|2nd||4:16||MIN||1-0||PP GW||Milica McMillen (1)||Kelly Pannek/1, Cara Piazza/1|
|3rd||19:04||MIN||2-0||EV EN||Sarah Potomak (1)||-|
|Shots on Goal||1st||2nd||3rd||SOG|
|Team Stats and Records||PP||PIM||SHGF|
|Penn State (0-1-0)||0/1||1/2||0|
|Amanda Leveille (W, 1-0-0)||60:00||0||12||3||5||20|
|Penn State Goaltending||MIN||GA||1||2||3||Saves|
|Celine Whitlinger (L, 0-1-0)||58:51||1||8||18||15||41|
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Amanda Leveille made 20 saves and Milica McMillen scored the game winning-goal as the No. 1 University of Minnesota women's hockey team opened the 2015-16 season with a 2-0 win on the road at Penn State Thursday night.
The defending national champion Golden Gophers held a 1-0 lead on McMillen's second-period power-play goal until Sarah Potomak sealed the win with an empty-net goal in the final minute. Meanwhile, Leveille earned her 23rd career shutout as Minnesota (1-0-0) outshot the Nittany Lions, 43-20.
"We're used to teams playing us extremely hard," head coach Brad Frost said. "We know that we're going to get everybody's best effort and that's what we got from Penn State tonight."
Penn State (0-1-0) had a 12-8 edge in shots on goal over the opening period, but neither team could find the back of the net. Minnesota then took a 1-0 lead early in the middle frame when sophomores Cara Piazza and Kelly Pannek set up McMillen's eventual game-winner on the power play with 15:44 remaining in the period.
Hannah Brandt started the scoring play by feeding Pannek down low. Pannek's shot bounced around in the slot, and Piazza controlled the rebound back to Pannek behind the PSU net. Pannek one-timed the puck to McMillen at the back door, where she beat Whitlinger glove-side to give the Gophers the 1-0 lead.
Despite outshooting the Nittany Lions, 35-8, over the second two periods, the Gophers could not solve Whitlinger again. PSU pulled the senior netminder for the extra attacker, and Potomak recorded her first goal and point as a Gopher with 56.8 seconds remaining when she stole the puck in the PSU end and fired it into the empty net.
"The key for our team is just to continue to stay with it and not get frustrated, and continue to push the pace, and I thought they did that," Frost said. "You'd much rather by up two or three goals, but it's good for our team, especially early on in the year, to play with a one-goal lead and to try to extend it there. We'll see a lot more games like this, but it builds good character to be in tight ones."
Minnesota was one-for-one on the power play while holding Penn State scoreless on its lone opportunity with the man advantage.
The Gophers look for a season-opening series sweep over the Nittany Lions when the teams face off in the series finale at 6 p.m. CT Friday night at PSU's Pegula Ice Arena.