Third-Period Woes Strike Again as Vermont Takes Series Over PSU

Anna Marcus scored her first goal of the season on Sunday

It may have risen to the level of a curse by now. Or, if you don't believe in curses, a mental block at the very least.

First, the hard facts: the Lady Ice Lions, despite generally playing much better than in the fall, are 1-6-1 this semester, part of a 3-14-2 overall mark. The latest indignity came through the Vermont Catamounts, who took Sunday's series capper 5-3 at Pegula Ice Arena, following a 3-3 tie between the teams on Saturday night.

The record itself is not good, but it arguably gets worse when additional circumstances are brought into play.
  • On January 16th against Colorado, PSU was six seconds away from sealing off a win before the Buffaloes tied things up, then won in overtime.
  • The next day, against top-ranked Liberty, the team held a 2-0 lead after the first period and fought to a 4-4 tie after the second. The Flames went on to win 8-4.
  • On Thursday night against Davenport, Darby Kern's 50th career goal gave the Lady Ice Lions a 1-0 lead that held well into the third period before two Adrienne Porcalla tallies gave the Panthers the win.
  • In the opener of the UVM series on Saturday night, of course, a 3-1 lead midway through the third period became 3-3, the final score, in a 1:52 span.
Sunday's result took a worthy place among that list, making it five of seven non-wins this semester where Penn State was at least tied in the third period. Four of those involved a PSU lead.

As on Saturday, Vermont star Emily Ford was largely responsible for the breakdown. With the home team holding a 3-1 lead at the second intermission, Ford started the rally by driving the middle in the first minute of the final frame. The puck then bounced out to Carly Tashman, who sniped from the right wing circle to trim the lead to one.

With 7:42 left, Ford did the work herself, taking the puck in from center and performing literally one complete lap of the Penn State zone before finding a seam to walk down the middle and score. The Glastonbury, CT native added an empty netter to cap a three-point effort.

Officially, the dagger came from Jennifer Deso, who scored the winning 4-3 goal with 3:02 left on a bizarre faceoff play. With the draw to Allyssa Long's right, players and sticks merged to create a loose puck that trickled on net. Long simply didn't see the puck as it rolled between her legs. Erin Turner, who also scored UVM's opening goal, was given an assist.

The third period ruined a spectacular effort from Penn State's Blue Line, featuring Riley O'Connor between Claire Gauthier and Jackie Saideh.

O'Connor scored twice, first to tie the game at one late in the first period. First, she won a battle behind the net and looked to hit Saideh in the slot. That pass missed, but fortunately came out to Kelly Watson at the point. Watson bombed one off the end boards, where O'Connor retrieved before attempting a backhanded centering feed that instead got a fortunate bounce in. In the final minute of the second period, the sophomore grabbed what would be her team's final goal by following up on Kern's long rebound in transition.

She also - along with Gauthier - picked up an assist on PSU's second goal, a power play effort from Anna Marcus early in the middle period. It was the first goal of the season for the center-turned-defenseman, who spent the fall semester studying abroad but now has five points in eight games since returning.

That goal helped PSU to a 1-for-2 effort on the power play, while UVM went 0-for-2. Long wound up with 25 saves on 29 Catamount shots (Vermont had 30 shots in total when accounting for the empty netter), while Rosie Gluck picked up a goaltending win with 33 saves on 36 shots.

Next weekend, Penn State will play its final road games and final ECWHL games of the regular season at Northeastern and Rhode Island. Puck drop for Friday against the Huskies is set for 10:00 p.m., while Saturday and Sunday against the Rams will go off at 4:00 p.m. and 11:00 a.m., respectively.

Box Score

First Period
1. Vermont, Erin Turner (unassisted), 9:26; 2. Penn State, Riley O'Connor (Kelly Watson), 2:13.
Second Period
3. Penn State, Anna Marcus (Riley O'Connor, Claire Gauthier), 16:29 (power play); 4. Penn State, Riley O'Connor (Darby Kern), 0:51.
1. Vermont, Nicole Beaudoin (2:00 roughing), 17:59; 2. Penn State, Cassie Dunne (2:00 roughing), 12:40; 3. Vermont, Emily Ford (2:00 cross checking), 12:16; 4. Penn State, Darby Kern (2:00 roughing), 11:18; 5. Vermont, Nicole Beaudoin (2:00 holding), 9:10.
Third Period
5. Vermont, Carly Tashman (Emily Ford), 19:25; 6. Vermont, Emily Ford (Bethany Kelly), 7:42; 7. Vermont, Jennifer Deso (Erin Turner), 3:02; 8. Vermont, Emily Ford (unassisted), 0:28 (empty net).
Penn State: Allyssa Long: L, 25 saves/29 shots. Vermont: Rosie Gluck: W, 33 saves/36 shots.

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