O'Connor's Late Goal Not Enough as Liberty Bests Penn State

Riley O'Connor scored the only goal surrendered by Liberty during the UMass Showcase

Riley O'Connor continued her hot start to the season with a late goal, but it wasn't enough to cancel the eight Liberty scored prior to that in an 8-1 defeat to the Flames to close the UMass Showcase on Sunday morning.

On the play, which occurred during a four-on-four stretch with 1:34 remaining, O'Connor entered the LU zone down the left wing. She then gave it to a rightward-crossing Sarah McGillicuddy, who did well to fight through the stick-checking efforts of the Flames defense before returning to O'Connor on the back post for a backhanded chip shot home.

The tally was the senior captain's fifth in nine games this season (with all coming in the last four) and the 27th of her career. The latter number is good enough for a tie with mid-2000s star Lauren Johnston for 12th on PSU's all-time list. It was also the only goal surrendered by Liberty during the showcase, as the Flames shut out Rhode Island and UMass prior to meeting Penn State.

LU, the ACHA's top-ranked team, flexed their pedigree early and often. Dana McLeod opened the scoring with a drive from above the circle midway through the first period, and she was followed up by Chelsey Greenwood's finish of a low pass from Aly Morris seven minutes later.

Emma Shannon turned in another solid effort in occupation of the Penn State crease, despite the eight goals against. She made 44 saves in all, with an incredible 27 of them coming during that opening stanza.

Liberty blew open the contest during the second period with goals from Alex Smibert, Holly Turner, Mackenzie Carroll, Tiana Lisle and Rachel Gibson to put things out of the Lady Ice Lions' reach. Lisle added two assists to pace the Flames' output.

The second of those assists came during the third period, a circling centering feed buried by Shelby Burden, although a tied final 20 minutes offered mild encouragement for the PSU side, as that goal and O'Connor's were the only two of the frame.

Penn State is now 1-8-0 this season, and 0-7-0 in ACHA contests, and will return home next weekend for a series with ECWHL rival Rhode Island. Game times are set for 10:15 p.m. on Friday and 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, with the latter game taking place at Galactic Ice in Altoona, PA.

Box Score

First Period
1. Liberty, Dana McLeod (Emily John, Tiana Lisle), 10:33; 2. Liberty, Chelsey Greenwood (Aly Morris), 3:45.
1. Penn State, Syd Foy (2:00 tripping), 6:00; 2. Liberty, Vanessa DeMerchant (2:00 high sticking), 2:14.
Second Period
3. Liberty, Alex Smibert (Vanessa DeMerchant, Deena Birney), 16:26; 4. Liberty, Holly Turner (Shannon Fehr), 13:14; 5. Liberty, Mackenzie Carroll (Shelby Bradford, Emily John), 8:48; 6. Liberty, Tiana Lisle (Rachel Gibson, Aly Morris), 8:21; 7. Liberty, Rachel Gibson (Shelby Bradford, Mackenzie Carroll), 3:06 (power play).
3. Penn State, Meghan Miller (2:00 high sticking), 11:48; 4. Penn State, Rachel Kapoian (2:00 hooking), 3:51; 5. Liberty, Shelby Burden (2:00 tripping), 2:44.
Third Period
8. Liberty, Shelby Burden (Tiana Lisle), 6:29; 9. Penn State, Riley O'Connor (Sarah McGillicuddy).
6. Penn State, Sophie Paolizzi (2:00 tripping), 10:43; 7. Liberty, Tiana Lisle (2:00 body checking), 2:46; 8. Penn State, Crosby Deliman (2:00 hooking), 2:04; 9. Penn State, Kate Lombardozzi (2:00 body checking), 0:00.
Penn State: Emma Shannon: L, 44 saves/52 shots. Liberty: Kelly Hutton: W, 10 saves/11 shots.

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