Shannon, O'Connor Help PSU Sink Mercyhurst Late, 3-0

Riley O'Connor scored twice for the Lady Ice Lions

Emma Shannon made 19 saves to record her first collegiate shutout, and received the support of a pair of goals by Riley O'Connor as well as one from Katelyn Trask, as the Lady Ice Lions defeated Mercyhurst 3-0 on Friday night in Pegula Ice Arena.

Although the game was unsanctioned, as the Lakers are not yet a full ACHA member, the victory improves Penn State's overall record to 2-12-0 headed into the semester break.

MU, despite being a first-year team, has tracked impressively in their games against ACHA opposition so far. They split with PSU back in October, of course, and swept D1's Ohio State last weekend. On the D2 side, the Lakers boast wins over Pittsburgh (a team that, of course, features former Lady Ice Lions Emma Embar and Katie Pucci) as well as a Delaware squad that is presently ranked first in the division's east region.

For 40 minutes of Friday's contest, Mercyhurst continued to show that they will fit in nicely as an eventual ACHA member, battling Penn State to a 0-0 stalemate, despite a narrow 17-12 PSU shots on goal advantage.

Both teams certainly had great opportunities to get on the board buried within those 29 shots. O'Connor had one notable miss from the doorstep off of Trask's centering feed midway through the first period, while Meghan Miller fired off the post a couple minutes later after a nice dangle around the Laker defense. The always-dangerous Sarah McGillicuddy parked a shorthanded partial breakaway wide late in the second. In between the Miller and McGillicuddy attempts, Mercyhurst's Maddy Kessy nearly capitalized on a turnover in front of Shannon that caused the freshman to quickly peek behind her.

Laker goalie Makenna Walp finished with 25 saves, including 17 in those opening two frames.

The Lady Ice Lions, however, finally broke through in the final period to take the win.

Trask got things started with 16:27 remaining in the contest, and just 17 seconds into a body checking call to MU's Hayley VandePol. The sequence opened shortly after a faceoff, when Walp saved a Kate Lombardozzi try and the rebound kicked out to Erin Bonner on right wing. She then gave it to Lombardozzi at the line, Lombardozzi quickly fired it back to Bonner in the corner, and the freshman's subsequent centering feed hit Trask on the doorstep. Trask's redirect squeezed just between Walp's pad and the post for the Rhode Island native's second goal of the year, with both coming on the power play.

A bit later, things got hairy when Sydney Haykel was sent off for hooking with 10:08 left in what was still a 1-0 game. However, Penn State not only killed the penalty, the Lady Ice Lions also got a vital insurance goal nine seconds after it ended when O'Connor pilfered the puck at the Laker line through some visiting team miscommunication, swooped in, and scored.

She added her ninth goal of the campaign - just one shy of her 2015-16 career best - against an empty net with 1:34 to go.

Penn State will now enjoy something of an extended winter break for the holidays, a full six weeks away from game action, before returning against ECWHL rival Massachusetts on January 19th and 20th at Pegula Ice Arena. Game times for that series are tentatively set for 9:30 p.m. and 9:00 p.m., respectively.

Box Score

First Period
1. Penn State, Sophie Paolizzi (2:00 body checking), 4:22.
Second Period
2. Penn State, Kate Lombardozzi (2:00 interference), 9:11; 3. Mercyhurst, Hayley VandePol (2:00 slashing), 6:44.
Third Period
1. Penn State, Katelyn Trask (Erin Bonner, Kate Lombardozzi), 16:27 (power play); 2. Penn State, Riley O'Connor (unassisted), 7:59; 3. Penn State, Riley O'Connor (unassisted), 1:34 (empty net).
4. Mercyhurst, Hayley VandePol (2:00 body checking), 16:44; 5. Penn State, Sydney Haykel (2:00 hooking), 10:08.
Penn State: Emma Shannon: W, 19 saves/19 shots. Mercyhurst: Makenna Walp (59:24): L, 25 saves/27 shots.

Penn State Lady Ice Lions: Twitter | Facebook | Instagram