ACHA Selects Fung as 2013-14 Women's Division 2 Coach of the Year

Head coach Pat Fung (center) has led the WIHC to a 28-8-3 record in two seasons

Women's Ice Hockey Club head coach Pat Fung has been named the ACHA Women's Division 2 coach of the year for the 2013-14 season, the association announced on Saturday. He will formally be presented with the award on Friday, May 2, 2014, at the ACHA's annual meeting at the Naples Beach Hotel and Golf Club in Naples, FL.

He becomes the first Penn State women's coach to be honored as a national coach of the year, and the first from any PSU team since Scott Balboni was named ACHA Men's Division 1 coach of the year with the former Icers program in 2006-07.

Fung, at the helm for both seasons of the WIHC era, helped start up the team in the aftermath of the ACHA Women's Division 1 Lady Icers' elevation to NCAA status and has led it to a 28-8-3 overall record (19-4-2 in 2013-14). That record includes a pair of appearances at the ACHA National Tournament in 2013 and 2014, each of which resulted in a second place finish.

In the inaugural season of the College Hockey East women's conference this past year, PSU went 8-2-2 within the league to win its regular season title. At nationals last month, the WIHC swept its pool with wins over Alaska, Delaware and North Dakota State, then added a 2-1 semifinal win over rival California before falling to Iowa State in the title game.

His team was equally successful off the ice in 2013-14, registering a team GPA of 3.45. Eleven of 20 players made the Dean’s List (requiring a GPA of 3.50 or greater) in the fall, including two perfect 4.00 marks.

Fung's decade and a half of history with Penn State hockey includes turns both playing for and coaching the ACHA Men's Division 2 Ice Lions - he was 76-20-1 as bench boss from 2004-07, including three appearances at nationals - duties as an assistant for both Joe Battista and Balboni with the ACHA Men's Division 1 Icers, and also a notable stint on Mo Stroemel's staff with the ACHA Women's Division 1 Lady Icers. That latter period saw the rejuvenation of a program that had fallen on hard times due to heavy player and coach turnover, as well as the recruitment of several players who went on to become prominent upperclass leaders with the WIHC as it started up.

Under Fung's guidance, four different players have received All-American recognition six times, with goaltender Katie Vaughan and forward Geneva Wagoner receiving first-team nods this past season, and forward Devon Fisk joining them on the second team. Vaughan, Fisk and defenseman Tara Soukup were first team All-ACHA Tournament in March, while Fisk (first team) and Vaughan (second team) also received recognition in 2013. The Fung-era individual awards haul also includes forward/goaltender Mary Kate Tonetti, the division's Off Ice MVP in 2012-13.

In addition to his duties with teams wearing blue and white, the Hillsborough, NJ native is active with local youth hockey and high school organizations and has worked with Penn State and the Mid-Am District’s hockey camps for over ten years.

Spectacular 2013-14 WIHC Season Closes Saturday With Team Banquet

The Penn State Women's Ice Hockey Club capped off a memorable 2013-14 season with its annual postseason team banquet on Saturday afternoon at The Atherton Hotel in State College.

The festivities included a buffet lunch, an address from head coach Pat Fung, tributes to the members of the senior class offered by teammates and an off-ice highlight video overflowing with locker room dancing and produced by sophomore forward Nina Elia. Team awards - both of the traditional variety, and the less formal paper plate honors - were also handed out.

The Maurice H. Stroemel Most Valuable Player award, named for the 2007-11 head coach that helped stabilize women's hockey at Penn State after some lean years and elevate the program to new heights, was given to both senior goaltender Katie Vaughan and sophomore forward Devon Fisk.

MVP honors are nothing new for Vaughan, who also won last season and prior to that with the ACHA Division 1 Lady Icers. She wrapped up her career - arguably the most decorated of any PSU women's player in history - this year with ACHA First Team All-American and All-Tournament selections, along with a bronze medal with the U.S. National University Select Team at the World University Games in Trentino, Italy. For the campaign, Vaughan posted a 15-4-2 record with a 1.30 goals against average, a 0.939 save percentage and three shutouts.

Fisk, who received team rookie of the year recognition a season ago, also was named for the ACHA All-American (second team) and All-Tournament (first team) squads. The matchup nightmare was again significant to the division leaderboards, thanks to her potting a team-best 20 goals - including four winners - and 30 points. Fisk was at her best during the ACHA National Tournament, as she scored six goals in five games, including both tallies in a 2-1 semifinal win over rival California.

For the second consecutive year, senior captain Carly Szyszko took the Billie S. Willits Player's Player award for the "player who best embodies success, honor, unity, team, family and leadership." Willits was a pioneer of women's hockey at Penn State, as she coached the Lady Icers during the team's formative years (including an ACHA third place finish in 2002) and remains a strong advocate for women's sports at the university today.

Szyszko, in addition to being a two-year captain, was instrumental in rebooting the club in the aftermath of the Lady Icers' transition to NCAA status in 2012. The Bensalem, PA native is the consummate leader on and off the ice, often changing positions - notably to goalie as a freshman, and more subtly to center as a senior - to alleviate team need, while also playing with her trademark toughness in all situations. Szyszko also has a nose for the net, tying for second on the team with 11 goals, including a hat trick on October 20, 2013 against Michigan State.

Geneva Wagoner was the Kyle Rossi Rookie of the Year, an award named for the squad's Hockey Information Director, although in theory she could have been rookie of the year for the entire division. Her 15 assists, 26 points and four game-winning goals were all best among ACHA Division 2 freshmen, and she complimented those offensive numbers with stellar two-way play as well. Among Wagoner's game winners: a deflection effort against Cal on October 12, 2013, the first-ever win by the WIHC over the Vulcans.

Next season, the 19-4-2 national runners-up will return up to 16 of its 20 players, including award winners Fisk and Wagoner, as well as 76 percent of its goal scoring production and five of six defensemen, all while adding an exciting freshman class to the quest for a first-ever national championship.

FastHockey DVDs of PSU's National Tournament Games Available

Senior defenseman Allie Rothman finished her outstanding tournament and career on Sunday

DVDs of each game from the Women's Ice Hockey Club's repeat run to the ACHA national championship game are now available through tournament broadcaster FastHockey.

To purchase the recordings, simply click here, then select "click to browse" under "2014 ACHA D2 Womens Nationals" from the list on the page. From there, the selection of games and quantities is on the right side of the screen, while payment and shipping info is entered to the left.

Each game costs $19.00, with a flat $12.00 shipping charge (regardless of quantity) assessed as well.

In year number two, Penn State established itself as a perennial contender by decisively qualifying for the ACHA National Tournament, then making it to the national championship game for a second consecutive year. In just two seasons of existence, the WIHC's pair of appearances in the ACHA WD2 finals trails only Rainy River's four.

Prior to a heartbreaking 1-0 loss to Iowa State that denied the team a title, PSU swept through it's Pool A schedule with a come-from-behind 3-2 win over Alaska, a 3-0 blanking of tourney host Delaware, and a 5-2 triumph over division player of the year Kacie Johnson and North Dakota State. In the semifinals, Penn State got the last word on archrival California, as Devon Fisk scored twice in a 2-1 win.

The squad placed three on the ACHA's All-Tournament First Team, including sophomore Fisk, who scored six times to take the honor for the second consecutive year, as well as senior goaltender Katie Vaughan (1.20 goals against average, 0.946 save percentage) and sophomore defenseman Tara Soukup (one goal, five assists).

Penn State Places Three on ACHA All-Tournament First Team

Katie Vaughan (left) and Tara Soukup (right) combined to wall off opposing attacks all tournament

It was small consolation, given the 1-0 title game loss to Iowa State that immediately preceded the announcement, but the Women's Ice Hockey Club completed its impressive 2013-14 awards haul on Sunday, as senior goaltender Katie Vaughan, sophomore forward Devon Fisk and sophomore defenseman Tara Soukup were each named to the ACHA All-Tournament First Team.

The trio of picks gives PSU five first-team ACHA selections in its history, and 11 overall.

Vaughan is no stranger to ACHA awards, having also been named a first-team All-American for this season during the tournament. She was a second-team All-Tournament, as well as an All-American honorable mention, as a junior in 2012-13. At nationals, she posted a 4-1-0 record, including a shutout of Delaware, along with a 1.20 goals against average and a 0.946 save percentage.

Fisk has had a similarly-decorated first half of her career. The sophomore from West Chester, PA was Second Team All-American this year, in addition to All-American (honorable mention) and All-Tournament (first team) recognition a year ago. She had six goals and an assist at nationals, scoring pairs of tallies in in the tourney-opening win over Alaska and the semifinal triumph over archrival California.

For Soukup, the nod is the first award of her collegiate career. It's well earned, however, as the Pittsburgh native's blueline presence and heavy shot resulted in a goal and five assists over the long weekend. She was at her best in the 3-0 group stage win over Delaware, blasting home a goal and having another of her drives tipped in by Geneva Wagoner.

Here is the complete list of ACHA All-Tournament selections:

1st Team All-Tournament
2nd Team All-Tournament
Katie Vaughan
Penn State
Maria Sciacca
Devon Fisk
Penn State
Kelsey DeNardo
Kacie Johnson
North Dakota State
Ashley Bye
Iowa State
Millie Luedtke
Iowa State
Alexandra Nelson
Wisconsin-La Crosse
Tara Soukup
Penn State
Kate Fredrickson
North Dakota State
Margo Laboon
Rebecca Horn
Wisconsin-La Crosse

Tournament MVP
Millie Luedtke, Iowa State