Lady Ice Lions Close Regular Season by Dumping Northeastern 6-1

Cara Mendelson supplied a goal and two assists to PSU's Sunday drive

Darby Kern scored a third straight hat trick - bringing her total to ten goals this weekend and an ACHA Division 1 leading 26 this season - as the Lady Ice Lions downed Northeastern 6-1 Sunday afternoon in Pegula Ice Arena to close the 2014-15 regular season.

Penn State is now 15-6-0 overall and 10-4-0 in the ECWHL after sweeping the four-game season series from the Huskies, who are 4-15-0 and 2-12-0 in the ECWHL.

Kern, as she had for most of the three-game weekend, worked seamlessly in tandem with linemate Cara Mendelson as the duo combined on three of PSU's six tallies.

The tall junior from Venetia, PA went on the business end first, taking Mendelson's feed in the slot and beating NU goalie Kim Pfeifle nine minutes into the game. Less than two minutes later, Mendelson finished Kern's back-side post feed from the left wing circle.

Jackie Saideh piled on a third after another two-minute interval, a trademark net-front effort following Cassie Dunne's shot to the front of the blue paint. Taylor Nyman also got dirty to pick up an assist on the play.

However, unlike Friday night's 10-1 win over Navy (including five third-period goals) and Saturday's 11-1 result against the Huskies (which carried a 7-0 score after two periods), the offense finally bogged down a bit from there. An effective Pfeifle finished with 46 saves to play a part in that, but a spectacular Mary Kate Tonetti collected 31 on the other end and was increasingly tested as the game went on by an undermanned but resilient NU squad.

Northeastern cut the Penn State lead to 3-1 with 2:21 remaining in the second period on a Michelle Macchione power play goal that came with Kim Badorrek off on a high sticking call, but Kern gave strong evidence that the Lady Ice Lions' goal-scoring hiatus was entirely voluntary, as she answered 48 seconds later to puff the margin back to three, then scored a turned-over backhander one minute into the third period to push the score out to 5-1.

Devon Fisk closed the scoring with 17 seconds remaining in the contest, the 4.0 student's 46th career marker, after a dropped Pfeifle save produced a loose puck and an open five hole.

The Lady Ice Lions will now enjoy the next two weekends off before heading up to Kingston, RI and the ECWHL playoffs over the weekend of February 20th through 22nd. A title there would give PSU an automatic bid to the ACHA National Tournament, which begins March 4th in York, PA. Should that route fail, the team would still qualify through a top-eight ranking in the final poll of the season, issued the week following ECWHLs.

Box Score

First Period
1. Penn State, Darby Kern (Cara Mendelson), 11:21; 2. Penn State, Cara Mendelson (Darby Kern), 9:28; 3. Penn State, Jackie Saideh (Taylor Nyman, Cassie Dunne), 7:21.
Second Period
4. Northeastern, Michelle Macchione (Kelsey Hickey, Estelle Ip), 2:21 (power play); 5. Penn State, Darby Kern (Cara Mendelson), 1:33.
1. Northeastern, Kelsey Hickey (2:00 hooking), 5:23; 2. Penn State, Kim Badorrek (2:00 high sticking), 3:01.
Third Period
6. Penn State, Darby Kern (unassisted), 19:00; 7. Penn State, Devon Fisk (unassisted), 0:17.
3. Northeastern, Katie Walsh (2:00 holding), 19:00.
Penn State: Mary Kate Tonetti: W, 31 saves/32 shots. Northeastern: Kim Pfeifle: L, 46 saves/52 shots.

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