-->

WIHC Breaks THON Fundraising Record, Earns Chance To Supply Dancers

The WIHC hopes to be represented on the floor at THON this year



When Penn State's Dance Marathon, the world's largest student-run philanthropic endeavor, opens on February 17th, there's a chance that the Women's Ice Hockey Club will be represented among its approximately 700 dancers.

The team has raised over $3000 through its THON fundraising efforts this year affording it an entry into a lottery used to choose the dancers. With over 1000 student organizations at Penn State and a limited amount of space on the floor of the event venue, PSU's Bryce Jordan Center, a lottery with a fundraising threshold is necessary to ensure fairness in sifting through the overflowing participation demand.

Kelly Watson, Liz Tuorinsky and Sophie Paolizzi have spearheaded the team's fundraising efforts, and there hasn't been much mystery surrounding the key to their success: pure volume.

Behind the THON leadership group, the team has utilized just about every tool available, from the traditional like canning and THONvelopes, to techniques proven elsewhere but new in this application like a Yankee Candle fundraiser and the most extensive line of team THON clothing ever offered, to just plain, old asking nicely (related to that last method, please consider making a donation to THON using this link).

Good fortune and timing have also played important roles. Typically, the team is unable to fully participate in THON-weekend activities due to it overlapping with the ECWHL playoffs. However this season, the playoffs are scheduled for February 24th through 26th, one week after THON. All of those factors have added up to what, by all accounts, in an organizational fundraising record.

Paolizzi and Watson will be the WIHC dancers, should the team's lottery ticket prove a winner. The chances of that outcome increase with every additional $600 raised in the team's name so, once again, any and all donations are sincerely appreciated.

The results of the lottery will be announced on January 28th. But, regardless of the outcome, the above-and-beyond efforts of the 2016-17 membership in fighting pediatric cancer will be a benchmark for a long time to come.

Penn State Lady Ice Lions: Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

Dunne Selected for United States National University Team Roster

Cassie Dunne (second from left) was picked to travel to the World University Games tournament



Senior defenseman Cassie Dunne has been selected for the 2017 U.S. National University Team's final roster, USA Hockey announced on Tuesday.

The team will compete at the 2017 World University Games women's hockey tournament, held Janurary 28th through February 6th in Almaty, Kazakhstan.

The 21-player group heading overseas was picked from an initial roster of 28 and following an evaluation camp, held in Woodridge, IL and Wentzville, MO from December 28th through 30th. Camp included exhibition games against a Chicago Mission U19 team featuring 16 NCAA Division I commitments and Lindenwood University's NCAA DI program. Dunne, notably and despite heavy usage, was not on the ice for an even strength goal against in either contest, despite the stature of the opposition. She and her fellow defensemen were a crucial component in holding Lindenwood to a 3-0 victory.

"I can sum up my experience at camp with two adjectives: intense and amazing," Dunne said. "On and off the ice my experience was one to remember; the girls, the coaches and the rest of the Team USA staff are talented, amazing people.

"The level of play at camp was intense, fast paced and so much fun. It's hard to put into words the feeling you get when you're on the ice with your teammates and your passes are connecting, your making plays and each player is fighting hard - but it's a feeling you'll remember for the rest of your life."

"I'm thrilled and extremely proud of Cassie for her selection to the United States National University Team," Penn State coach Patrick Fung added. "This is a great honor for her and our program. Watching parts of camp and the exhibition games, I felt Cassie did a great job upping her game and playing within herself to be hockey effective."

Team USA is coached by 1998 Olympic gold medalist Shelley Looney, and her assistants are Scott Hicks (Miami) and Brett Berger (Adrian). USA Hockey's Katie Holmgren is the general manager.

"We'd like to extend our congratulations to coaches Shelley Looney, Scott Hicks, Brett Berger and Ashley Bevan and Katie Holmgren at USA Hockey for their hard work evaluating and selecting this team," Fung said. "They took it to the next level in holding an evaluation camp mid-season and left no stone unturned in finding the right 21 players for this team."

Dunne becomes the sixth Penn State player (and seventh selection, including one two-time member) picked for the U.S. National University Team over the four times USA Hockey has sent a women's team to World University Games. Former Lady Icers coach Mo Stroemel led the first two of those, in 2011 and 2013. Penn State and Michigan State are the only schools that have placed a player on each of the four teams and additionally, PSU remains one of the ACHA's top five programs in terms of the total number of selections.

Lady Ice Lions opponents during the 2016-17 season picked for the team include Maddie Wolsmann and Kelsey Jaeckle (a frequent defense partner of Dunne's at camp) from the aforementioned Michigan State team, as well as Brittani Lanzilli and Amber Greene from Massachusetts, and Britt Levasseur, Jessie Rushing and Sabrena Camp from Adrian.

Following a January 25th departure, Team USA will open up play in Group B against Russia, the tournament's defending gold medal winners, at 1:30 a.m. ET on January 28th. The following game will come against Japan, which won bronze in 2015, on January 31st at 9:00 a.m. ET.

From there, things depend on results. Should the U.S. finish in the top two of their three-team pool, it will advance to the semifinals on February 4th, with the gold and bronze medal games following on February 6th. If Team USA finishes third in Group B, it will enter a round robin with the third and fourth place teams from Group A to determine fifth, sixth and seventh place. Canada, China, Great Britain and hosting Kazakhstan are the four squads in the opposite group and will represent most of the red, white and blue's opposition following the Japan game under either scenario.

All games will be played in Almaty's Baluan Sholak Sports Palace, a 5000-seat venue built in 1967 but extensively renovated six years ago.

The return home is tentatively scheduled for February 7th. Domestically, therefore, Dunne will be unavailable for, at minimum, the Lady Ice Lions' series with Liberty (January 27th and 28th) and a pair of games against NCAA Division III's Lebanon Valley College (February 3rd and 4th).

Meanwhile, the Americans will hope to duplicate the success of Stroemel, goalie Katie Vaughan and their 2013 counterparts, which earned a historic podium finish - their bronze medals were the first won by Team USA since the ACHA began stocking the national university team rosters for the biennial World University Games, an era that began in 2001 on the men's side and in 2011 for the women. That inaugural 2011 team (featuring Vaughan, Heather Rossi, Lindsay Reihl and Denise Rohlik from PSU) finished fourth, while a Team USA including defenseman Madison Smiddy finished fifth two years ago in Grenada, Spain.

"[The evaluation camp] was our first time paying with each other but the intensity, skill and connection I saw between my teammates truly excites me for what is to come in Kazakhstan," Dunne said. "We have a lot of potential and we will definitely go far at the Games. I am honored to be selected for the United States Women's National University Team, to put on the jersey again and to fight with my teammates to win the gold medal at the World University Games.

"I've been dreaming about going to the Games since my freshman year when I watched my Penn State teammate, [Vaughan] prepare," she continued. "Now it's my turn to represent myself, my school, my team, my family and my country and I'm excited to experience my dream with the 20 other girls I now call my teammates."

WORLD UNIVERSITY GAMES SCHEDULE


Date 
Game
Time (ET)Coverage/Result
Sat. Jan. 28
CAN-CHN (Group A)
5:30 a.m.
TBD
Sat. Jan. 28
KAZ-GBR (Group A)
9:00 a.m.
TBD
Sun. Jan. 29
USA-RUS (Group B)
1:30 a.m.
TBD
Mon. Jan. 30
CAN-GBR (Group A)
5:30 a.m.
TBD
Mon. Jan. 30
CHN-KAZ (Group A)
9:00 a.m.
TBD
Tues. Jan. 31
JPN-USA (Group B)
9:00 a.m.
TBD
Wed. Feb. 1
GBR-CHN (Group A)
5:30 a.m.
TBD
Wed. Feb. 1
KAZ-CAN (Group A)
9:00 a.m.
TBD
Thur. Feb. 2
RUS-JPN (Group B)
9:00 a.m.
TBD
Fri. Feb. 3
Placement Game 1
9:00 a.m.
TBD
Sat. Feb. 4
Semifinal 1
5:30 a.m.
TBD
Sat. Feb. 4
Semifinal 2
9:00 a.m.
TBD
Sun. Feb. 5
Placement Game 2
2:00 a.m.
TBD
Mon. Feb. 6
Placement Game 3
2:00 a.m.
TBD
Mon. Feb. 6
Bronze-Medal Game
5:30 a.m.
TBD
Mon. Feb. 6
Gold-Medal Game
9:00 a.m.
TBD

Penn State Lady Ice Lions: Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

Dunne Invited to 2017 World University Games Evaluation Camp




Senior defenseman Cassie Dunne has a chance of representing the Penn State Women's Ice Hockey Club on the world stage, as she been selected for the Team USA World University Games Evaluation Camp.

The camp will help select the final 22-player roster for the biennial World University Games tournament, set for January 28th through February 6th in Almaty, Kazakhstan. The US has group stage games scheduled for January 29th against Russia and January 31st against Japan, and hopes to finish in the top two of that three-team pool in order to advance to the semifinals on February 4th. Twenty-eight of the ACHA's top American players, including Dunne, were chosen for evaluation.

Camp opens in Chicago on December 28th in Chicago with an evening practice. The next day will be its busiest, with a morning practice followed by an exhibition game against the noted Chicago Mission U19 AAA team at 4:00 p.m. central time. After the game, the invitees will board a bus for St. Louis. On December 30th, on-ice activities will close with another morning practice in the Gateway to the West followed by a second exhibition game, against Lindenwood University's NCAA Division I team. Departure for each player's respective home is scheduled for early morning on the 31st.

Dunne, a speedy and vocal alternate captain who is also the club's president, has excelled both this season and throughout her career. Her four 2016-17 goals, all on the power play, lead the Lady Ice Lions and notably include an overtime winner at Vermont back on October 1st. She is tied for the program's all-time lead in scoring on the advantage both for a career and within a single campaign.

"We're extremely proud of Cassie's invitation and opportunity to continue Penn State's long line of contributions to the national university team," Penn State head coach Patrick Fung said. "I know the WUG coaching staff has gone to extraordinary and exhaustive lengths to find and evaluate the right players for this camp and there isn't a more fair way for those 28 athletes to earn the opportunity to represent the United States."

For Dunne, selection for the final team would represent achieving a long-time goal.

"The summer after my sophomore year I worked at lululemon athletica in Philadelphia," she explained. "During my on-boarding experience I went through many training sessions, many of which asked you to think about the vision you have for your life in 20 years and what goals you want to accomplish in the next five, ten or 15 years to get yourself to that life vision. Immediately, I put 'going to the World University Games' on my list of goals for the next five years.

"As soon as I received the invitation to camp, I called my parents and my mentor from lululemon. I was so excited that I could share this news with those people in my life who have supported my goals, especially my athletic ones. It’s an amazing feeling to have one of them at your fingertips."

This edition of the team will be picked and coached by 1998 Olympic gold medalist Shelley Looney, with Miami head coach Scott Hicks and Adrian's Brett Berger serving as assistants. Looney and Hicks are participating in their second WUG after assisting Kristen Wright, then of Colorado, two years ago when Team USA finished fifth. USA Hockey's Katie Holmgren is the squad's general manager.

Dunne is vying to become the seventh Penn State player selected for the games while with either the Lady Icers or Lady Ice Lions. Goaltender Katie Vaughan headlines the list through being picked in both 2011 and 2013, the latter turn resulting in a historic bronze medal. Heather Rossi, Lindsay Reihl and Denise Rohlik joined Vaughan on the 2011 team, while defenseman Madison Smiddy went to Granada, Spain for the most recent tournament in 2015. Penn Staters have generally been far more than mere participants when picked - in addition to Vaughan's status as the starting goalie for a podium squad, Smiddy was fourth in her tournament in defense scoring, including an assist on an overtime winner in a come-from-behind victory over Kazazkstan. Rohlik's four points ranked her fifth on the 2011 team.

Former Lady Icers head coach Mo Stroemel was the head coach of both the 2011 and 2013 WUG teams.

Through Dunne, PSU is also hoping to continue its status as one of the ACHA's best contributors to Team USA. The six players picked for WUG to this point trail only Massachusetts, Miami and Michigan, while Penn State is one of four schools - Michigan, Rhode Island and Michigan State are the others - to have at least one player on the team each of the three times the US has sent a women's team to the tournament. Neither Michigan nor Rhode Island are represented among the camp selections, giving Penn State the chance to remain in what would be an even more exclusive club.

She recognizes, however, that selection to the camp is not the intended final destination, and that at least one more cut from the nine defensemen invited is likely. The previous editions of World University Games women's team have carried seven, eight and eight defensemen.

"I am so close to reaching my goal," she explained. "The determination is setting in now more than ever. I plan to prepare myself for camp by training with my team, as well as some extra workouts on my own. I have been working with Pat these past couple of weeks to address what I personally need to work on on the ice during practice and drills. I need to be prepared to have both a practice and a game within one day and play my best at both.

"I am honored to be selected for camp, but reaching and accomplishing my total goal is just around the corner and I cannot wait to play my heart out for it. My dream of being selected for World University Games has been on my mind since I was a freshman."

Penn State Lady Ice Lions: Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

Penn State Closer, But Rhode Island Extends Chain of Smokings to Ten

Darian Dempsey scored her first goal of the season on Saturday night



Perhaps one of the more frustrating aspects of any rebuilding effort is its non-linear nature and the way negative history sometimes seems to repeat itself, occasionally hiding positives and progress.

That would certainly be an understandable sentiment after Rhode Island rallied past Penn State 4-2 on Saturday night at Pegula Ice Arena to complete a series and regular season sweep of the Lady Ice Lions, dropping the hosts to 3-11-0 overall and 3-9-0 in the Eastern Collegiate Women's Hockey League. For PSU, the loss was their tenth straight to the Rams, dating back to November 9, 2014. Rhode Island is now 13-4-0 overall and 8-2-0 in ECWHL play.

The game, at least in some ways, was reminiscent of loss eight of that streak, the second half of the series between the teams in Kingston, RI back on October 29th.

Then, as now, Penn State produced arguably its best effort of the season against a ranked opponent, but ending with the No. 10 Rams finding the deciding goal early in the third period. In October, that goal came from an unfortunate bounce off of the stick of Michelle Monet 1:35 into the frame.

On Saturday, the goal was a bit sooner and prettier, as freshman Madison Balutowski took a feed from Janessa Courtney and motored past the Penn State defense down the left side before firing clean through just 20 seconds after the second intermission. Monica Darby added her fourth of the weekend in the closing minutes for the final margin, beating one lunging defenseman to the puck before dangling the other.

It was an unfortunate end to an exciting game that, prior to that, saw the Lady Ice Lions trade blows with the nine-time ECWHL champions.

The visitors went first just one minute into the game when a turnover at the Penn State line ended up on the stick of Casey McCormick. URI's junior captain drove the middle to push the defense back before leaving the puck for Lexie Stefekos for the shot and score. PSU then found life late thanks to help from consecutive penalties to Brynne Costa (body checking with 3:55 left) and Monet (tripping with 2:26 left). Although Costa's penalty, along with 31 seconds of 5-on-3 time passed uneventfully, Cassie Dunne was able to capitalize on the back end of the long advantage, in taking a Meghan Miller pass and wheeled through the zone before firing a backhander past Rams goalie Abbey Torres with exactly one minute left in the first period.

For Dunne, the goal was a notable one, as it helped her tie the current-era team records for power play goals in a single season (four, shared with Madison Smiddy in 2011-12 and Darby Kern last season) and in a career (five, shared with Smiddy and 2014 graduate Carly Szyszko).

The break did little to stem Penn State's momentum. Thirty-two seconds into the middle period, a beautiful Miller stretch pass set Darian Dempsey in with one URI defender back. After fighting through a stick check to get in clean behind everyone, the senior from Michigan fired home her first of the year to give Penn State the lead.

Rhode Island, however, had an answer around the midway point of the period. Balutowski - in somewhat of a recurring theme over the weekend series - lost the coverage in a high-danger part of the Lady Ice Lions zone, where Costa found her to set up both the goal and the Rams rally that would follow starting roughly 11 game minutes later.

PSU managed the Dunne goal in four attempts on the power play, while killing the only call that went against them, a first-period cross checking minor to Liz Tuorinsky. Goalie Meg Lydick stopped 33 shots in the blue and white crease, while Torres followed up her shutout on Friday with 15 saves on 17 shots against her.

The team will now experience a different brand of stress, in the form of finals week, before heading into winter break. A return to game action is scheduled for January 20th with a trip to visit Michigan, followed by a series at Michigan State on January 21st and 22nd.

Box Score


First Period
Scoring
1. Rhode Island, Lexie Stefekos (Casey McCormick), 19:00; 2. Penn State, Cassie Dunne (Meghan Miller), 1:00 (power play).
Penalties
1. Penn State, Liz Tuorinsky (2:00 cross checking), 14:42; 2. Rhode Island, Monica Darby (2:00 roughing), 12:23; 3. Rhode Island, Brynne Costa (2:00 body checking), 3:55; 4. Rhode Island, Michelle Monet (2:00 tripping), 2:26.
Second Period
Scoring
3. Penn State, Darian Dempsey (Liz Tuorinsky), 19:28; 4. Rhode Island, Madison Balutowski (Samantha Evans, Brynne Costa), 10:24.
Penalties
5. Rhode Island, Caitlin McGuirl (2:00 interference), 4:48.
Third Period
Scoring
5. Rhode Island, Madison Balutowski (Janessa Courtney), 19:40; 6. Rhode Island, Monica Darby (unassisted), 3:17.
Penalties
6. Rhode Island, Monica Darby (2:00 tripping), 1:30.
Goaltending
Penn State: Meg Lydick: L, 33 saves/37 shots; Rhode Island: Abbey Torres: W, 15 saves/17 shots.

Penn State Lady Ice Lions: Twitter | Facebook | Instagram