Younger Players Contribute to Penn State Victory over RIT
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State (5-8-4, 1-3-1) got off to a slow start but then scored just before the end of the first period and twice in the second period to win 3-0 over RIT (4-9-2, 1-4) on Friday night at Pegula Ice Arena.
It was a defensive battle throughout the entire first period, as neither team was able to find its footing offensively. Freshman Mikayla Lantto changed that, as she scored her first career goal at the 19:24 mark of the first period to put the Nittany Lions in front 1-0.
“Mikayla’s goal right before the end of the first period was big,” Penn State head coach Jeff Kampersal said. “[Penn State] had an off first period and they regrouped. That goal was a big part.”
The second period got off to a much better start, as Penn State went on the offensive. CHA Rookie of the Month Mallory Uihlein became the second Nittany Lion of the night to score her first career goal: a shorthanded score that put Penn State up 2-0 at the 6:40 mark of the second period.
“I just saw the open ice and saw a shooting lane,” Uihlein said. “I just shot it and it went in. Good things happen when you shoot the puck.”
Natalie Heising then converted a power-play goal for the Nittany Lions at the 11:40 mark of the third period, which led to RIT pulling starting goalie Jessi O’Leary in favor of Tara Lanteigne.
It was one of the best nights of the season for the Penn State defense, as it allowed only 17 shots and kept RIT to 0-for-3 on the power play.
Nittany Lion goaltender Chantal Burke posted her fifth shutout of the season, which is tied for first in the nation, and made some tough saves to keep the Tigers from finding the back of the net.
“We are a very defensive team,” Burke said. “That makes it easier for me. It’s all about my teammates, they do a lot for my success.”
The Nittany Lions will use this win as a confidence booster for an extremely young team that is still finding its footing but has a lot to be excited about with the younger players starting to contribute.
“We have good young players,” Kampersal said. “We don’t like to look too ahead to the future. Our main focus is always on the next game. But I love that we have freshman contributing.”
Penn State and RIT will be back on the ice tomorrow for Game 2 of this series. Puck drop is at 3 p.m. at Pegula Ice Arena. It is the Nittany Lions’ final game before the holiday break.
Kevin McConlogue is a senior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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