Syracuse women’s hockey loses to Penn State 4-3 in OT

PSU tops Syracuse in OT 4-3

Abby Moloughney nets two goals as Orange pick up one point in extra-time loss.
Published: December 11, 2020
Syracuse goaltender prepares to defend the Orange goal before the faceoff during a game against Penn State on Dec. 11, 2020 at Tennity Ice Pavillion.
Syracuse goaltender Allison Small prepares to defend the Orange crease before a faceoff during Friday's game against Penn State at Tennity Ice Pavilion.

Coming off a weekend doubleheader in Happy Valley that ended in a loss and a tie, the Syracuse women’s ice hockey team welcomed Penn State to the Tennity Ice Pavilion for another doubleheader on home ice.

The Nittany Lions held control early, and Orange goaltender Allison Small saw her first shot of the game less than a minute in. But right wing Victoria Klimek gathered the rebound and took the puck down the ice for a shot of her own, a familiar sight on the Syracuse side of the puck this season.

Much of the first period ticked away as the teams went back and forth, fighting for control. After a few solid chances for the Orange, play moved back the other way towards Small, where, with commotion in front of the net, Maeve Connolly pushed the puck past Small off a pass from Amy Dobson. The Nittany Lions took the early lead with 3:49 remaining in the period.

Syracuse was unable to score in the leftover time and headed to the locker room down by one, but outshooting Penn State 11-10.

Emma Polaski had a chance to tie the game off the second period faceoff but hit the crossbar instead. Penn State responded with a high shot of their own before the game settled back into the same back-and-forth pattern from the first period.

At 6:06 in the middle frame, Tatum White sent a pass from Abby Moloughney past the Nittany Lions’ goaltender to tie the game at one-a-piece. The goal was later credited to Moloughney, with an assist from White.

Small continued to stand on her head, stopping a barrage of PSU shots. Captain Jessica DiGirolamo – who is already spending extra time on the ice as Syracuse is down on defense – controlled the puck end-to-end to give her tired team a change and take the pressure off Small for a brief moment.

Syracuse women's ice hockey Jessica DiGirolamo keeps the puck away from defenders during a game against Penn State on Dec. 11, 2020 at Tennity Ice Pavillion
Jessica DiGirolamo keeps the puck away from defenders during Friday's game against Penn State at Tennity Ice Pavilion.

DiGirolamo’s hard work was rewarded. With 6:21 remaining in the period, she took the puck around the circle, evading several Penn State attempts to knock it away, and sailed a shot from just in front of the blue line past Penn State’s Josie Bothun to put the Orange up 2-1.

Syracuse wasn’t quite ready to go into another intermission up just one goal. After her assist on the first goal, Moloughney scored another goal with less than two minutes remaining to give Syracuse a 3-1 lead heading into the third.

It didn’t take long for the Nittany Lions to get back in the game, scoring their second goal of the game 45 seconds into the final frame to move within one. It was in the third period that each team saw their first penalties in the game, and both were killed off. Then, almost halfway through the period, Penn State tied the game at three each with 10:31 remaining in regulation.

With 3:19 left, the Nittany Lions were awarded a penalty shot, but Small easily shut it down to keep the game even. At the end of three periods of play, the game headed to overtime tied at three, earning Syracuse at least one point.

Seconds into the extra frame, Penn State stole the puck and went down ice on a breakaway. The shot hit Small in the chest and she pushed it aside to be collected by her defense. With 1:13 left in overtime, Penn State took the puck down ice and sent a shot past Small for the 4-3 overtime win.

The Orange lost steam in the final period – and in extra time. Penn State outshot Syracuse 12-6 in the third period and 4-1 in the overtime. Of Cuse’s 29 shots, Moloughney and White each had five, with Klimek and Lauren Bellefontaine not far behind with three apiece.

This isn’t the first time Syracuse has given up a two-goal lead and then lost the game. As for how to handle that, head coach Paul Flagan says they are still trying to figure out what causes these issues.

“Physiologically, how is this happening? Is it just we’re not in shape, we’re not working hard enough or are they mental mistakes?” said Flanagan. “I think it’s a little bit of both. We don’t want to dwell on it too much. We as a staff and obviously the kids are well aware…it’s not a news bulletin that that’s happened three times.”

Even though Syracuse played a tighter game tonight, Flanagan is also focused on what happens away from the puck, pointing to the two tripping calls against his team. On the puck, he’s got a lot of players getting involved and putting up points.

The Orange face Penn State again Saturday at 3 p.m. at Tennity Ice Pavilion.

Avatar for Alyssa Hertel

is the Sports Lead Producer for The NewsHouse.