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Minutewomen drop weekend contests to Penn State

Despite an evenly played game on both sides, the Massachusetts women’s club hockey team fell to Penn State both Friday night and Saturday afternoon.

Saturday’s game started off strong for the Minutewomen, who after controlling the puck for the majority of the first half, struck first. Freshman Heather Paonessa scored her first collegiate goal at the 10 minute, five second mark. She struggled for the puck in front of the net and slid it past the Lady Icer’s defensive line and goalie Heather Rossi to put UMass in the lead.

Penn State stayed quiet until the final minute of the game, when senior Alicia Lepore lifted the puck over freshman goalkeeper Kelsey Magrane’s shoulder and into the net to tie the game.

The Minutewomen came out motivated into the second period, with three shots on goal in the first minute. After dominating in the Lady Icer’s defensive zone for the first eight minutes, senior captain Hayley Kuhn took an assist from freshman Brittany Resendes and put the puck past the goalkeeper to once again give UMass the lead.

Penn State capitalized on a power play at the 10:59 mark, when it took just three seconds to skate down to the Minutewomen goal and tie the game at two apiece.

The third period was aggressively played by both teams, with four penalties handed out for tripping and hooking. However, UMass could not capitalize on scoring opportunities. The game remained tied and evenly played for 17 minutes of the period until two Minutewomen players were sent to the penalty box. Despite holding on for over a minute, Penn State took advantage of the five-on-three power play, and Julie Horn scored with 1:28 left in the game.

UMass coach Chris Cobb gave credit to Penn State for capitalizing on the scoring opportunities that his team did not.

“They [Penn State] took advantage of power play opportunities” Cobb said.

UMass was unable to find the equalizing goal, giving the Lady Icer’s the 3-2 victory.

“I’m not disappointed” Cobb said. “We really dominated, and we were clearly the best team on the ice.”

The shots on goal were proof of UMass’ domination, with the Minutewomen outshooting Penn State, 43-18.

Friday’s 2-0 loss was similar to Saturday’s loss in that UMass was able to control the first two periods but were unable to score.

The Lady Icers opened up scoring in the eighth minute with a goal by Lepore. Three minutes later, Kristen Evans produced a second goal. The Minutewomen could not find the equalizing scores, giving Penn State the victory.

Magrane played strong, saving 24 shots in the first two periods to keep UMass in the game. She saved a total of 56 goals in the two games over the weekend.

Freshman Heather Paonessa stood out to Cobb as a player who worked hard and gave a good effort on the ice.

“She played a great game and scored her first goal” Cobb said.

The Minutewomen offense, which had not produced a goal until Saturday’s game, stepped up in its offensive attack. A total of 76 shots were stopped by Penn State’s defense.

UMass will travel to Rhode Island to face Nichols College Wednesday night at 7:30 p.m. Nichols is a powerhouse NCAA Division III team that is sure to pose new challenges to the Minutewomen.

“We need to produce and work on scoring goals” Cobb said. “Up to this point we have mostly focused on defense. We now need to improve on offense.”

Geena Lombardi can be reached at glombard@student.umass.edu.

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