-->

Kern Nabs ACHA All-American Honors After Division-Topping Season




Forward Darby Kern has been named a first team ACHA All-American, the association announced Friday at the national tournament.

For the junior from Venetia, PA, the honor is just the latest in a recent string of accolades, as Kern was previously named the Harrow/ACHA Player of the Month for January in addition to making the first All-Eastern Collegiate Women's Hockey League team.

In 22 pre-ACHA Tournament games (the period considered for the honor), Kern posted 32 goals and 55 points. The latter number was tops among all Division 1 players, while the former trailed only Liberty's Carrie Jickling, by one. She added a pair of goals and four assists in three games at nationals, finishing with an outstanding 15 points in PSU's ten contests this season against teams qualifying for the championships.

She becomes the 14th woman in Penn State history to receive ACHA All-American recognition, including past and present Lady Ice Lions Carly Szyszko (2010-11 honorable mention), Devon Fisk (2012-13 honorable mention, 2013-14 second team), Katie Vaughan (2012-13 honorable mention, 2013-14 first team), Mandy Mortach (2012-13 honorable mention) and Geneva Wagoner (2013-14 first team). Kern, however, is just the second PSU player to be tabbed for the first team in the ACHA's top division,

Obviously, given her lofty stature on the ACHA's scoring charts, she was also a candidate for the Zoe M. Harris Award, given to the women's player of the year in each division. However, she lost out to Miami's Hayley Williams, who also won the 2013-14 edition while playing for Robert Morris. Williams was one of a whopping ten first or second team All-Americans coming from Lady Ice Lions opponents (the only exclusions are Kern and Michigan's Kalli Bates), a list that includes 2011-12 Lady Icers player Paige Harrington, who has spent the last three seasons at Massachusetts.

Here are the full ACHA Division 1 All-American teams:

First Team
All-American
Second Team
All-American
Chantal Lischynski
Liberty
G
Emalee Wills
Miami
Darby Kern
Penn State
F
Katie Augustine
Miami
Carrie Jickling
Liberty
F
Sarah Stevenson
Liberty
Hayley Williams
Miami
F
Rachael Booth
Miami
Paige Harrington
Massachusetts
D
Kalli Bates
Michigan
Caleigh LaBossiere
Massachusetts
D
Morgan McGrath
Miami


Zoe M. Harris Award
Player of the Year
Hayley Williams
Miami

Penn State Lady Ice Lions: Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

Lady Ice Lions Tied Down in a Pool, Season Ends With Draw Against GVSU

Claire Gauthier scored twice in the season-ending draw



The heartbreak of losing consecutive championship games at the ACHA Division 2 level in 2013 and 2014 has been replaced by a slightly different but equally-strong emotion: frustration.

The reason for it is quite obvious.

After three blown third-period leads against the second, fourth and fifth ranked teams in the ACHA produced three overtime games, a loss and two ties, the Lady Ice Lions have been bounced from the ACHA National Tournament. The final blow came through a 3-3 tie with Grand Valley State on Friday afternoon that PSU needed to win to advance to the semifinals.

Instead, it will be the Lakers joining Liberty in the ACHA's final four on Saturday out of Penn State's Pool B. They'll take on Miami and Adrian, respectively, for the right to advance to Sunday's title game.

By and large, one reason why the Lady Ice Lions were unable to advance was GVSU's ability to trap, jam the neutral zone by any means necessary, and convert mistakes and other opportunities into scoring chances. The first part of that plan worked to perfection in a slogging opening period that saw just 11 total shots between the teams, while the second came about when Kristin Iannuzzi banked in a try from the bottom of the left circle during an early-second period power play.

PSU did manage to build more speed in transition as the second period proceeded, and also flexed its special teams muscles. Midway through the frame, and with Alisha Day serving a checking penalty for taking Taylor Nyman hard to the wall at center, Darby Kern ripped a drive from her power play station at the left point. The shot proceeded through heavy traffic and was ultimately deflected through by Claire Gauthier, the freshman's eighth goal of the year.

Another quick exchange of goals closed the middle 20 minutes. Penn State went first this time, with Kern doing the honors by cleaning up on a Cara Mendelson rebound, after Riley O'Connor created a neutral-zone turnover to set up her Pittsburgh-area native linemates. Kendra Myers pulled the score back even at 2-2 on a soft 2-on-1 opportunity, with Day feeding the World University Games selection.

That latter goal was a bit of payback for Myers, who had been stoned by Mary Kate Tonetti's glove on a shorthanded breakaway chance roughly ten minutes earlier. Tonetti finished with 27 saves including that one. Part of an eventful second half of the game for her included battling through an injury sustained during a pileup early in the third period that left her down on the ice for several minutes.

Just two minutes after that incident, the Lady Ice Lions grabbed a second Gauthier-deflected power play goal on a to forge back ahead. This time, the initial shooter was Katie Murphy from the right circle. GVSU, once again, had a quick answer though, as the Lakers forecheck generated a puck out to Corey Robison, who fired in from center point through traffic.

From there, the obvious happened. Penn State, needing a win to advance, desperately tried to push forward while Grand Valley, needing only a tie, went back to what they do best. The latter proved more effective, as PSU mustered little through the last half of the third period and the five-minute overtime other than a partial breakaway by Kern in the last minute of regulation that couldn't produce a clean shot.

The Lady Ice Lions close 2014-15 at 17-8-2 and ranked seventh in the country, an incredible first season at the ACHA Division 1 level. The 0.667 win percentage is the second best produced by a Penn State team in D1 since the ACHA began sanctioning women's hockey in 2000-01, trailing only 2001-02's third place team that went 22-7-1. The nationals appearance was PSU's seventh overall in D1, but first since 2010 and only the third since 2004. Along the way, the team pulled off big wins like toppling top-ranked defending national champion Miami for the first time in 31 RedHawks games and defeating Rhode Island for just the third time in 40 games between the two schools since both URI and the Lady Icers joined the ECWHL in 2003-04 (several of the graduating seniors were a part of one of the other wins, in 2011-12).

Several individual award winners were also part of the mix headlined by Kern, who became Penn State's second-ever first-team ACHA All-American in D1, following only Andrea Lavelle in 2001-02, and was also January's Harrow/ACHA Player of the Month. Tonetti (Warrior Goaltender of the Month, twice), Ashton Schaffer (Great Skate Sportsmanship Award) and O'Connor (Sher-Wood Freshman Spotlight) also captured ACHA monthly awards. Kern, Tonetti, Mendelson, Murphy, Devon Fisk and Madison Smiddy each received all-ECWHL recognition.

So maybe, as much as it hurts right now, frustration is the wrong emotion. It might take days, or even weeks, to get there, but pride probably works a little better.

Box Score


First Period
Scoring
None.
Penalties
1. Grand Valley State, Allison Lowe (2:00 high sticking), 5:05; 2. Penn State, Madison Smiddy (2:00 interference), 0:22.
Second Period
Scoring
1. Grand Valley State, Kristin Iannuzzi (Katie Danto), 18:40 (power play); 2. Penn State, Claire Gauthier (Darby Kern), 12:59 (power play); 3. Penn State, Darby Kern (Riley O'Connor, Cara Mendelson), 2:31; 4. Grand Valley State, Kendra Myers (Alisha Day), 0:31.
Penalties
3. Grand Valley State, Alisha Day (2:00 body checking), 13:42; 4. Grand Valley State, Lauren Iavasile (2:00 roughing), 10:55; 5. Penn State, Devon Fisk (2:00 body checking), 6:59.
Third Period
Scoring
5. Penn State, Claire Gauthier (Katie Murphy, Darby Kern), 14:31 (power play); 6. Grand Valley State, Corey Robison (unassisted), 8:51.
Penalties
6. Grand Valley State, Frankie Wojtylo (2:00 body checking), 15:00; 7. Penn State, Madison Smiddy (2:00 cross checking), 4:45.
Overtime
Scoring
None.
Penalties
None.
Goaltending
Penn State: Mary Kate Tonetti: T, 27 saves/30 shots. Grand Valley State: Taylor Watson: T, 14 saves/17 shots.

Penn State Lady Ice Lions: Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

Over Overtime: Penn State Loses Late Lead, Settles For Tie with UMass




In the last word between ECWHL rivals Penn State and Massachusetts this season, neither team ultimately found an edge as the two skated to a 3-3 tie in the middle game of the ACHA National Tournament's round robin stage Thursday afternoon.

That's not to say that the Lady Ice Lions didn't have one for a substantial portion of the game, though.

Cara Mendelson put Penn State ahead 1-0 into the first intermission with four minutes remaining, following passes from linemates Riley O'Connor and Darby Kern, reception near the blue line, a nifty dangle around UMass defenseman Alyx Rivard, and a nice follow-up to her initial shot. Although the Minutewomen would level things up through an Amanda Abromson power play goal midway through the second period, one of the game's key stretches would soon follow.

An increasingly chippy contest saw Kern and Michaela Tosone sit for roughing and hooking, respectively, with 4:01 left. Penn State's speed won the ensuing 4-on-4 battle, as Mendelson bagged her second on a right-to-left wrap try into a gaping cage. The goal came during a delayed hooking call to Rivard, and it appeared that UMass expected a whistle and slowed a bit to create an opening.

PSU cashed in the ensuing power play as well just 28 seconds later, thanks to a Madison Smiddy drive that was deflected home in front and credited to Devon Fisk.

It's often said, however, that the two-goal lead is the most dangerous in hockey and Penn State knows that better than most teams.

And less than 24 hours after losing a 3-1 lead against Liberty and falling in overtime, the script repeated itself to a large extent.

The Minutewomen made the score 3-2 just 41 seconds into the third period during an early hooking call to Mendelson, as Caleigh LaBossiere found Meghan Crosby on the doorstep. Then, with the Lady Ice Lions just 64 seconds from a huge victory and with UMass goalie Kasey Zegel on the bench, Abromson - who had recently been shaken up during an Ashton Schaffer cross check - fired a seeing-eye shot through heavy traffic from the left side to tie things up.

Penn State finished with the Fisk goal in four power play opportunities, including a hook to Tosone in overtime. Massachusetts was two for five. Mary Kate Tonetti won the battle of the two all-ECWHL goaltenders, making 37 saves on 40 shots, versus 25 on 28 for Zegel.

With the result, both PSU and UMass are 0-1-1 within Pool B. Liberty and Grand Valley State, scheduled to play each other Thursday night, are both 1-0-0. From here, the easiest path to the semifinals for the Lady Ice Lions is to defeat GVSU on Friday - puck drop is scheduled for 12:45 p.m. - and for the Flames to win their remaining games against the Lakers and Minutewomen. Those results would place PSU at 1-1-1, good for second place in the pool ahead of 1-2-0 Grand Valley State and 0-2-1 Massachusetts.

Box Score


First Period
Scoring
1. Penn State, Cara Mendelson (Riley O'Connor, Darby Kern), 4:04.
Penalties
1. Penn State, Katie Murphy (2:00 tripping), 0:16.
Second Period
Scoring
2. Massachusetts, Amanda Abromson (Paige Harrington, Alyx Rivard), 12:26 (power play); 3. Penn State, Cara Mendelson (unassisted), 2:51; 4. Penn State, Devon Fisk (Madison Smiddy), 2:23 (power play).
Penalties
2. Penn State, Madison Smiddy (2:00 tripping), 13:03; 3. Massachusetts, Brittani Lanzilli (2:00 body checking), 11:42; 4. Massachusetts, Michaela Tosone (2:00 hooking), 4:01; 5. Penn State, Darby Kern (2:00 roughing), 4:01; 6. Massachusetts, Alyx Rivard (2:00 hooking), 2:51.
Third Period
Scoring
5. Massachusetts, Meghan Crosby (Caleigh LaBossiere), 19:19 (power play); 6. Massachusetts, Amanda Abromson (unassisted), 1:04.
Penalties
7. Penn State, Cara Mendelson (2:00 hooking), 19:26; 8. Penn State, Ashton Schaffer (2:00 cross checking), 10:45; 9. Massachusetts, Bench (2:00 too many players, served by Meredith Gallagher), 7:36; 10. Penn State, Devon Fisk (2:00 hooking), 5:30.
Overtime
Scoring
None.
Penalties
11. Massachusetts, Michaela Tosone (2:00 hooking), 2:52.
Goaltending
Penn State: Mary Kate Tonetti: T, 37 saves/40 shots. Massachusetts: Kasey Zegel: T, 25 saves/28 shots.

Penn State Lady Ice Lions: Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

Natty Iced: Liberty Rally Stuns Lady Ice Lions in ACHA Tourney Opener

Taylor Nyman opened the game's scoring on Wednesday



The Road to Nattys pulled into the Frustration Station on Wednesday night.

Sarah Stevenson flipped a net-front backhanded rebound try past Mary Kate Tonetti with just 36 seconds remaining in overtime, as Liberty twice rallied from two-goal deficits to top the Lady Ice Lions 4-3 in the ACHA National Tournament opener for both teams.

Penn State now sits fourth in Pool B with a 0-1-0 record, trailing third-place Massachusetts on the goals against tiebreaker, after the Minutewomen dropped a 2-0 decision to Grand Valley State earlier in the day. The Flames are second, likewise falling behind the Lakers on goals against.

The contest marked the third loss in three games this season for PSU against LU, but also the third time in those three games that the Lady Ice Lions held a lead well into the proceedings, the second time that lead was more than one goal, and the second time Liberty capped their rally in overtime.

Taylor Nyman laid the first brick in building that lead, and also set off a scoring bonanza after a fairly tight first period. Just 18 seconds after PSU successfully killed an interference call to Ashton Schaffer, Darby Kern threw the puck to the front out of the right wing corner, where Nyman redirected past LU goalie Chantal Lischynski.

Kern did the honors herself less than a minute later to make it 2-0, taking a Cara Mendelson pass in the neutral zone and weaving through both Flames defensemen before firing home. However, Liberty cut the lead in half on the next shift, as Courtney Gilmour deflected a low C.J. Tipping drive from center point through.

The next goal, uncharacteristically (all things considered), took four minutes to come. On the play, Katie Murphy won the puck in the defensive zone and moved it ahead to Claire Gauthier for a 3-on-1 also including Devon Fisk. Gauthier elected to rip a shot herself, and got it just through enough for a 3-1 lead.

That would turn out to be Penn State's high point, however.

The Flames rally - which included a 32-9 shot differential after a first period that ended 10-9 PSU in the category - officially began with Stevenson, who foreshadowed her later goal with a rebound try past a sprawled Tonetti near the end of the second period. Then, 5:46 away from the Lady Ice Lions upset, Chelsey Greenwood bullied her way to the front for the third of four LU goals scored within garlic breath proximity of the blue paint.

PSU will be back in action on Thursday afternoon at 1:15 p.m. against familiar ECWHL foe Massachusetts in what is essentially a must-win game for both teams in order to place within the top two of the pool and advance to the semifinals. Following that contest, the team will close the round robin stage on Friday at 12:45 against GVSU.

Box Score


First Period
Scoring
None.
Penalties
None. 
Second Period
Scoring
1. Penn State, Taylor Nyman (Darby Kern), 13:19; 2. Penn State, Darby Kern (Riley O'Connor, Cara Mendelson), 12:23; 3. Liberty, Courtney Gilmour (C.J. Tipping), 12:07; 4. Penn State, Claire Gauthier (Devon Fisk), 8:17; 5. Liberty, Sarah Stevenson (Catherine Burrell, C.J. Tipping), 1:25.
Penalties
1. Penn State, Ashton Schaffer (2:00 interference), 15:37; 2. Liberty, Chelsey Greenwood (2:00 tripping), 7:14.
Third Period
Scoring
6. Liberty, Chelsey Greenwood (unassisted), 5:46.
Penalties
3. Liberty, Courtney Gilmour (2:00 roughing), 16:07; 4. Penn State, Darby Kern (2:00 elbowing), 12:28.
Overtime
Scoring
7. Liberty, Sarah Stevenson (Carrie Jickling), 0:35.
Penalties
None.
Goaltending
Penn State: Mary Kate Tonetti: L, 37 saves/41 shots. Liberty: Chantal Lischynski: W, 16 saves/19 shots.

Penn State Lady Ice Lions: Twitter | Facebook | Instagram