Buffalo Gals Come Out Late, Stun Lady Ice Lions in Overtime

Nina Elia scored her first goal of the season in defeat

Perhaps there's no place better than a noted religion-based university, Liberty, to learn that whatever higher powers give, they can also take away.

Exactly one week after a late goal and an overtime winner propelled the Lady Ice Lions to an upset of No. 5 Massachusetts, No. 13 Colorado turned the tables in arguably even more dramatic fashion on Saturday morning: a Leah MacArthur goal on a scramble in front of Allyssa Long with just six seconds left in regulation, followed by a Monica Patten decider 94 seconds into the extra period.

The stunning defeat dropped Penn State to 3-10-1 this season, while the team remains 3-5-1 in the ECWHL. Colorado is now 10-6-0 and 9-4-0 in the WWCHL.

As is the case with most games involving blown leads, the neutral-site contest played at Liberty's beautifully-and-newly-renovated LaHaye Ice Center, started a lot better than it ended, specifically with a pair of Darby Kern goals to give PSU a 2-0 lead after 20 minutes. The first was on a play the senior has pulled off numerous times before, a steal followed by a power move down left wing, a quick stickhandle to the righty's forehand in front, and a snipe.

The second was a glorious play that saw Meghan Miller hit Darian Dempsey near the PSU blue line. Dempsey then lofted the puck high in the air, somehow finding Kern in the process of splitting the Buffaloes defense while remaining onside, and the Pittsburgh-area native broke in alone and shelved.

An inconsistently-played but exciting second period saw five total goals, and ended with the ill-fated 4-3 Lady Ice Lions lead that would hold up until the late going.

A perpetually-scrappy CU side never let PSU create any separation, as Marisa Danos scored twice in the middle frame to chop the score first to 2-1, then to 3-2. First off, she beat the designated home team's defense with a nifty one-on-one dangle in transition, then she scored a crushing goal just 25 seconds after Nina Elia's first tally of the season.

On the Elia bury, Kelly Watson found defense partner Anna Marcus left to right high in the zone. Marcus then fired in the direction of Natalie Warnes, before deft plays on the knocked-down puck by Riley O'Connor and Claire Gauthier found the senior alternate captain all alone on the back side. Dempsey added her third goal of the season on a Watson rebound with 8:30 remaining, but Colorado again had an answer, ultimately helping make the late heroics possible, with Madison Stevens firing clean from the mid-slot area after an ugly turnover.

Both teams came up empty on the power play, with the Lady Ice Lions killing infractions by Liz Tuorinsky and Rachel Cole but seeing its explosive advantage groups post a 0-for-3 line.

After a few hours to recharge, the two teams will meet again at 7:00 p.m. for the back half of the odd day-night doubleheader, before Penn State closes the weekend by matching up with No. 1 Liberty on Sunday morning.

Box Score

First Period
1. Penn State, Darby Kern (unassisted), 11:35; 2. Penn State, Darby Kern (Darian Dempsey, Meghan Miller), 3:39.
1. Colorado, Alex Mohr (2:00 roughing), 2:36.
Second Period
3. Colorado, Marisa Danos (Devon Seibt), 18:09; 4. Penn State, Nina Elia (Claire Gauthier, Riley O'Connor), 14:33; 5. Colorado, Marisa Danos (Devon Seibt), 14:08; 6. Penn State, Darian Dempsey (Kelly Watson, Anna Marcus), 8:30; 7. Colorado, Madison Stevens (Alex Mohr, Kathleen Ash), 2:56.
2. Penn State, Liz Tuorinsky (2:00 roughing), 11:53.
Third Period
8. Colorado, Leah MacArthur (unassisted), 0:06.
3. Colorado, Alex Mohr (2:00 roughing), 14:13; 4. Colorado, Alex Mohr (2:00 roughing), 8:40; 5. Penn State, Rachel Cole (2:00 tripping), 5:46.
9. Colorado, Monica Patten (unassisted), 3:26.
Penn State: Allyssa Long: L, 22 saves/27 shots. Colorado: Natalie Warnes: W, 31 saves/35 shots.

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