NEVILLE TWP., PA — Jessica Adolfsson scored two goals before getting ejected late as the Nittany Lions completed the sweep of Robert Morris, defeating the Colonials 4-1 on Saturday afternoon at Clearview Ice Arena. For Robert Morris it was their first time being swept by a conference opponent in just under five years.
Maeve Connolly opened the scoring for the Nittany Lions at 8:13 of the first, and the two teams gridlocked for the remainder of the opening frame.
Adolfsson’s first came only 33 seconds into the second frame, moments after Emily Curlett took a questionable spill into the boards that lead to the ire of coach Paul Colontino. Julie Gough’s tripping minor on the ensuing face-off was enough for the Colonials to cash in on the power-play, as Wasyn Rice found a loose puck at the bottom of the circle and deposited it to cut the Penn State lead to one. Maggie Burbidge’s hit on Adolfsson gave the Nittany Lions a 5-on-3 power-play, and the junior blasted one past Arielle DeSmet to restore the two-goal lead.
An apparent second goal by the Colonials was waved off in the third as Marah Wagner and Templeman were battling in the slot, and before Wagner slipped the puck through Bothun’s pads the netminders blocker became dislodged. Adolfsson and Burbidge had one final run-in late in the third: as the Colonials power-play was coming to a close Adolfsson took the sophomore into the corner hard, resulting in a five-minute major and a game misconduct.
“I thought we came out great in the first period,” Colontino said post-game. “It was tough to go down that first goal, to their credit they capitalized and scored a nice goal. As with any game there are momentum swings. I thought our fight was good.”
There was always room for growth, however.
“I like the resilience, I like the fight. We are kind of young in some senses. I have to give credit where credit is due. Penn State was fantastic this weekend.”
Kiara Zanon scored an empty net goal late in the game to cap the scoring on the day.
ADVERSITY RISES IN THE SECOND
A scary situation happened in the opening minutes of the second period, as Curlett got tangled up with a Nittany Lions forward and ended up face-first in the boards. Tempers flared from the Colonials bench as Paul Colontino and the officiating crew exchanged words in the empty rink.
“I thought the players handled it better than I did,” Colontino said. “You know that’s my job. Its a tough play and those are momentum swings. All sorts of things during the course the game, good things, bad things. You have to be able to handle them and play through them. I think they players did a nice job. I think it was tough for them, but they did a nice job.”
“To give credit where credit is due Penn State played a great weekend of hockey,” Emily Curlett said. “Despite the fact that this weekend of course wasn’t the outcome we were looking for as a team, we worked extremely hard as a group regardless of the situation on the ice. I don’t believe at any point we were ever out of the game, and against a good team the biggest difference is in the little details that we will work to iron out going into next weekend. Just like our coaches reiterate- hockey is an imperfect game and as long as we persevere as a group towards the same goal, we will clean up our game and continue improving as the season goes on. “
SINGING THE BLUES
The weekend sweep was the first by the Colonials by an opponent, as they hadn’t experienced twin-defeats since February 12-13th on the road against Syracuse- a series that followed their last home conference sweep at the hands of Mercyhurst.
Speaking of the Lakers, they’ll be the next opponent for the Colonials in 2021 as the series opens up with a 4:05 matchup at the Mercyhurst Ice Center on Friday before heading back to the Island for the back-half of the home-and-home. Face-off is scheduled for 2:05 p.m. on Saturday for that game.