Valiant PSU Falls Just Short as Massachusetts Completes Sweep

Rachel Kapoian scored her first career goal on Saturday

Despite a stirring rally, a season-high scoring output and a first career goal for freshman Rachel Kapoian, Massachusetts took the weekend and regular season series capper from Penn State, by a 5-3 count on Saturday evening in Amherst, MA.

The blantantly obvious culprit: UMass running out to 4-0 lead 25 minutes into the game, thanks largely to reigning Zoe M. Harris award winner Brittani Lanzilli and her natural hat trick coming through a variety of means: a clean snipe, a third-chance rebound on a power play, and a bit of a lucky bounce off of the crossbar, then off of PSU goalie Meg Lydick.

Big defenseman Tatum Schulz scored the fourth goal for the Minutewomen on a blast from center point during a second-period tripping call to Darian Dempsey. Michaela Tosone assisted on that goal, as well as the first two by Lanzilli to send in a three-point night.

Then, from seemingly nothing but a beginning reminiscent of Friday's 8-0 drubbing by UMass, life.

Late in the second period, Riley O'Connor pounced on a missed Minutewomen pass at center, taking the turnover in on a clean breakway and firing high on goalie Sam Baturin for her first goal of the season. Kate Lombardozzi was credited with an assist on the play, her first collegiate point.

The momentum continuted when, after five straight Penn State penalties to start the game, the Lady Ice Lions started to draw them instead. Quick calls to Jen Davis and Lanzilli shortly after the O'Connor goal gave PSU a 5-on-3, and while the team did not capitalize on the most dangerous part of the advantage, Cassie Dunne managed to cash in on the back end of things, with Lanzilli still in the box. On the play, Dunne took the puck from the left side wall and found plenty of unexpected open ice right down the middle, eventually skating well into the slot and burying her third power play goal of the year.

Kapoian made the score 4-3 on her goal with 16:26 remaining in regulation. After Liz Tuorinsky carried low in the UMass end, she found Trisha Cierniak at the left point. Cierniak, to collect her first career point, fired low to the left side of the goal where Kapoian, a New Jersey native was stationed for a smooth deflection. That marker chased Baturin from the game in favor of Amber Greene, as Minutewomen coach Bill Wright was among those on the home side sweating the outcome at that point.

The rally met its unfortunate demise in an unlikely place: on the power play. With about 13 minutes remaining in the third period, Mallory O'Brien and Meredith Gallagher took penalties 2:15 apart from each other, giving Penn State an extended bit of advantage time with a chance to tie things up. Instead, the opposite happened.

Ten seconds into the second penalty, a tripping call to Gallagher, UMass' Jojo Olson caught the power play unit flatfooted, taking a turnover three zones and finishing a shortanded goal to stunt the comeback and produce the final margin.

The Lady Ice Lions will now visit Northeastern to close the three game weekend, with that contest from Boston's Matthews Arena scheduled for 7:30 a.m.

Box Score

First Period
1. Massachusetts, Brittani Lanzilli (Michaela Tosone, Jojo Olson), 16:11 (power play); 2. Massachusetts, Brittani Lanzilli (Meghan Lawler, Michaela Tosone), 4:26.
1. Penn State, Meg Lydick (2:00 tripping, served by Madison Dwyer), 17:41; 2. Penn State, Liz Tuorinsky (2:00 body checking), 2:08.
Second Period
3. Massachusetts, Brittani Lanzilli (unassisted), 18:54; 4. Massachusetts, Tatum Schulz (Jojo Olson, Michaela Tosone), 14:59 (power play); 5. Penn State, Riley O'Connor (Kate Lombardozzi), 3:54; 6. Penn State, Cassie Dunne (Liz Tuorinsky), 0:32 (power play).
3. Penn State, Darian Dempsey (2:00 tripping), 15:14; 4. Penn State, Trisha Cierniak (2:00 tripping), 13:13; 5. Penn State, Liz Tuorinsky (2:00 body checking), 9:02; 6. Massachusetts, Jen Davis (2:00 body checking), 2:58; 7. Massachusetts, Brittani Lanzilli (2:00 roughing), 2:02.
Third Period
7. Penn State, Rachel Kapoian (Trisha Cierniak), 16:26; 8. Massachusetts, Jojo Olson (Juliana Dolan), 10:49 (shorthanded).
8. Massachusetts, Mallory O'Brien (2:00 hooking), 13:14; 9. Massachusetts, Meredith Gallagher (2:00 tripping), 10:59; 10. Massachusetts, Olivia Knight (2:00 slashing), 7:00.
Penn State: Meg Lydick: L, 49 saves/54 shots; Massachusetts: Sam Baturin: W, 10 saves/13 shots; Amber Greene (16:26 3rd): 3 saves/3 shots.

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