It’s not about how you start but how you end – that was the case in Penn State’s win over Lindenwood on Friday.
After a lackluster start for Penn State, the Nittany Lions roared to defeat the Lions 5-3.
Penn State delivered a steady dose of attacking in the first period, throwing 18 shots at junior goalie Julia Maguire, but the Blues and Whites came away empty-handed in the first.
After a few scoring opportunities for both teams, Lindenwood found the back of the net 5:44 into the game on a shot from second-year forward Kaitlin Finnegan.
In the waning phases of the first set, the Lions added to their advantage on a shot from junior forward Gigi Pora.
The intensity increased significantly to kick off the middle 20 minutes. Checking became important as Penn State tried to make their way through the contest.
A third eventful period followed as the Nittany Lions got down to work in the attacking zone. In two minutes and forty-nine seconds, Penn State scored three goals.
Junior winger Julie Gough scored the Nittany Lions’ first goal early in the period.
Sophomore Alyssa Machado scored seconds later on a redirection of the stick from senior defenseman Izzy Heminger to tie the game.
The Nittany Lions then took their first lead of the night on a shot from junior defenseman Mallory Uihlein.
Penn State didn’t finish as it sent the score 4-2 on a shorthanded goal from sophomore Kiara Zanon.
Lindenwood cut the deficit in half with a power play goal from graduate student Valerie Caldwell.
To top off the night, fifth-year senior captain Natalie Heising netted a goal into an empty net to give the Nittany Lions a 5-3 victory.
Here are the three biggest takeaways from the game.
Gough stays hot
Gough continued his offensive excellence, starting the return of the Blues and Whites.
For Gough, this is his sixth goal in as many games. His count was a redirected shot into the low lunge on a game originally started on Heminger’s stick.
Gough has now registered six goals and three assists for nine points in his last six games.
Gough’s goal helped Penn State gain ground in the final frame and ultimately secure the victory.
The woes of the defensive zone
The blues and whites have coughed the puck early and often to generate and instill confidence in Lindenwood.
Turnovers plagued the Nittany Lions at their own end, and on the other side, Lindenwood scored two goals in Game 1 thanks to freebies from the Penn State defense.
The inability to clear their own area left Penn State vulnerable to the ferocious forward failure of the visiting Lions.
The inconsistent play led to a vulnerable second year Josie Bothun in the net for the Nittany Lions.
Izzy Heminger 100th game
The senior defenseman from Dublin, Ohio skated in her 100th collegiate game in Game 1 of the series.
It didn’t start out the way Heminger had hoped, as Penn State was lagging behind in the contest and was suffocated by Lindenwood’s Maguire.
She made her presence known in the game with the only assist on the tying goal early in the third period.
Although Penn State didn’t take the opportunity on the power play, Heminger kept the puck on the blue line to keep Lindenwood’s tired bodies on the ice.
A special night for the defender ended on a high note as Heminger played solid both ways all night for coach Jeff Kampersal’s side.
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