The St. Lawrence University women's hockey team earned a weekend sweep of Penn State University on Saturday, as the Saints skated to a 4-2 victory over the Nittany Lions at Appleton Arena. First-year student Jenna Marks had a three-assist game to pace the Scarlet and Brown to a win in their final game of 2012.
St. Lawrence improved to 10-7-1 after outshooting their opponents 58-17 including a 19-2 edge in the second period. Meanwhile, the Nittany Lions fall to 5-12-1 despite a brilliant 54-save outing from goaltender Nicole Paniccia.
"I thought that was another solid effort to end the semester," said St. Lawrence head coach Chris Wells. "We really played with a ton of energy and jump. Paniccia was really fun to watch in the net as she gave a fantastic effort."
St. Lawrence was backstopped again by rookie goaltender Giulia Mazzocchi, who made 15 saves to earn the victory. The Saints also won the special teams battle, going 2-for-3 on the power play while keeping Penn State quiet on their power play tries (0-for-2).
Penn State cracked the scoreboard first despite St. Lawrence controlling most of the offensive chances in the opening stanza. Shannon Yoxheimer got the puck deep to Taylor Gross, and though Mazzocchi was able to save Gross' bid, the rebound came to the far post where Jess Desorcie was waiting to tap home the rebound. Desorcie's fourth of the season came at 13:44 and gave Penn State its first lead of the weekend.
That lead would last only 1:32, however, as the home team responded at 15:18 to level the scoring at 1-1. Sophomore Amanda Boulier found Marks in the slot, who quickly shuffled a pass to Kayla Raniwsky at the top of the crease for her fourth goal of the year to cap the first period scoring.
St. Lawrence, which finished with a 24-10 lead in shots after 20:00, continued to pressure Paniccia throughout the second period. Though the junior goalie did all she could, the Saints took a 2-1 lead on the power play at 11:42. Marks again got the play started in the offensive zone, finding Mel Desrochers inside the blue line. The Welland, ON native hammered a slap shot that Paniccia slowed down, but couldn't stop from crossing the goal line for Desrochers' first of the season.
Penn State did well to get out of the second period trailing just 2-1, but saw that deficit grow to 3-1 at 8:10 of the third period. First-year Kailee Heidersbach was able to sneak the puck behind Paniccia at the far post for her sixth of the year, with Raniwsky and Marks assisting.
The Nittany Lions would make it a game at 11:51, taking advantage of a Saint turnover in the defensive end. Hannah Hoenshell took the puck away from a defender and backhanded a shot by Mazzochi's glove for an unassisted goal to bring the score to 3-2.
A slashing call against Jeannette Bateman with only 2:39 remaining in regulation would stifle Penn State's comeback effort. The Saints' power play added an insurance goal 50 seconds into the penalty, as Amanda Boulier blitzed a shot from outside the circle that trickled through Paniccia's pads and into the net for the 4-2 lead. Junior Rylee Smith assisted on the goal that ensured the home team's victory.
St. Lawrence will be in action again on Thursday and Friday, January 3 and 4 when they host Hockey East foes Northeastern and Boston College. Penn State will host Chatham on January 4 and 5 to get 2013 underway.