Same, Yet Different: Penn State Drops Opener to Miami, 9-0

Emma Shannon made 35 saves in her Penn State debut

It's happened a lot over the last couple seasons: Penn State loses decisively to one of the ACHA's top teams and begins looking for shreds of hope, a positive moment or sequence to offer some encouragement and maybe plant a seed of "if only we can keep that up for 60 minutes, we might have something here."

On Friday night, No. 15 Penn State did, in fact, do at least half of that once again, in dropping its season opener to second-ranked Miami by a rather ugly 9-0 count at Pegula Ice Arena. This time, however, the post mortem felt anything but forced.

While the defending national champions are certainly capable of beating the best at their best, the Lady Ice Lions nevertheless came away frustrated with the miscues that helped make the RedHawks' task easier. One was a rough line change just 3:25 into the contest that ended in a Nicole Matthews goal and a 1-0 hole. A few minutes later, Katie Sciales made it 2-0 on a long rebound that nobody in Penn State white could locate.

Between goals like those, and others like the three fatigue-aided tallies in the late going that made the score bulge well out of proportion to the flow of the game, there was an optimism related to the number of correctable mistakes that helped MU along despite what, on the surface, was a blowout loss.

While they're not all items that can be adjusted with five minutes and a dry erase board (conditioning being one thing notoriously difficult to improve in season), between things like that and stretches like the first five minutes of both the first and third periods that saw PSU carry the play for long periods of time, there was a lot to like about the evening.

Ellen Chiligiris led the RedHawks' attack with two goals and two assists, while freshman Darby Edmondson added a pair of goals. Another rookie, Erin Sparks, earned a 15-save shutout.

The blue and white side of the ledger was highlighted by Emma Shannon, who made 35 saves in her collegiate debut, a performance that ranged from exhilarating (her second-period penalty shot stop on Emily Sloan, after PSU's Mikaela Walker closed her hand on the puck in her own crease) to frightening (a third-period collision with Sloan that left the Lady Ice Lions' only rostered goalie shaken up, but fortunately able to continue). Crosby Deliman also gave those in attendance - including 2017 graduates Cassie Dunne and Darian Dempsey - plenty of hope for a bright future, as the Pittsburgh native was central to many of Penn State's best scoring chances.

The two teams will close the series with a rematch on Saturday evening at 5:15 p.m. in Pegula Ice Arena.

Box Score

First Period
1. Miami, Nicole Matthews (Jenn Davis), 16:35; 2. Miami, Katie Sciales (Katie Baldwin), 10:03; 3. Miami, Darby Edmondson (Ellen Chiligiris), 6:07 (power play); 4. Miami, Ellen Chiligiris (Katie Sciales), 0:33.
1. Penn State, Crosby Deliman (2:00 tripping), 7:26; 2. Penn State, Trish Cierniak (2:00 cross checking), 6:07.
Second Period
5. Miami, Darby Edmondson (Ellen Chiligiris, Natalie Hornbuckle), 4:30 (shorthanded).
3. Penn State, Mikaela Walker (penalty shot for delay of game), 12:04; 4. Miami, Michaela Goguen (2:00 holding the stick), 5:17; 5. Penn State, Crosby Deliman (2:00 interference), 1:06.
Third Period
6. Miami, Carly Noble (Alyssa Visalli, Michaela Goguen), 14:54; 7. Miami, Emily Sloan (unassisted), 6:16; 8. Miami, Natalie Hornbuckle (Alyssa Visalli), 3:42; 9. Miami, Ellen Chiligiris (Amanda Pugliese), 2:42.
6. Penn State, Meghan Miller (2:00 slashing), 13:24; 7. Penn State, Sarah McGillicuddy (2:00 hooking), 10:55
Penn State: Emma Shannon: L, 35 saves/44 shots. Miami: Erin Sparks: W, 15 saves/15 shots.

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