Greenwood's Four Goals Lead Liberty in 13-2 Flattening of Lady Ice Lions

Riley O'Connor scored both Penn State goals on Saturday

The stat night.

Being on the receiving end of one is just about the lowest place one can occupy in organized hockey. It involves an opponent doing essentially whatever it wants for at least two periods, piling up gaudy numbers on the way, and (if the victim is lucky) backing off of the gas as a show of mercy in the late going. That fate is generally the province of loosely organized teams with extremely short benches of players in mismatched uniforms and equipment, when facing programs that aspire to more than a couple hours of physical activity every weekend.

On Saturday night at Pegula Ice Arena, it happened to the Lady Ice Lions, a team that planned on a return trip to the ACHA National Tournament at the beginning of 2015-16 but now sits at 4-17-2 after a 13-2 obliteration by Liberty.

Make no mistake, the Flames are good. At 17-1-0 (with the one loss coming by forfeit of a game won on the ice due to a roster issue) and number one in the country, LU stands as good a chance as anyone of winning the national championship this year, following up on their first title last spring. Nevertheless, they delivered a defeat on Penn State that qualifies as the worst in PSU's four-season history by most measures, including goals allowed and margin of defeat. Even when including some lean Lady Icers seasons and their according results in the mid-2000s, they're numbers that have only been hit a handful of times.

A stat night, as mentioned, involves gaudy numbers. Liberty had no shortage of those, as it built a 3-1 lead after 20 minutes and a 9-1 stranglehold into the second intermission on the way to the win.

Chelsey Greenwood led the way, scoring four times.

Catharine Burrell added three of her own.

C.J. Tipping, always a thorn in Penn State's side, had four assists. Defenseman Brittany Hymers had three helpers.

Carrie Jickling and Lauren McDonald, two of the Flames' most potent weapons, rounded out the team's three-point evenings with 2-1-3 and 1-2-3 lines, respectively.

Even Rosie Kelly, in addition to her 15 saves, got in on the scoring, collecting the rare goalie assist on a Jickling goal that made the score 8-1 late in the second.

It's tough to call anything that happens in a loss like Saturday a bright spot, but Riley O'Connor did continue to prove her role as a centerpiece of the Lady Ice Lions' rebuilding effort. The sophomore scored both PSU goals, one in the first period that briefly made the affair a tight contest at 2-1, the other closing the game's scoring well after it had become a laugher. Both markers were the product of great work from linemates Darby Kern and Claire Gauthier, who delivered a tic-tac-toe passing play for an easy bury on the first period goal. With 2:07 remaining in the game, Kern bullied her way to the front of the net. Flames goalie Rosie Kelly made a phenomenal save, but PSU's diminutive No. 65 was there to pot the rebound.

Besieged goalies Allyssa Long and Sumire Clevenger (who entered the game at the beginning of the third period) combined for 24 saves on 37 LU shots, as the nature of stat nights, of course, aren't terribly friendly to receiving netminders. Neither team took a penalty during the game.

Penn State will meet the defending champs once more, on Sunday afternoon at 12:45 p.m., before closing the season at the ECWHL playoffs next weekend in Amherst, MA.

Box Score

First Period
1. Liberty, Carrie Jickling (C.J. Tipping), 15:02; 2. Liberty, Nikki McCombe (Lauren McDonald), 14:46; 3. Penn State, Riley O'Connor (Darby Kern, Claire Gauthier), 8:00; 4. Catharine Burrell (Nikki McCombe), 4:15.
Second Period
5. Liberty, Chelsey Greenwood (unassisted), 10:47; 6. Liberty, Chelsey Greenwood (C.J. Tipping), 5:39; 7. Liberty, Catharine Burrell (Brittany Hymers), 4:43; 8. Liberty, Catharine Burrell (Carrie Jickling, Katie Comeau), 4:10; 9. Liberty, Carrie Jickling (Brittany Hymers, Rosie Kelly), 0:50; 10. Liberty, Chelsey Greenwood (Lauren McDonald, C.J. Tipping), 0:13.
Third Period
11. Liberty, Chelsey Greenwood (Lauren Pillisch), 14:12; 12. Liberty, Lauren Pillisch (unassisted), 13:33; 13. Liberty, Lauren McDonald (Brittany Hymers), 6:25; 14. Liberty, Courtney Gilmour (C.J. Tipping), 4:37; 15. Penn State, Riley O'Connor (Darby Kern), 2:07.
Penn State: Allyssa Long: L, 14 saves/23 shots; Sumire Clevenger (20:00 3rd): 10 saves/14 shots. Liberty: Rosie Kelly: W, 15 saves/17 shots.

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