Tied Down in Chocolate Town: Penn State Settles For Late Draw With LVC

Rachel Kapoian gave Penn State a lead into the late stages of the game

Despite goals from Riley O'Connor and Rachel Kapoian, along with 28 saves by Meg Lydick, Penn State had to settle for a 2-2 overtime tie with NCAA Division III's Lebanon Valley College on Friday night at Hersheypark Arena in Hershey, PA.

Penn State now stands at 3-16-1 overall this season.

It was a game that, in some sense, counts for literal nothing. Neither LVC nor PSU get the result tabulated on their standings or official stats issued by their respective sanctioning organizations. At the same time, on the Lady Ice Lions' development curve, the chance for a team to see how it measures up to varsity competition counts for a lot. And like many stops along the development curve, there were takeaways both positive and negative.

The positives started with O'Connor, who has now scored on consecutive weekends after a slow start to the year for PSU's leading active career scorer. After Eleanor Donaher staked the Dutchmen to a 1-0 lead 7:06 into the game, the junior from Boothwyn, PA, along with linemate Meghan Miller, got to work in the last five minutes of the opening 20. After Miller made an outstanding play to exit the defensive zone, she found O'Connor, who was forced to a tight angle wide of the LVC net, but uncorked a wicked snipe past Dutchmen star goalie Jillian Moffatt.

Moffatt, like Lydick, finished the game with 28 saves on 30 shots, as the Lady Ice Lions matched or exceeded an opponent's shot total for just the second time this season, and for the first time since November 20th at Northeastern.

Donaher's 1-0 goal was a symptom of a slow start from the visitors, with O'Connor's answer a symptom of one of PSU's best ten-minute stretches of the season. Even though that momentum didn't carry through the second period, Lydick stopped all 11 shots she saw in the frame to give her side a chance to win the game in the late going.

And a win in the late going is nearly what happened. During a hooking call to Lebanon Valley's Maddie Humes, Rachel Cole found space in the middle of the offensive zone and made a nifty dangle to the slot. Moffatt stopped her initial try, but Kapoian was there to push through the scrum and give PSU a 2-1 lead with 11:38 remaining in regulation.

But, of course, two steps forward and one back is the trademark of a growing team, and what special teams give you, they can also take away. After Liz Tuorinsky's second body checking call of the evening, with 4:28 remaining, it took Lainey Tarasiewicz just 34 seconds to find a tying goal. The scoreline held up through a mostly-uneventful five-minute overtime, played by mutual agreement of the teams.

O'Connor led PSU with seven shots, while also recording her team's only two shot blocks. Kelly Watson added five attempts on goal, while Miller, Tuorinsky and Kapoian each had three.

The Lady Ice Lions will now attempt to win a series for the first time this year on Saturday at 5:35 p,m. in Pegula Ice Arena, as the Dutchmen visit to complete the home and home set.

Box Score

First Period
1. Lebanon Valley, Eleanor Donaher (Tori ByDeley, Maddie Humes), 12:54; 2. Penn State, Riley O'Connor (Meghan Miller), 3:34.
1. Penn State, Riley O'Connor (2:00 high sticking), 15:10.
Second Period
2. Penn State, Katelyn Trask (2:00 holding), 10:37; 3. Lebanon Valley, Mackenzie Bokina (2:00 cross checking), 7:15; 4. Penn State, Liz Tuorinsky (2:00 body checking), 3:12.
Third Period
3. Penn State, Rachel Kapoian (Rachel Cole), 11:38 (power play); 4. Lebanon Valley, Lainey Tarasiewicz (Taylor Borrelli, Brenna Smith), 3:54.
5. Lebanon Valley, Tory ByDeley (2:00 tripping), 18:51; 6. Lebanon Valley, Maddie Humes (2:00 hooking), 12:18; 7. Penn State, Meghan Miller (2:00 high sticking), 10:36; 8. Penn State, Liz Tuorinsky (2:00 body checking), 4:28.
Penn State: Meg Lydick: T, 28 saves/30 shots; Lebanon Valley: Jillian Moffatt: T, 28 saves/30 shots

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