Penn State Hangs Tough, Falls Late to Miami to Drop to 0-2

Riley O'Connor was involved in many of PSU's best offensive chances

No. 15 Penn State gave defending national champion Miami all they could handle for two periods on Saturday evening in Pegula Ice Arena, but faded down the stretch with some help from penalty trouble, as the RedHawks completed a season-opening sweep by a 6-0 count.

Following a scoreless first period - a well-balanced frame among PSU's best in recent memory, given the competition - Miami struck late in the second period through Emily Sloan. The goal came after a pileup in front of, and on top of, Penn State goalie Emma Shannon. The referees' whistles never blew (nor was goaltender interference called) and Sloan capitalized through the chaos. Nevertheless, after 40 minutes, the Lady Ice Lions found themselves in a position few teams have seen against MU in recent years.

However, one hallmark of great teams is the ability to finish games, particularly the close ones. Miami has it, Penn State is still learning it.

MU accordingly rifled home five goals in the third period to improve the cosmetics of the final result, from their point of view. Central to that thrust were Carly Noble, who got things going with a top-shelf rip on an early power play and added a second in the late going, and UMass transfer Jenn Davis, who grabbed two of her own from in or near the blue paint underneath Shannon. Ellen Chiligiris and Alyssa Visalli, as they did in Friday's series opener, also earned heavy stat lines with three and two assists, respectively.

The Lady Ice Lions' attack throughout the contest was once again highlighted by the red line (so named for the color of the practice jerseys worn by PSU's top unit), which includes Riley O'Connor, Crosby Deliman and Meghan Miller.

O'Connor was stymied by MU goalie Rachel Damrath on a third-period breakaway and misfired on a look into a gaping cage for two of the home side's best chances of avoiding the shutout. Deliman was also dangerous in transition, although most of her attempts ended not with a shot, but with a tackling RedHawks player on top of her. Miller, of course, offered her usual heady and responsible effort. Sarah McGillicuddy also showed flashes of her pedigree, as a product of the prestigious Tabor Academy program. Each member of the defense corps was instrumental in keeping one of the ACHA's most explosive teams at bay for most of the contest.

Shannon finished with 39 stops on 45 RedHawks shots, as the freshman battled through the first leg of what is arguably the toughest way for an ACHA rookie goaltender to step on to the scene.

Her task, along with that of the remainder of the squad, doesn't get much easier from here: next weekend, Penn State will take its first road trip of the season, to battle No. 1 Liberty. Puck drops from LaHaye Ice Center are scheduled for 6:00 p.m. on Saturday and 11:00 a.m. on Sunday.

Box Score

First Period
1. Miami, Darby Edmondson (2:00 body checking), 15:48; 2. Penn State, Meghan Miller (2:00 body checking), 9:17.
Second Period
1. Miami, Emily Sloan (Ellen Chiligiris), 3:52.
3. Miami, Sarah Peterson (2:00 cross checking), 16:44; 4. Penn State, Sarah McGillicuddy (2:00 slashing), 13:42; 5. Penn State, Rachel Cole (2:00 holding), 3:52.
Third Period
2. Miami, Carly Noble (Ellen Chiligiris), 12:04 (power play); 3. Miami, Jennifer Davis (Sarah Peterson, Ellen Chiligiris), 8:28; 4. Miami, Katie Baldwin (Nicole Matthews, Alyssa Visalli), 6:40 (power play); 5. Miami, Carly Noble (Alyssa Visalli), 5:32; 6. Miami, Jennifer Davis (Natalie Hornbuckle), 0:30.
6. Penn State, Kate Lombardozzi (2:00 body checking), 13:04; 7. Miami, Carly Noble (2:00 slashing), 11:00; 8. Miami, Emily Sloan (2:00 hooking), 10:15; 9. Penn State, Rachel Cole (2:00 body checking), 6:56; 10. Penn State, Sarah McGillicuddy (2:00 roughing), 6:17; 11. Miami, Ellen Chiligiris (2:00 roughing), 6:17; 12. Miami, Lexi Russell (2:00 body checking), 4:30; 13. Miami, Nicole Matthews (2:00 hooking), 3:04.
Penn State: Emma Shannon: L, 39 saves/45 shots. Miami: Rachel Damrath: W, 15 saves/15 shots.

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