Lady Ice Lions Announce 2015-16 Slate Laced With National Contenders

2015-16 schedule

A second turn through an Eastern Collegiate Women's Hockey League slate, at least three meetings with reigning ACHA national champion Liberty and four tilts with 2014-15 semifinalist Adrian highlight the Lady Ice Lions' 2015-16 schedule.

Much like the beginning of last season, which saw Penn State play ten times away from home (compared to four times at Pegula Ice Arena) during the fall semester, head coach Patrick Fung's squad will begin the campaign as road warriors. This time around, the task will be an opening weekend at Massachusetts (October 9th and 10th) and Northeastern (October 11th), followed by a trip to Adrian (October 24th and 25th).

The Minutewomen and Huskies, of course, are very familiar teams as ECWHL opponents that the Lady Ice Lions faced a combined nine times a year ago. Adrian, however, has never met any Penn State team, including the previous Lady Icers program. The Bulldogs were 19-8-6 last season, then advanced to the final four at the ACHA National Tournament before falling to Liberty. While the version of Adrian PSU faces will be without graduated star goalie Emily Michelin, the Bulldogs will return up to 27 players, including leading scorer Nichole LaFlamme, who potted 17 times in 2014-15.

From there, the script changes, as the team will close out the fall semester with six consecutive home games. Northeastern (November 7th and 8th) and a return trip from Adrian (December 5th and 6th) bookend that stretch, with a visit from ECWHL rival Rhode Island (November 14th and 15th in the middle).

The Lady Ice Lions and Rams, a long-time roadblock for all other league contenders with nine of the 12 playoff titles in ECWHL history, split a series at URI's Boss Ice Arena last November. Rhode Island, however, took the rubber match of the season series by handing PSU a 4-1 setback in the conference semifinals back in February.

Defending ECWHL regular season and playoff champion UMass will open the spring semester at Pegula Ice Arena on January 9th and 10th, followed by a unique road trip. From January 15th through 18th, the team will visit Lynchburg, VA over the long Martin Luther King Day weekend. While there, Penn State will take on 2014-15 national champ Liberty in a newly-renovated LaHaye Ice Center. The University of Colorado will also be on hand to battle both the Flames and Lady Ice Lions over the course of the weekend.

Specific dates, times and opponents for that three-way meeting have yet to be determined.

Liberty faced off with Penn State three times last year. LU took all three, including one at nationals, although all three were one-goal results and two were decided in overtime after PSU held third-period leads. The Flames will also come to central Pennsylvania on February 13th and 14th.

Davenport, another first-time opponent, is set to visit for a rare Thursday game on January 28th followed by a resumption of ECWHL play on January 30th and 31st with Vermont. PSU swept all three matchups with the Catamounts in 2014-15, while DU finished 12th in the ACHA rankings (three spots ahead of UVM) after posting a 13-9-1 mark and flirting with nationals contention late into the season.

A fourth two-opponent weekend, this time a trip to Northeastern (February 5th) and Rhode Island (February 6th and 7th) precedes the home games with Liberty to round out the regular season schedule.

The ECWHL playoffs, as is customary, will be played at the home rink of the defending champs - in this case, Massachusetts' Mullins Center over the February 19th-21st weekend. The ACHA National Tournament, where Penn State hopes to win its first women's hockey national championship, will be contested from March 9th through 13th in Kalamazoo, MI.

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Former Lady Icer Harrington Signs with NWHL's Buffalo Beauts

Former Lady Icer Paige Harrington, who spent her freshman 2011-12 season at Penn State before transferring to complete her collegiate career at Massachusetts, has signed with the Buffalo Beauts of the newly-formed National Women's Hockey League, the NWHL announced on Tuesday.

In her time with the Lady Icers, Harrington - along with ten players who would go on to skate for the Lady Ice Lions following the 2012 shakeup of the Penn State hockey landscape - helped the team to the ECWHL regular season title with a 7-2-1 conference mark. In 22 recorded games, she posted a goal and two assists, with the tally one of the end-to-end rushes that would become her trademark and the game-winning goal in the ECWHL clincher against Vermont on February 19, 2012.

The 5'11" communications major from Mansfield, MA then spent three years with the Minutewomen finishing with an incredible haul of team and individual honors. She ended up with five total ECWHL crowns after pulling off regular season and playoff doubles with UMass in 2012-13 and 2014-15, while also helping that team to three consecutive ACHA Division 1 national tournaments including a runner-up finish in 2013-14. This past season, she was a first-team All-American and first-time All-ECWHL while posting 10 goals and 16 assists in 28 games.

Harrington was a star internationally as well, featuring on the U.S. National University Team at both the 2013 and 2015 World University Games tournaments. In competitions including senior national team players from several different countries, she was a two-time alternate captain who managed four assists in 12 games, as well as helping Team USA to a bronze medal at the 2013 Trentino Games. The medal was just the second ever by an American team (men or women) at the World University Games and the first since USA Hockey re-entered the biennial event using ACHA players in 2001.

"I was not ready to hang up my skates after college, and I feel blessed to be given the opportunity to play at the professional level," Harrington told NWHL.co, "This is a huge step for women's hockey and to be a part of history in the making is incredible."

The NWHL, of course, made headlines upon its spring launch as the first North American women's hockey league that will pay its players, with salaries ranging between $10,000 and $25,000 per year. It will begin a 36-game regular-season schedule on October 11th with four founding teams: the Buffalo Beauts, the Connecticut Whale, the New York Riveters and the Boston Pride. The Beauts' home rink will be downtown Buffalo's HarborCenter, a rink complex constructed by Penn State hockey benefactor Terry Pegula that opened last year.

The Western New Yorkers didn't limit their ACHA scouting to Harrington, as they also signed two-time Zoe M. Harris Award winner Hayley Williams, who ripped off 59 points in 30 games for Miami last season, second only to the Lady Ice Lions' Darby Kern among ACHA Division 1 players. Williams also skated for Robert Morris (IL) in 2013-14. Penn State went 2-3-1 against the two newly-professional players last season, beating each once.

Significantly, one of the Beauts' co-head coaches will be Shelley Looney, the gold-medal-winning goal scorer from the 1998 Nagano Olympics, who was an assistant coach for both Harrington and Williams at the 2015 World University Games. Former Buffalo Sabres forward Ric Seiling is the other co-head coach. Other notables who have signed with the team ahead of this weekend's free agency deadline include frequent U.S. national team goalie Brianne McLaughlin, mobile blueliner Kelly McDonald from the University of Maine and scrappy former RIT forward Erin Zach.

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Lady Ice Lions to Initiate 2015-16 Against Massachusetts, Northeastern

Darby Kern (left) and UMass' Meredith Gallagher will collide to open 2015-16

The Penn State Lady Ice Lions will begin the 2015-16 season, the team's second in ACHA Division 1 and the Eastern Collegiate Women's Hockey League, in a familiar location: Massachusetts, to take on hosting UMass and Northeastern.

Two games against the Minutewomen are scheduled for Friday, October 9th and Saturday, October 10th. Following the second tilt, the team will head east to historic Matthews Arena in Boston to battle the NU Huskies on Sunday, October 11th.

All three game times are still to be determined.

Against the 2013-14 ACHA runners-up and 2014-15 ECWHL regular season and playoff champions, Penn State went 1-3-1 last year. The advantage enjoyed by coach Bill Wright's squad in the season series came from an October, 2014 sweep at the Mullins Center by 3-0 and 1-0 counts. The teams then traded overtime decisions at Pegula Ice Arena to open the spring semester, with a Cara Mendelson strike on January 10th answered by UMass' Amy Morin the next day. Given the latter results, the 3-3 draw from the teams' meeting at the ACHA National Tournament on March 5th (featuring two more Mendelson goals) was less than surprising.

Things were a little smoother against Northeastern, to the tune of 4-0-0 - although the Huskies held the Lady Ice Lions to a pair of one-goal decisions in Boston last November, including one requiring a Madison Smiddy overtime bomb. Two regular-season-closing home games, however, ended in routs by a combined 17-2 count. Darby Kern and Devon Fisk led the way in that series, with Kern scoring an incredible seven times among her nine points, and Fisk adding four tallies of her own.

The Minutewomen finished 2014-15 with a 24-8-1 overall mark and the aforementioned conference titles and visit to nationals. Northeastern was 5-18-0, with their season ending in a victory over Navy in the fifth-place game of the ECWHL playoffs.

Stay tuned to psuwihc.com, as well as the Lady Ice Lions' Twitter and Instagram accounts, for the upcoming release of the full season schedule, as well as other exciting news, as the offseason winds down.

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Four Freshmen Set to Join Lady Ice Lions Roster for 2015-16 Season

Penn State Lady Ice Lions coach Patrick Fung has announced that four student-athletes have enrolled at PSU for the summer session and will join the squad in the fall. They are Caitlin Costello (Randolph, NJ), Madison Dwyer (Newtown, PA), Meghan Miller (Barrington, RI) and Liz Tuorinsky (Mt. Arlington, NJ).

Forward | Shoots Right | Randolph, NJ | New Jersey Rockets U19

Prior to Penn State
Costello is, most recently, a product of the New Jersey Rockets Tier I program, and played for their U19 and U16 teams. She was also with the New Jersey Colonials prior to that, and has made a total of five trips to the USA Hockey national championships. During the most recent of those trips, in 2015 and while teaming with classmate Elizabeth Tuorinsky, she tallied the shootout winner as the Rockets toppled the Anaheim Lady Ducks 1-0. Costello also factored heavily her team's qualification for nationals, scoring the only goal in the opening game of a best-of-three series to determine the Atlantic District title.

Caitlin Jeanne Costello was born on January 17, 1997 in Randolph, NJ to James and Doreen Costello and has two sisters, Jessica and Brianna. Although she is undecided on a major, she enjoys working with ceramics was an honor roll student in high school while also playing varsity soccer. A cousin, Bridgette DaSilva, was a student manager for the Penn State Ice Lions ACHA Division 2 men's team and for the ACHA Division 3 men's team at Penn State Altoona prior to her 2015 graduation.

Fung on Costello
"Caitlin was a pleasant surprise over winter break when I learned she had applied to Penn State while seeing Liz Tuorinsky play. In Caitlin we get a player with a significant Tier 1 playing resume who has played for some of the best coaches on the most talented teams in the Atlantic District. She played an outstanding supporting role with the Rockets last season, and contributed at seemingly the most opportune times, notably scoring a game winner at districts last season to send her team to nationals.

"Caitlin carries experience, instinct and a very high compete level and will flourish at Penn State with the chance to play a big role on both sides of the puck."

Defense | Shoots Right | Newtown, PA | Princeton Tiger Lilies U19

Prior to Penn State
Dwyer starred for both the Princeton Tiger Lilies and Council Rock North High School in Newtown. She helped the Tiger Lilies win the Atlantic District title and qualify for the USA Hockey Tier II national championships on three consecutive occasions, most recently with the U19 team in 2014-15 but also as a U16 player in both 2012-13 and 2013-14.

Madison Nicole Dwyer was born on August 26, 1997 in Newtown, PA to Mark and Mary Dwyer and has one brother, Mark, and one sister, Samantha. The consistent honor roll student intends to major in pre-medicine and enjoys playing guitar and singing.

Fung on Dwyer
"Madison is the latest in the line of additions to our team from the Princeton Tiger Lilies program. She brings the experience of multiple Atlantic District championships and corresponding USA Hockey nationals appearances with the Tiger Lilies as well as having played boys high school hockey.

"A stay-at-home defenseman, Madison offers versatility and a desire to compete to our team. We anticipate that her role will grow as she gains experience and develops at the college level, and that she will be a steady part of our defensive corps for the next four years."

Forward | Shoots Left | Barrington, RI | Barrington HS/Rhode Island Sting U19

Prior to Penn State
Miller played for the Rhode Island Sting Tier II U19 team in addition to Barrington High School. With BHS, she won state championships in each of her first three years, including tournament co-MVP honors as a sophomore after scoring twice in the championship-clinching victory. Miller grabbed a litany of other awards as well, including being named to the all-division team in every season as an Eagle and a nomination for a Rhode Island Cox Sports Award (given to the outstanding player in each high school sport) as a freshman. She was a frequent player in major showcases, including three years at Hockey Night in Boston and one at America's Hockey Showcase.

Meghan Elizabeth Miller was born on July 19, 1997 in Providence, RI to Gordon and Lisa Miller and has one brother, Stephen. She intends to major in education with aspirations of becoming a teacher. In high school, Miller was an academic and athletic dynamo, including membership in the Rhode Island Honor Society and qualification for honor roll every semester. She was a four-year starter on Barrington High School's field hockey team, helping the Eagles to a state championship as a freshman and earning all-division honors two times.

Fung on Miller
"Meghan comes to us from the competitive girls high school hockey circuit in Rhode Island and continues our trend of attracting New Englanders to Penn State. A three-time state champion with Barrington High School, Meghan brings a winning pedigree with her, having played a major role on each team, as well as with her amateur club, the Rhode Island Sting. Meghan has also participated in many competitive exposure events around the country including America's Showcase, and the storied Hockey Night in Boston.

"Meghan is a solid two-way forward who has a nose for the net and ability to finish in close - with skating ability to get there without the puck and attack in transition. I anticipate she'll frequent the scoresheet for us the next few seasons."

Defense | Shoots Right | Mt. Arlington, NJ | New Jersey Rockets U19

Prior to Penn State
Tuorinsky largely came up through boys hockey, playing for the New Jersey Freeze Tier II program and for Roxbury High School in Succasunna, NJ. With the latter, she earned the female Heart of the Gael Award for her class year of 2015 and helped the squad to a 23-19-4 two-year record along with a pair of state playoff bids in 2013-14 and 2014-15. The sturdy defender also played girls hockey for the New Jersey Rockets Tier I U19 team in 2014-15, along with Costello, helping the Atlantic District power qualify for the USA Hockey national championships.

Elizabeth Victoria Tuorinsky was born on February 25, 1997 in Hackettstown, NJ to Al and Linda Tuorinsky and has one brother, Alex. The intended Animal Science major and aspiring veterinarian was a National Honor Society member in high school.

Fung on Tuorinsky
"Liz was among the earliest of of our incoming class to contact last year. Her family is originally from the Centre region and studying Animal Science at Penn State has been her college goal for quite some time. On the ice, Liz played for the celebrated New Jersey Rockets Tier 1 program last year against some of the best competition in girls amateur hockey and helped them to yet another nationals appearance.

"Primarily, she is a very tough, strong and physical stay-at-home defenseman whose style has undoubtedly been influenced by playing boys AA and high school hockey all the way through U16. It's an underappreciated role that will be more critical this season after we graduated two veteran defensemen. She will fit well into our defensive group immediately, and we expect her to develop nicely as a puck mover to compliment her defensive game as we go."

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