-0 and 7-4-0 in the ECWHL.

Bang Bang, the hit song by Jessie J, Ariana Grande and Nicki Minaj may be an important part of the Lady Ice Lions' pregame routine, but it is even more appropriate as a description of the opening 20 minutes.

Just as she did Saturday night, junior Darby Kern got things going quickly - just 1:15 from the opening draw, following her 22-seconds-in strike from the previous game. On the play, Kim Badorrek fired off the end boards for Riley O'Connor in the slot, and the former Princeton Tiger Lily left it for Kern's finish.

UMass responded productively to the early deficit though. Just 2:21 later, 2011-12 Lady Icer Paige Harrington scored her third goal this season against her former school, as she capitalized on a loose puck at the line and sliced to the middle before sniping. Less than a minute after that, another turnover - this time in the left-wing corner - helped the Minutewomen gain the lead. Sarah Maloney did the honors on both the takeaway and goal, firing through from the bottom of the circle.

Claire Gauthier pulled PSU back to 2-2 with six minutes left in the period. Ashton Schaffer started the play with a block in front of Little before the senior captain played it ahead to Devon Fisk. Fisk rushed most of the ice herself, finally working it in front of Massachusetts goalie Kasey Zegel for her linemate to add the final condiment to the play's sandwich.

The Minutewomen once again answered in short order though, as Caleigh LaBossiere shelved a 3-2 goal from just inside the Lady Ice Lions line before the end of the period.

Penn State steadily gained momentum through the second and third periods, outshooting their opponents 18-15 over the 40 minutes, including 12-7 in the final frame. However, it took a while for that advantage to count for anything, as both Little (making her PSU debut with 30 saves) and Zegel (25 saves) settled in after rough starts.

Gauthier, finally, gave her team new life with 7:38 left in regulation with a deflection of a Badorrek shot from just outside of the crease that looked eerily similar to former team captain Carly Szyszko's tip of Badorrek that clinched the 2013-14 College Hockey East regular season title last February. The tally forced PSU's fourth overtime in the team's last six games and fifth extra period this season.

Despite the defeat, the number 11 Lady Ice Lions hope to have made a statement to the ACHA coaches who vote in the Division 1 poll through two evenly-played games with a top five team, one of which resulted in a win. Should that not be enough, Penn State has two away games next weekend - Saturday against Ohio State and Sunday against top-ranked defending national champion Miami - before the third ranking period closes.

Box Score

First Period
1. Penn State, Darby Kern (Riley O'Connor, Kim Badorrek), 18:45; 2. Massachusetts, Paige Harrington (unassisted), 16:24; 3. Massachusetts, Sarah Maloney (unassisted), 15:28; 4. Penn State, Claire Gauthier (Devon Fisk), 5:59; 5. Massachusetts, Caleigh LaBossiere (unassisted), 2:29.
Second Period
1. Penn State, Katie Murphy (2:00 slashing), 4:15.
Third Period
6. Penn State, Claire Gauthier (Kim Badorrek), 7:38.
2. Penn State, Cassie Dunne (2:00 interference), 18:34; 3. Massachusetts, Amy Morin (2:00 hooking), 18:12.
7. Massachusetts, Amy Morin (Alyx Rivard), 0:19.
Penn State: Aimee Little: L, 30 saves/34 shots. Massachusetts: Kasey Zegel: W, 25 saves/28 shots.

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