Slow Start Dooms Penn State in Showcase Loss to Davenport

Freshman Sarah McGillicuddy scored for the second straight game

Despite a second straight strong offensive showing, the Penn State Lady Ice Lions were unable to overcome key early lapses, and dropped a 5-4 decision to No. 15 Davenport to open the UMass Showcase in Amherst, MA on Friday night.

The loss dropped PSU to 1-6-0 overall and 0-5-0 within the ACHA.

Davenport struck first - and second - in the contest, taking a 2-0 lead midway through the first period on tallies by Emily Ellis and Laken Kunz off of turnovers by the Lady Ice Lions defense, a situation that established the game's dynamic of Penn State generally being the team in pursuit.

Riley O'Connor managed to get one back late in the opening frame, with DU star Lexie Boydston in the box. On the play, Crosby Deliman worked the puck from high to low to Meghan Miller down the right side. Miller then centered for O'Connor, who jammed home on a third attempt through traffic.

Boydston, however, got payback less than a minute later with a drive from between the circle to restore the two-goal margin into the first intermission. The deficit would be short-lived though, as Sarah McGillicuddy and O'Connor each struck early in the second period to pull PSU back even once more.

McGillicuddy's unassisted marker was a sweeping transitional effort that has quickly become her trademark. While Panthers goalie Julia Gaynor made the initial stop, the freshman followed her own shot and chipped it through on the second attempt. O'Connor's fourth goal in two games - just over a minute later - was another from near the blue paint, a middle-drive rebound finish of a Deliman shot from the right circle.

Despite successfully converting the game's momentum at that point, Davenport had yet another quick answer, 38 seconds after the second O'Connor goal, this time from Olivia Rudberg. Rudberg's dipping try from center point somehow made it through a mess of bodies in front and under the crossbar behind Emma Shannon.

Appropriately enough, DU grabbed their fifth goal, with 6:17 remaining in the third period, off of another turnover. This time, the backbreaking score was Mila Fons feeding Laken Kunz during a power play that saw McGillicuddy off for tripping, for a shot that Shannon initially appeared to have stopped, but instead bounced over her shoulder and barely trickled over the goalline.

Penn State did have one last push, as the blue and white peppered Gaynor in the late going. While Trish Cierniak managed to pull PSU back within one with her first career goal on a drive from the left point with three minutes remaining, she and her teammates were unable to find an equalizer.

Gaynor finished with 41 saves on 45 shots, while Shannon stopped 29 of 34 on the other end.

The Lady Ice Lions will continue showcase action on Saturday afternoon, via a date with tenth-ranked Michigan. Game time is set for 3:00 p.m. from the Mullins Center.

Box Score

First Period
1. Davenport, Emily Ellis (unassisted), 16:06; 2. Davenport, Laken Kunz (Courtney Mulligan), 12:24; 3. Penn State, Riley O'Connor (Meghan Miller), 5:26 (power play); 4. Davenport, Lexie Boydston (Madison Workman, Courtney Mulligan), 4:28.
1. Davenport, Adriannah Letts (2:00 tripping), 15:12; 2. Penn State, Rachel Cole (2:00 cross checking), 10:16; 3. Davenport, Lexie Boydston (2:00 elbowing), 7:26; 4. Davenport, Zoie Amatore (2:00 body checking), 3:21.
Second Period
5. Penn State, Sarah McGillicuddy (unassisted), 15:37; 6. Penn State, Riley O'Connor (Crosby Deliman), 14:24; 7. Davenport, Olivia Rudberg (Adriannah Letts), 13:46.
5. Penn State, Riley O'Connor (2:00 holding), 5:00; 6. Davenport, Amanda Ballestero (2:00 roughing), 5:00.
Third Period
8. Davenport, Laken Kunz (Mila Fons), 6:27 (power play); 9. Penn State, Trish Cierniak (Kate Lombardozzi), 3:01.
7. Penn State, Sarah McGillicuddy (2:00 tripping), 7:07.
Penn State: Emma Shannon: L, 29 saves/34 shots. Davenport: Julia Gaynor: W, 41 saves/45 shots.

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