ROCHESTER, NY The No. 8/8 Penn State women’s hockey team earned its first-ever regular season title from College Hockey America in its 5-0 shutout against RIT Friday afternoon at the Gene Polisseni Center.
Sophomore ahead Julie Gough (Newcastle, Ontario) delivered her hat-trick in her first career and the ninth hat-trick in program history in the historic victory of the Nittany Lions.
Penn State (14-1-2, 14-1-2 CHA) also had freshman goals Olivia Wallin (Oakville, Ontario) and Jess Ciarrocchi (West Chester, Pa.) And freshman goaltender Josie Bothun(Wyoming, Minn.) Completed her third shutout of the season and program-record 14th win behind 13 saves.
“To say that I am proud of this team is a big understatement,” said the head coach Jeff Kampersal“These women have inspired me every day. I am impressed by their discipline, their talent, their willingness to get better every day and their support for each other. Today was a big day for our program, but we have more goals. reach. “
HOW IT HAPPENED
After the action went back and forth for most of the first period, the Nittany Lions struck quickly with two goals just a minute apart late in the first to take a 2-0 lead in the first break.
Wallin then stopped with a rebound at 5:55 PM Alyssa Machado (Mississauga, Ontario) transitioned to Izzy Heminger(Dublin, Ohio) in the lock for a shot to the net that was initially stopped.
Just a minute later, the front section of Penn State doubled the lead Kiara Zanon(Fairport, NY) delivered sales behind the RIT cage and set Gough up for a one-off blast in the net with 1:05 over in the period.
Penn State continued its scoring rise early in the second period with two more goals in the first 2:09 of the period. Gough took her second of the game on the power play at 54 seconds with assists Maeve Connolly (West Roxbury, Mass.) And Zanon.
Just over a minute later, Ciarrocchi scored her second of the season with helpers from Connolly and Amy Dobson (Hamilton, Ontario) to give Penn State the impressive 4-0 lead they would continue into the second break.
Gough completed her hat-trick in the first squad of the third period after tapping a rebound on a wide open cage. Zanon assisted Gough for the third time in a row with the secondary helper and Rachel Weiss had the primary assist.
The Nittany Lions continued their systematic game of owning the puck and making offensive zone entries for RIT, cruising hard to their 14th win of the year and the first-ever regular season title at conference.
GAME NOTES AND STATS
- The Nittany Lions are expanding their schedule-best unbeaten streak to 11 games with the win, the second-best in the country behind only Northeastern (15 games). PSU is 10-0-1 on the trajectory dating back to January 8, 2021 at Robert Morris.
- Earning the regular season title will make Penn State the top seed in the 2021 CHA tournament to be held in Erie, Pa. March 4-6. The Nittany Lions say goodbye to the semi-finals and play the lowest seed on the tournament field on March 5.
- Gough’s hat-trick is the first since by a Nittany Lion Natalie Heising posted her second-career hat-trick on March 5, 2020 against RIT in the CHA tournament.
- Gough’s hot streak continues as she has now scored seven goals in the past four games. She now leads the CHA this season with 10 goals.
- Wallin is just behind Gough with her nine goals and leads all CHA rookies in the scoring category.
- Bothun’s spectacular season continues with her 14 best wins in a season through just 17 career starts. Her GAA improved to 1.31, the second-best in the country among goalkeepers with at least 710 minutes played, and her serve rate rose to .950, currently the seventh-best in the country.
Penn State and RIT will complete their regular season series against each other Saturday at noon.
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