Friday, March 8, 2013

ACHA WD2: Penn State 3 vs. UW-Stout 1

Mandy Mortach scored twice to help Penn State to 2-0-0 at nationals

For the second consecutive day, the Women's Ice Hockey Club took down one of the West Region's top seeds at the ACHA National Championships in Ashburn, VA. Following up Thursday's 2-1 win over No. 1 Alaska, Friday morning's victim was No. 2 Wisconsin Stout - the defending national champions - by a 3-1 count.

With the win, Penn State improves to 2-0-0 in the tournament's preliminary round and also owns tiebreaker advantages over two key contenders. While a berth in Saturday's semifinals is not yet assured, it's fair to say that the team has taken a few giant steps towards that end.

Katie Vaughan was once again outstanding in goal, making 34 saves in all and stealing the show during a first period that saw the Blue Devils rifle 17 shots at the PSU cage. Elizabeth Denis also played a pivotal role, drawing a penalty while killing a Tara Soukup checking call to end one particularly hairy stretch.

After Denis' shorthanded work, the ice evened out and Devon Fisk capitalized with a dirty goal off of a scramble in front to give PSU an unexpected 1-0 lead with 3:28 left in the first period. Vaughan preserved the it with a gem of a save on Madeline Meister's rebound try in the last minute, moving right to left to get her glove on the puck.

The WIHC came on well to open the second period, aided by a power play bridging intermission and, after Stout again managed to tilt the ice, PSU began to exploit the Devils vertically. Carly Szyszko was stoned by Stout goalie Kaye Collier on a late second period breakaway, but on the ensuing faceoff, great in-zone puck movement led to Mandy Mortach's deflection goal off of Allie Rothman's shot from just inside the line for a 2-0 lead. Just 3:29 later, Szyszko got a measure of revenge when she swung behind the net off of left wing and fed Mortach for her second goal, from nearly an identical spot in the middle of the slot.

The third period was an exercise in killing 17 minutes with a 3-0 lead, aided by three Stout penalties over the first 12 minutes. However, with 6:37 to go, Kara Fritsche cut the lead to 3-1 when she weaved a backhander from the right circle through heavy traffic. A tripping call to Taylor Nyman with 2:45 left - combined with the Devils pulling Collier for an extra skater - led to a frantic final two minutes, but Penn State held resolute.

After a short break, the WIHC will return to the rink this afternoon for a 5:30 matchup with 0-2-0 North Dakota State in the final game of the preliminary round. While a win probably won't be essential for advancement to Saturday's semifinals, it may still end up as an important game in terms of seeding.


Here are Penn State's goals.

Box Score

First Period
1. Penn State, Devon Fisk (unassisted), 13:32.
1. Penn State, Tara Soukup (2:00 body checking), 6:55; 2. UW-Stout, Allie Belanger (2:00 roughing), 8:10.
Second Period
2. Penn State, Mandy Mortach (Allie Rothman, Taylor Nyman), 11:10; 3. Penn State, Mandy Mortach (Carly Szyszko, Jacqueline Saideh), 14:39.
3. Penn State, Devon Fisk (2:00 holding), 4:34; 4. Penn State, Devon Fisk (2:00 body checking), 12:17; 5. UW-Stout, Sage Paletta (2:00 tripping), 15:36.
Third Period
4. UW-Stout, Kara Fritsche (Abby Cornelius, Lily Cranston), 10:23.
6. UW-Stout, Allie Belanger (2:00 high sticking), 7:26; 7. UW-Stout, Kara Fritsche (2:00 elbowing), 11:17; 8. UW-Stout, Alex Westman (2:00 tripping), 11:52; 9. UW-Stout, Alex Westman (10:00 misconduct), 11:52; 10. Penn State, Devon Fisk (2:00 holding), 11:52; 11. Penn State, Taylor Nyman (2:00 tripping), 14:15.
Penn State: Katie Vaughan: W, 34 saves/35 shots. UW-Stout: Kaye Collier: L, 24 saves/27 shots.

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