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Alumni Update: Jackie Saideh




THEN

A member of the class that helped re-launch Penn State’s ACHA women’s team as freshmen in 2012-13, Massachusetts native Jackie Saideh went on to become one of the program's most important players on and off the ice. On it, the forward was known for flexibility (she played defense as a freshman, then again in spots as a senior), grit, and a penchant for big goals that often came in bunches (her career scoring output was neatly bookended by hat tricks). Arguably, none of her points were bigger than a dirty power play tally that keyed an upset of top-ranked defending national champion Miami on January 18, 2015. Saideh also represented a key part of the organization’s leadership as an upperclassman. The two-time winner of the team’s Billie S. Willits Player’s Player award was an alternate captain and vice president as a junior, then captain and president as a senior in 2015-16.

Major: Management, specializing in Leadership and Organizational Management

Favorite Penn State hockey memory: "Hands down the win over Miami my junior year. That game was the best game I have ever been lucky enough to be a part of. The upset, combined with locker room dance party after the win, makes it incomparable to any other game during my Penn State career."

Favorite Penn State non-hockey memory: "I honestly don't think I can pick just one. From participating in THON, to tailgating football games with friends, teammates, [former head coach] Pat [Fung] and even Jay [Horgas, who referees PSU’s home games], to meeting people I can't imagine my life without, all of my Penn State memories are incredible."

NOW

Home: Charlestown, Massachusetts

Career: "I work for the Boston Red Sox (shocking I know), as an Inside Sales Representative. I mostly sell season tickets for the team."

Saideh has an unexpected connection to a photo Delaware players took during a 2013 visit to Pegula Ice Arena

Outside of work/current hockey involvement: "I play in the South Shore Women's Hockey League, for the Lady Sting. Fun Fact: A girl on my team now is the girl from Delaware - Sam Testa - who was in the infamous picture against the boards, of [then-UD teammate Katrina Anderson] pouring pasta sauce into her mouth. She's the one laying on the ice."

Saideh on the field of famed Fenway Park, where she works for the Boston Red Sox

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Shannon, O'Connor Help PSU Sink Mercyhurst Late, 3-0

Riley O'Connor scored twice for the Lady Ice Lions



Emma Shannon made 19 saves to record her first collegiate shutout, and received the support of a pair of goals by Riley O'Connor as well as one from Katelyn Trask, as the Lady Ice Lions defeated Mercyhurst 3-0 on Friday night in Pegula Ice Arena.

Although the game was unsanctioned, as the Lakers are not yet a full ACHA member, the victory improves Penn State's overall record to 2-12-0 headed into the semester break.

MU, despite being a first-year team, has tracked impressively in their games against ACHA opposition so far. They split with PSU back in October, of course, and swept D1's Ohio State last weekend. On the D2 side, the Lakers boast wins over Pittsburgh (a team that, of course, features former Lady Ice Lions Emma Embar and Katie Pucci) as well as a Delaware squad that is presently ranked first in the division's east region.

For 40 minutes of Friday's contest, Mercyhurst continued to show that they will fit in nicely as an eventual ACHA member, battling Penn State to a 0-0 stalemate, despite a narrow 17-12 PSU shots on goal advantage.

Both teams certainly had great opportunities to get on the board buried within those 29 shots. O'Connor had one notable miss from the doorstep off of Trask's centering feed midway through the first period, while Meghan Miller fired off the post a couple minutes later after a nice dangle around the Laker defense. The always-dangerous Sarah McGillicuddy parked a shorthanded partial breakaway wide late in the second. In between the Miller and McGillicuddy attempts, Mercyhurst's Maddy Kessy nearly capitalized on a turnover in front of Shannon that caused the freshman to quickly peek behind her.

Laker goalie Makenna Walp finished with 25 saves, including 17 in those opening two frames.

The Lady Ice Lions, however, finally broke through in the final period to take the win.

Trask got things started with 16:27 remaining in the contest, and just 17 seconds into a body checking call to MU's Hayley VandePol. The sequence opened shortly after a faceoff, when Walp saved a Kate Lombardozzi try and the rebound kicked out to Erin Bonner on right wing. She then gave it to Lombardozzi at the line, Lombardozzi quickly fired it back to Bonner in the corner, and the freshman's subsequent centering feed hit Trask on the doorstep. Trask's redirect squeezed just between Walp's pad and the post for the Rhode Island native's second goal of the year, with both coming on the power play.

A bit later, things got hairy when Sydney Haykel was sent off for hooking with 10:08 left in what was still a 1-0 game. However, Penn State not only killed the penalty, the Lady Ice Lions also got a vital insurance goal nine seconds after it ended when O'Connor pilfered the puck at the Laker line through some visiting team miscommunication, swooped in, and scored.

She added her ninth goal of the campaign - just one shy of her 2015-16 career best - against an empty net with 1:34 to go.

Penn State will now enjoy something of an extended winter break for the holidays, a full six weeks away from game action, before returning against ECWHL rival Massachusetts on January 19th and 20th at Pegula Ice Arena. Game times for that series are tentatively set for 9:30 p.m. and 9:00 p.m., respectively.

Box Score


First Period
Scoring
None.
Penalties
1. Penn State, Sophie Paolizzi (2:00 body checking), 4:22.
Second Period
Scoring
None.
Penalties
2. Penn State, Kate Lombardozzi (2:00 interference), 9:11; 3. Mercyhurst, Hayley VandePol (2:00 slashing), 6:44.
Third Period
Scoring
1. Penn State, Katelyn Trask (Erin Bonner, Kate Lombardozzi), 16:27 (power play); 2. Penn State, Riley O'Connor (unassisted), 7:59; 3. Penn State, Riley O'Connor (unassisted), 1:34 (empty net).
Penalties
4. Mercyhurst, Hayley VandePol (2:00 body checking), 16:44; 5. Penn State, Sydney Haykel (2:00 hooking), 10:08.
Goaltending
Penn State: Emma Shannon: W, 19 saves/19 shots. Mercyhurst: Makenna Walp (59:24): L, 25 saves/27 shots.

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Alumni Update: Nina Elia




THEN

One of Penn State's freshmen as the team was forced to rebuild in 2012-13 following the reorganization of PSU hockey, Nina Elia quickly became known as a gritty glue player who would do anything for the team. On the ice, the Skaneateles, NY native is perhaps best remembered for her double-overtime goal in the ACHA semifinals against defending Division 2 national champion Wisconsin-Stout on March 9, 2013 - the first goal of her life in any context - and for the fact that she never missed a game during her career, save for one semester studying abroad. Elia, an alternate captain as a senior in 2015-16, actually did score one other game-winning goal against a defending national champion during her career. The latter tally helped PSU get revenge on West Chester for the 2013 ACHA final on January 19, 2014, delivering a third Lady Ice Lions win with a tie in four 2013-14 meetings between the teams.

Major: Health Policy and Administration, with a minor in Economics ("hi Lucy Yeatman")

Favorite Penn State hockey memories: "1. Kim [Badorrek]'s third senior night in a row, when she finally decided to leave (joking); 2. The game-winning goal against Wisconsin-Stout; 3. My sophomore year when we went to the championship game versus Iowa State. Before the game my dad gave me a pep talk, and I'll never forget it. We lost that game, but that stuck with me. Shoutout to my parents who went to nearly every game; 4. Playing on Blue Line with Carly [Szyszko] and Jackie [Saideh]."

Favorite Penn State non-hockey memories: "1. Ohio State versus Penn State [football] in 2016 - me Kim and [Kim's eventual husband] Will [Boger] freezing our butts off, but Will cried when Penn State blocked the field goal; 2. Blue and White tailgate weekend every year; 3. Rookie Night 2012, 2013, and 2015; 4. Studying abroad in Italy in 2014."

NOW

Home: Skaneateles, New York

Career: "I work at Upstate University Hospital as a Clerical Specialist in Ophthalmology. Those are a lot of big words that just mean that I work at a hospital in an eye clinic/eye trauma center doing registration, quality, and data reporting. It's a foot in the door for the healthcare industry."

Outside of work/current hockey involvement: "Other than work, I spend the rest of my time in either in the rink or with my personal trainer. I coach a 14U Tier I girls travel team, the Syracuse Nationals. Coaching was what I always wanted to do, really - I found a bucket list I made 10 years ago and the first thing on that list said 'head coach of a girls team.' This is the dream. Here are some fun facts about the team:
  • I was an assistant coach with the 12U girls last year, and a handful of the girls moved up to be on the team this year with me.
  • We won silver in our first tournament of the year at the Oshawa Fall Classic in Oshawa, Ontario, Canada.
  • My assistant coaches are Jeff Grinnals and Allisa Coomey. Does that name sound familiar? It should. Allisa's twin sister Allison Coomey is an assistant coach for Penn State's NCAA team. Small world!
  • The girls are talented, funny, and very coachable and excited to learn. We are focusing a lot on systems work and skills. Honing our forecheck, neutral zone regroup, d-zone coverage, power play (both overload and umbrella), and penalty kill, while still drilling passing, shooting, and edge work.
  • They come from all over central New York to play - a lot of girls drive over an hour to get to practice.
  • Our schedule is highly competitive. We play in Canada, Philadelphia, Providence, Albany, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, and many other places."

Here are photos of Nina with her team (click to enlarge):




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Freshmen Shine on Sunday, but UMass Completes Sweep, 5-2




Freshman Erin Bonner scored her first career goal to add to classmate Sarah McGillicuddy's sixth, but the Lady Ice Lions were once again unable to keep pace with UMass on Sunday morning, as the Minutemen completed a series sweep by a 5-2 count in Amherst, MA.

Penn State, with the defeat, wrapped up its first round of ECWHL competition at 0-4-0, part of a 1-12-0 overall mark. No. 8 UMass, meanwhile, is now tied with Rhode Island for first place with a 2-0-0 league mark and is 9-5-0 overall.

After Hannah Sullivan staked the Minutemen to a 1-0 lead on the power play, McGillicuddy continued her torrid stretch in the latter stages of the first period with another of her specialties: a multi-zone transitional effort that involves walking one or two opposing defensemen. In this case, after taking from Syd Foy, McGillicuddy outraced both Minutemen defenders into their zone down the left side, before sweeping behind them and tucking the puck barely underneath the outstretched left pad of Amber Greene.

Since scoring her first and second career goals at Mercyhurst on October 29th, McGillicuddy has notched all six of her markers over PSU's last eight games.

She is also quickly climbing the ranks of prolific goal-scoring freshmen in recent team history. Since 2006-07 when Alicia Lepore scored an obscene 81 goals as a freshman (a record for all players that will likely live forever), Tess Weaver's 14 in 2011-12 stands as the best rookie total at the ACHA Division 1 level. Riley O'Connor and Claire Gauthier scored nine apiece as freshmen in 2014-15, while Devon Fisk (15), Mandy Mortach (11) and Geneva Wagoner (11) each cracked double digits at the Division 2 level in 2012-13 or 2013-14.

UMass, as was the case all weekend, had a quick answer as Jojo Olson scored her third of what would eventually be four total goals during the series, just 1:29 after McGillicuddy's score, with this one coming through a Kelly Dolan helper.

The Minutemen were productive on the advantage all weekend, finishing 5-for-13 over the two games (while holding PSU to 0-for-11), and they would take advantage of their hot special teams to salt things away during the second period, eventually carrying a 5-1 lead into the intermission.

With O'Connor off for body checking early on, Meghan Lawler gave the home side a 3-1 edge by banging home a backside rebound from Olson, with Kelly DeMarco initially feeding it low. Two Lady Ice Lions penalties later, Sandra Bienkowski sniped top shelf from high between the circles, while Jojo Olson tacked on an even-strength goal with 1:24 remaining on a crisp backhand.

The third period was marred early on by a serious injury to Dolan, who gained a half step behind Trish Cierniak and looked to get an attempt on goaltender Emma Shannon. Cierniak was forced to hook the attacking UMass player, which caused her to tumble into the end boards, where she remained on her back for roughly 20 minutes before being carried off.

Once PSU killed the major penalty tagged to Cierniak for the play, the blue and white played a sturdy final 14 minutes, highlighted by Bonner's goal with 6:36 remaining. McGillicuddy was once again the center of attention for part of the play, earning an assist by dangling to the slot. She momentarily appeared to be broken up by the UMass defense, but the loose puck found the stick of Bonner, who slammed it through Greene to set the contest's final margin at three.

With a tough stretch of nine games over four consecutive weekends completed, the Lady Ice Lions will now enjoy Thankgiving break away from school, before returning to action at 8:00 p.m. on December 8th against Mercyhurst in Pegula Ice Arena.

Box Score


First Period
Scoring
1. Massachusetts, Hannah Sullivan (unassisted), 13:31 (power play); 2. Penn State, Sarah McGillicuddy (Syd Foy), 6:05; 3. Massachusetts, Jojo Olson (Kelly Dolan), 4:36.
Penalties
1. Penn State, Syd Foy (2:00 hooking), 15:08; 2. Massachusetts, Jojo Olson (2:00 interference), 12:21.
Second Period
Scoring
4. Massachusetts, Meghan Lawler (Jojo Olson, Kelly DeMarco), 15:39 (power play); 5. Massachusetts, Sandra Bienkowski (Hannah Sullivan, Meredith Gallagher), 4:14 (power play); 6. Massachusetts, Jojo Olson (Olivia Knight), 1:24.
Penalties
3. Penn State, Riley O'Connor (2:00 body checking), 15:52; 4. Penn State, Katelyn Trask (2:00 high sticking), 13:51; 5. Massachusetts, Hannah Sullivan (2:00 tripping), 8:31; 6. Penn State, Sophie Paolizzi (2:00 hit from behind), 4:47.
Third Period
Scoring
7. Penn State, Erin Bonner (Sarah McGillicuddy), 6:36.
Penalties
7. Penn State, Trish Cierniak (5:00 hooking), 18:56; 8. Massachusetts, Bench (2:00 too many players, served by Isabel Aluia), 13:20; 9. Massachusetts, Sandra Bienkowski (2:00 hooking), 11:07; 10. Massachusetts, Gabby Martinez (2:00 interference), 5:01; 11. Penn State, Sarah McGillicuddy (2:00 slashing), 0:59.
Goaltending
Penn State: Emma Shannon: L, 25 saves/30 shots. Massachusetts: Amber Greene: W, 22 saves/24 shots.

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