Penn State Can't Sustain Rally, Drops Opener at Vermont 3-2

Meghan Miller tied the game late in the second period

The Penn State Women's Ice Hockey Club rallied from a 2-0 second period deficit to Vermont on Friday evening through spectacular goals by Kelly Watson and Meghan Miller but couldn't complete the comeback, as the Catamounts skated away with a 3-2 victory in the season opener for both teams.

Penalty trouble, which would become a recurring theme of the tilt at UVM's Gutterson Fieldhouse, bit the Lady Ice Lions early and often, including late in a sluggish first period.

Two seconds after an interference call to Liz Tuorinsky ended, Vermont's Beth Kelly circled the zone, eventually finding Lucy Bisselle in the slot. While freshman goalie Meg Lydick was up to the initial save on Bisselle, Haley Grigel arrived in time to backhand the rebound into the top corner.

UVM doubled the advantage almost exactly midway through the game, this time on an official power play with Kate Lombardozzi off for interference, as Nicole Raccuia deflected a Mikayla Butkus drive past Lydick.

Other than the goals against, however, Lydick was spectacular in her first collegiate action. The Indiana, PA native finished with 32 stops on 35 shots, including several big ones in the early going - particularly one save-of-the-year candidate with her right pad on a completely unadorned Vermont shooter in the low slot - that kept the slow-starting Lady Ice Lions in the game.

What special teams took away, they eventually gave back, allowing the visitors to eventually pull things under control.

First came Watson, with 7:30 left in the second period. With the teams skating four-on-four thanks to calls first to Cassie Dunne, then to Butkus, Tuorinsky bombed a shot wide of Vermont goalie Natalie Kampf. Watson then tracked down the rebound in the left wing corner, then dangled to the front of the net before burying PSU's first tally of the season.

It took just four seconds of a Raccuia hooking infraction for Miller to tie the game up with 19 seconds left in the middle 20. Off of an offensive draw win, the sophomore from Rhode Island charged the front of the net before receiving a return pass from Rachel Cole for the snipe.

Penn State was buzzing, but had momentum stemmed by the unfortunately-timed second intermission. UVM then managed to restore their advantage - a goal that help up as the eventual winner - just 2:27 into the third period, as Alex Celia fired from the right point through traffic.

PSU took seven penalties in the game, including three in the third period after Vermont regained the lead, to significantly curtail the time available for a late equalizer. In all, the Lady Ice Lions managed the Miller goal on four power play attempts, while the Catamounts connected on one of six, plus the Grigel goal not technically counted on the ledger.

Penn State and Vermont will close the opening series at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday morning at Collins Perley Sports & Fitness in St. Albans, VT.

Box Score

First Period
1. Vermont, Haley Grigel (Lucy Bisselle, Bethany Kelly), 5:28.
1. Penn State, Liz Tuorinsky (2:00 interference), 7:30.
Second Period
2. Vermont, Nicole Raccuia (Mikayla Butkus), 10:17 (power play); 3. Penn State, Kelly Watson (Liz Tuorinsky), 7:30; 4. Penn State, Meghan Miller (Rachel Cole), 0:19 (power play).
2. Penn State, Trisha Cierniak (2:00 body checking), 15:16; 3. Penn State, Kate Lombardozzi (2:00 interference), 11:00; 4. Penn State, Cassie Dunne (2:00 hooking), 9:20; 5. Vermont, Mikayla Butkus (2:00 interference), 7:45; 6. Penn State, Darian Dempsey (2:00 hooking), 5:00; 7. Vermont, Nicole Raccuia (2:00 hooking), 0:23.
Third Period
5. Vermont, Alex Celia (Jen Deso), 17:33.
8. Vermont, Haley Grigel (2:00 cross checking), 16:10; 9. Penn State, Liz Tuorinsky (2:00 roughing), 13:41; 10. Vermont, Kaly Gonski (2:00 high sticking), 13:41; 11. Vermont, Grace Doxsey (2:00 cross checking), 13:05; 12. Penn State, Liz Tuorinsky (2:00 body checking), 7:54.
Penn State: Meg Lydick: L, 32 saves/35 shots; Vermont: Natalie Kampf: W, 12 saves/14 shots.

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