Penn State's Offensive Struggles Continue as Adrian Completes Sweep

Devon Fisk was among the Lady Ice Lions' best players in her final Penn State game

Despite continued improvement from the Lady Ice Lions, both collectively and through several individuals, Penn State remained unable to dent No. 2 Adrian Saturday night at Pegula Ice Arena. Nichole Laflamme scored twice, while Kaillie Hardy and Jess Fabbro each added single markers to help the Bulldogs skate out of town with a 4-0 result that closed out an AC sweep and the fall semester schedule for both teams.

PSU, which is ranked 15th in ACHA Division 1, dropped to 2-8-1 overall while remaining 2-4-1 in the ECWHL. Adrian is 14-2-0 overall and now on an 11-game winning streak.

The carnage, at least compared to Friday's 7-0 scoreline, wasn't overwhelming thanks in large part to sophomore goalie Aimee Little's 44 saves. She has now totaled 159 saves in four games against Adrian this season while often standing out as a lonely bright spot.

Star AC defenseman Fabbro beat Little first, as she crept low and buried a spot-perfect cross-slot feed from Hardy midway through the first period. Hardy, a freshman from Waterloo, Ontario, finished with three points on Saturday as part of a seven-point series.

Her third goal of that total came 35 seconds into the Bulldogs' second of five power plays, with 9:24 left in the second period, as she finished from Nicole Paradis and Fabbro during a Darby Kern tripping minor.

A pair of Laflamme lasers followed shortly after, in the last five minutes of the middle frame, to more or less seal the result, particularly in light of the fact that Adrian has only allowed 18 total goals in 16 games this season, with every single one of those contests against a team presently ranked in the ACHA's top 15. Of course, AC's defensive prowess is only half of why that lead was about as safe as leads get.

The Lady Ice Lions' recent offensive struggles have now reached historic proportions: the two Adrian games combined with the 3-0 loss to Rhode Island on November 14th represent the first time any Penn State women's ACHA team (including, of course, the 1996-2012 Lady Icers) has ever been shut out three consecutive times. The drought sits at 203:45 total, with Caitlin Costello's power play goal late in the second period vs. URI on November 13th still standing as the last time a Penn Stater scored. The Rams' Katelyn Bucior shut the door in the third period of that game, teammate Abbey Torres locked it the next day, and Bulldogs goalie Ellyn Stanton added a chair under the doorknob and some other large furniture items for additional help on Friday and Saturday.

Much more than in the series opener though, the home team had chances to finally end the string of frustration. Adrian took three penalties in the third period to bring out PSU's power play, which entered the weekend clicking at an D1-best 38.9 percent. However, the only result was six more minutes with nothing behind Stanton, as the Pittsburgh native completed a weekend shutout.

Winger Devon Fisk who, along with co-captain Ashton Schaffer, was playing in her final collegiate game ahead of her graduation this month, closed out her run in the only way fitting: as a stickhandling dynamo capable of creating scoring chances from thin air. However, unlike the case on Fisk's 49 career goals, the shots just weren't going this time around. In the second period, with the score still at 1-0 Adrian, she fired off of the post after dangling to the middle. Later in the stanza, seconds before Laflamme's first goal made the score 3-0, a similar-looking play received slightly more puck pressure and helped it result in a Stanton save.

It's no exaggeration to say that a bury in either of those situations - or, for example, on a Kern centering feed for Costello in transition in the first period that just missed - could have altered the game's complexion. However, to Adrian's credit, all of those little crystallizing moments fell in their favor, a hallmark of great teams.

Following the upcoming final exams and winter break, the Lady Ice Lions return to action in Pegula Ice Arena against ECWHL rival Massachusetts on January 9th and 10th. Puck drops are set for 9:00 p.m. and 12:45 p.m., respectively.

Box Score

First Period
1. Adrian, Jess Fabbro (Kaillie Hardy), 11:16.
1. Penn State, Riley O'Connor (2:00 roughing), 3:55.
Second Period
2. Adrian, Kaillie Hardy (Nicole Paradis, Jess Fabbro), 9:24 (power play); 3. Adrian, Nichole Laflamme (Alicia Tait, Tara Wrbelis), 4:47; 4. Adrian, Nichole Laflamme (Marisa Sheppard, Kaillie Hardy), 0:12.
2. Penn State, Darby Kern (2:00 tripping), 9:59; 3. Penn State, Liz Tuorinsky (2:00 body checking), 8:29; 4. Penn State, Liz Tuorinsky (2:00 slashing), 4:13.
Third Period
5. Adrian, Sabrena Camp (2:00 cross checking), 13:20; 6. Adrian, Jessie Rushing (2:00 tripping), 7:12; 7. Adrian, Nicole Paradis (2:00 tripping), 2:59; 8. Penn State, Cassie Dunne (2:00 roughing), 0:42.
Penn State: Aimee Little: L, 44 saves/48 shots. Adrian: Ellyn Stanton: W, 8 saves, 8 shots.

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