HARMAR TWP., Pa — College hockey finally returned in Pittsburgh last weekend, with mixed results around the region. The Pitt Panthers get off to a rough start in the women’s game while their men’s D2 team started hot, the IUP Crimson Hawks split their opening weekend, and yet another thrilling overtime game between the Duquesne Dukes and West Virginia Mountaineers (if you’re keeping score at home, that’s twice in the last three matchups that have gone to overtime between the clubs). Meanwhile, Slippery Rock got off to a rocky start with their opening series against Navy, dropping both games at UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex on Friday and Saturday nights.
Duquesne traveled to Morgantown to take on College Hockey Mid-America rival West Virginia and escaped with an OT victory.
West Virginia jumped out to a 1-0 lead just over halfway into the first period on a goal by Eric Keefe and took that lead into the intermission. In the second, the teams swapped goals with a West Virginia power play goal by JP Sawyer with 15 minutes to play and the Dukes responding with a goal 28 seconds later by PJ Breslow.
Early into the third period, former Mountaineer and current Duquesne forward Martin Hubert tied the game at two goals apiece. Hubert would eventually be the overtime hero for the Dukes with a 1-on-1 chance and a shot between the legs of West Virginia goaltender Ryan Wickiser with 1:45 left to play of the five minute overtime period.
• Later on Saturday night, the Pitt women’s season got off to a rocky start with a 6-1 loss against in-state rival Penn State. The Nittany Lions looked to be in control for most of the first period, moving the puck at will against a Panthers defense that seemed slow to the puck and timid in their passing.
The Lions got on board just before the midway point of the first period on a goal by Rachel Cole. Cole picked the top left corner of the net and let one fly just over the shoulder of freshman goaltender Katie Rerko. A few minutes later, Pitt looked to be getting some momentum in their offensive zone for the first time when Ailish Fallon was called for a slashing penalty. Although the Panthers would kill off the penalty, the team was visibly deflated with the abrupt end to what could have been a promising attack.
Midway through the second period, forward Meghan Miller doubled Penn State’s lead on a Lions power play. They added another with seven and a half minutes to go in the second by Crosby Deliman before the Panthers got one back with just under two minutes to play on a goal by Kristine Earl. The Panthers had several chances in front of the net throughout the period.
The third period brought a barrage of chances for the Nittany Lions. They put two quick shots into the back of the net midway through the period by Sophie Paolizzi and Delaney Hucker. Crosby Deliman netted her second of the game with just under four minutes to play to put Penn State up by five.
Later that night, the Pitt men’s D2 team faced the Akron Zips, led by freshman goaltender Graham Purnell, a Hampton native and Shady Side Academy graduate. Unfortunately, his homecoming would not be one to remember, as he faced 39 shots through the first two periods, allowing six goals.
He was replaced by Zach Maxwell for the third period, but Maxwell was quickly barraged with 19 shots, allowing three goals. Overall, seven different Panthers scored goals and 14 Panthers had points in the contest. Goaltender Chase McKellar saved all 10 shots he faced from an Akron roster that only dressed 10 skaters and two goaltenders.
The Panthers women were able to hold their own more efficiently against Penn State, but still fell to the Lions, 1-0. They will open College Hockey East play next weekend at Buffalo. Their next home game will be a conference game on Oct. 5 at 9:25 p.m. against rival Cal U at Alpha Ice Complex.
Friday, September 21:
Duquesne vs. Towson, 6:30 p.m., Alpha Ice Complex
Robert Morris at Mercyhurst, 7:00 p.m., Mercyhurst Ice Center
West Virginia vs. Temple, 7:00 p.m., Morgantown Ice Arena
Pitt (D2) vs. Maryland, 9:20 p.m., Alpha Ice Complex
Slippery Rock vs. Trine, 9:30 p.m., UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex
Saturday, September 22:
Duquesne vs. Towson, 11;45 a.m., Alpha Ice Complex
West Virginia vs. Temple, 4:00 p.m., Morgantown Ice Arena
Pitt (D2) vs. Maryland, 7:20 p.m., Alpha Ice Complex
Slippery Rock vs. Trine, 9:05 p.m., UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex