Lady Ice Lions Tabbed Number 11 in ACHA D1 Preseason Ranking

2013-14 Division 2 Coach of the Year Patrick Fung and the Lady Ice Lions start the season ranked 11th

While much remains unknown about how Penn State's restocked ACHA Division 2 powerhouse will compete in Division 1, the D1 ranking committee has levied an official position, placing the Lady Ice Lions 11th in its preseason poll, released Friday.

Despite PSU being in its first season in D1, the spot was given likely as a nod to the team's high level of success in the lower Division 2 (28-8-3 in two seasons, with a pair of trips to the national championship game) as well as the fact that the blue and white is not a typical D2 upstart - six seniors on the roster were a part of the D1 Lady Icers as freshmen in 2011-12.

Curiously enough, the eleventh slot is almost a perfect continuation of where the Lady Icers left things before evolving into Penn State's NCAA team for the 2012-13 season. That team finished 9th in its final ACHA season after stops at each spot from 10 through 12 in the first three polls.

Elsewhere, defending national champion Miami unsurprisingly and unanimously took the top spot. The RedHawks return the bulk of their squad, including ACHA tournament MVP Kaley Mooney - a Pittsburgh native who previously played with Lady Ice Lions Cara Mendelson, Kim Badorrek and Darby Kern in the Team Pittsburgh Tier 1 program - as well as World University Games heroes Katie Augustine and Morgan McGrath. Hayley Williams, the reigning Zoe Harris Award winner as ACHA player of the year, has also joined Miami as a transfer from Robert Morris.

PSU's conference, the ECWHL, was well represented in the rankings. Massachusetts, the 2014 national runners-up and including former Penn State Lady Icer Paige Harrington, checked in at number two. Perennial power Rhode Island will begin the era after the departure of program founder Beth McCann under Ashley Pagliarini ranked fifth. Northeastern grabbed the 13th spot (tied with Colorado), while Vermont received votes but missed the top 15 cutoff.

Liberty, which will host the Lady Ice Lions in a December non-conference series, placed third.

While this ranking was developed by the ACHA Division 1 ranking committee with informative contributions from the division's head coaches, the in-season versions will be an average of three separate polls. The first will be the traditional coaches survey, with the ranking committee's vote counting for another third and a computer poll representing the remaining third.

Overall record, strength of schedule, record versus ranked teams, games against common opponents, record versus the division and head to head performance remain the primary considerations when determining how squads are slotted.

The cutoff date for the next poll is October 26th, with others following on November 23rd, January 18th and February 22nd. The top eight teams in that final ranking will qualify for the ACHA National Tournament, held March 4th through 8th in York, PA.

Penn State begins its quest to qualify for the tournament on September 27th and 28th with a pair of games at Vermont, before returning to Pegula Ice Arena to face off with Division 2 opponent Delaware on October 4th and 5th.

Here is the complete ranking (first place votes in parentheses):

Miami (7)
Rhode Island
Michigan State
Grand Valley State
Robert Morris
Penn State
Colorado State
Others receiving votes: Lindenwood-Belleville, Wisconsin, Denver, Vermont

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Top Four 2014 ACHA D1 Teams Highlight Lady Ice Lions Schedule

2014-15 Schedule

A new division, a new league and contests against each of the top four finishers at the 2014 ACHA Division 1 national championships highlight a packed 2014-15 Lady Ice Lions schedule, head coach Patrick Fung announced today.

The team will begin the season as road warriors, making five separate trips of more than 300 miles in the fall semester.

Burlington, VT and new ECWHL opponent Vermont will be the destination on September 27th and 28th to open the campaign, a weekend that will be followed by other league games in visits to Massachusetts (October 10th and 11th), Rhode Island (November 8th and 9th) and Northeastern (November 21st and 22nd). UMass and URI finished second and fourth, respectively, in ACHA Division 1 last season. A non-conference roadie to third-place Liberty (December 5th and 6th) will close the semester.

Penn State's first Pegula Ice Arena games of the season will take place on October 4th and 5th against Delaware, a Division 2 squad. PSU went 5-0-1 against the Blue Hens in 2013-14 while both teams were members of D2 league College Hockey East.

Fellow Division 1 and ECWHL newcomer Navy will come to Hockey Valley on November 2nd. The Lady Ice Lions defeated the Midshipmen 9-1 in Annapolis during the 2012-13 season in the only previous meeting of the two. Division 2's Slippery Rock, which joins Delaware and Navy as a past opponent appearing on the slate, visits Pegula Ice Arena on November 14th and 15th. PSU topped the Pride 7-2 and 6-0 last year

The spring semester will be more heavily weighted with home matches, starting with rematches against UMass on January 10th and 11th.

While not the team's longest trip of the season in terms of mileage, it's hard to match January 17th and 18th for magnitude. The latter of those two days will see PSU battle Miami, the reigning Division 1 national champion. That game will feature a matchup of the two reigning ACHA women's coaches of the year - Fung from D2, MU's Scott Hicks from D1 - as well as a RedHawks team that only carried two seniors a season ago. The WIHC will take on Ohio State in Columbus, OH the day before that showdown.

Following the weekend in the Buckeye State, Penn State will return home for the remainder of the regular season, featuring another game versus Navy on January 30th to open a three-game weekend with Northeastern as the opponent on January 31st and February 1st. The first of the two games against the Huskies will be the Lady Ice Lions' annual Senior Night.

The 2015 ECWHL playoffs will take place from February 20th through 22nd at URI's Bradford R. Boss Ice Arena, while the 2015 ACHA National Tournament is March 4th through 9th at York City Ice Arena in York, PA.

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Talented Rookie Class Bolsters Experienced Penn State Roster

Freshman Claire Gauthier won the 2014 USA Hockey Tier 2 19U national title with the Cape Cod Storm

2014-15 Roster

Head coach Patrick Fung has unveiled the 2014-15 Penn State Lady Ice Lions roster, featuring 14 returning players who provided nearly 75 percent of last season's team goal production. Those figures include seniors Mary Kate Tonetti, Ashton Schaffer, Taylor Nyman, Kim Badorrek and Sarah Eisenhut, as well as 2013-14 All-American selections Geneva Wagoner and Devon Fisk.

Filling out the roster of 26 are 12 newcomers, headlined by former NCAA players Cara Mendelson, Darby Kern, Katie Murphy and Madison Smiddy, who were announced as part of the squad on August 26th.

The remaining eight include a junior - goaltender Sumire Clevenger, who has transferred to University Park from the Brandywine campus and its successful ACHA Division 3 men's team after posting a 0.912 save percentage last season - as well as seven true freshmen.

Claire Gauthier (Cape Cod Storm), twin sisters Tarika Embar (Steel City Selects) and Emma Embar (Steel City Selects), as well as Riley O'Connor (Princeton Tiger Lilies) are the rookies at forward. Each of the four helped their squads to USA Hockey Tier 2 19U nationals this past spring, with Gauthier's two goals and three assists in six tournament games an essential part of the Storm's run to a national title.

O'Connor is the niece of John O'Connor, a Penn State alumnus who played for the university's former ACHA Division 1 program, the Icers, and was a part of the 1990 national collegiate club championship squad.

Sam Siciliano, Aubrey Vena and Rachel Reviello will reinforce Penn State's blueline.

Siciliano is a Staten Island, NY native who hails from the powerful New Jersey Colonials Tier 1 program, also notable for producing former team captain Carly Szyszko. Vena and Reviello are both Keystone Staters, although from opposite ends of the commonwealth. Johnstown's Vena was previously with the Johnstown Jets and Bishop McCort High School, while Wallingford's Reviello played for the West Chester Quakers, a PSU pipeline significant for producing players like Tonetti, Fisk and 2014 graduate Allie Rothman, the standout whose shoes the freshman trio will seek to fill.

Penn State's reformulated roster is just 21 days from opening its season, with a series at ECWHL opponent Vermont on September 27th and 28th. The Lady Ice Lions will open their 2014-15 Pegula Ice Arena slate on October 4th and 5th against Delaware.

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WIHC Adopts New Nickname For New Era: Meet the Lady Ice Lions

As a new season and new era in Penn State ACHA hockey are upon us with the move to Division 1 and the Eastern Collegiate Women's Hockey League, the Penn State Women's Ice Hockey Club is marking the occasion with a new nickname: the Lady Ice Lions.

The moniker is intended to complement, not replace, "Women's Ice Hockey Club" or "WIHC." While the names will be interchangeable in most cases, "Women's Ice Hockey Club" will remain the formal name of the organization, while "Lady Ice Lions" will generally be used to facilitate game functions like public address announcements and recaps, as well as for marketing purposes.

Adoption was made with an eye on both the past and the future. ACHA hockey at Penn State, of course, has a long history of team nicknames outside of the varsity programs' customary "Nittany Lions," with "Lady Icers" serving as the women's team's identity from 1996 through 2012.

At the same time, the Lady Ice Lions name will serve to formally acknowledge and strengthen the ties between the team and its brother organization, the men's ACHA Division 2 Ice Lions, as the two continue to forge a synergistic relationship.

The newly-christened Lady Ice Lions will open the season in just 25 days, at new ECWHL rival Vermont on September 27th and 28th, before returning to Pegula Ice Arena the following weekend against Delaware.

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