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Series Preview: Delaware Visits to Close WIHC's Fall Semester Schedule


What: Penn State (No. 1 ACHA WD2 East Region, 9-1-1 overall, 4-1-1 College Hockey East) hosts Delaware (No. 4 ACHA WD2 East Region, 5-9-2 overall, 0-6-2 College Hockey East) in a CHE series

When: Saturday, December 7th at 3:30 p.m. and Sunday, December 8th at 11:30 a.m.

Where: Pegula Ice Arena Varsity Rink; University Park, PA (Saturday) and Galactic Ice Rink; Altoona, PA (Sunday)

Notable: Penn State is on an eight-game unbeaten streak dating back to October 12th

Game Notes

Jersey City, New Jersey: This weekend's series marks the debut for the Women's Ice Hockey Club's new jerseys, which replace a set that was introduced to the ACHA Division 1 Lady Icers program in 2008. The look features a clean blue and white design, the familiar Nittany Lion logo underneath an arched "Penn State" as the crest, traditional block numbering and, for the first time in the history of PSU ACHA women's hockey, player names on the back.

MKT the MVP: With goalies Katie Vaughan - who is in Italy playing for Team USA at the World University Games - and Sarah Eisenhut both unavailable, junior forward Mary Kate Tonetti will assume crease duties against Delaware. The situation is similar to events during the 2011 World University Games, when then-Lady Icers freshman forward Carly Szyszko and others had to fill in for Vaughan and Heather Rossi, both of whom were picked for Team USA. However, it's also different in one crucial way: Tonetti played goalie until the end of her freshman season at PSU. She will shed her customary number 11 for 55 while between the pipes.

Calling First: A three-point weekend against Delaware would ensure that Penn State is in the College Hockey East lead headed into the semester break, as the WIHC presently sits two points behind California (which is simultaneously closing its semester with non-league games against Slippery Rock). Additionally PSU, the top-ranked squad in ACHA Division 2's East Region, is seeking to make a strong final argument for the season's second poll, which will be released during the week of December 15th.

Shut Out the Lights: Although there is certainly plenty of hockey left in 2013-14, the WIHC will likely bid a temporary farewell to game action at two of its three home rinks against UD. After the Blue Hens leave town, the remaining pair of home contests (January 31st and February 1st versus Cal) are presently scheduled for Pegula Ice Arena's Community Rink. That makes Saturday the season capper at the PIA Varsity Rink and Sunday the final match at Altoona's Galactic Ice Rink.

First-Year Phenoms: While Geneva Wagoner continues to lead all ACHA Division 2 freshmen in goals (seven), assists (seven) and points (14), she's not the only impact rookie on the roster. Cassie Dunne (six points), Anna Marcus (five) and Lucy Yeatman (five) are fifth, sixth and seventh in freshman scoring, while Marcus (three) and Yeatman (two) also appear in the top ten for goals. Dunne's five assists trail only Wagoner and Delaware's Alexx Good.

The Opponent

Name: University of Delaware
Nickname: Fightin' Blue Hens
Location: Newark, DE

Series History: Penn State leads, 1-0-1. The only two games of the series took place three weeks ago, on November 16th and 17th at UD's Fred Rust Ice Arena. The teams tied the first game 1-1, with Allie Rothman's end-to-end rush matching Good's first-period goal. Delaware again scored first on the 17th, but PSU answered with six - from Marcus, Tonetti, Wagoner, Szyszko and Devon Fisk (twice) - to take a comfortable 6-1 result.

About Delaware: Since hosting Penn State, the East Region's fourth-ranked team has played three times. On November 22nd and 23rd, Delaware was swept at California by a combined 12-1 count, before heading to Columbus, OH on the 24th and defeating D1's Ohio State 2-0. The Blue Hens, while an unimpressive-looking 5-9-2 overall, have proven themselves against a tough schedule by tying the East No. 2 Vulcans on October 26th, in addition to their aforementioned draw with the No. 1 WIHC. Furthermore, 11 of Delaware's 16 games have come against teams in D1 or in the top three of D2's East Region. UD has struggled for offense at times, scoring just 19 times this season. Upperclassmen Kelley Philbin and Kaitlyn Smith, as well as freshman Danielle Marten, have each accounted for three of the 19, while Good (a team-high seven points) supplies juice from the back end. Sarah Ehrlich, who made 46 stops against PSU last time around, is the Hens' goaltender.

Trivia: Delaware's roster does not include a single native of the state of Delaware. Massachusetts and Connecticut lead all states by claiming five Blue Hens each, while Pennsylvania and New York are next up with three apiece.

Head Coach: Bobby Crystle (fourth season)
Goals Scored Per Game: 1.27
Goals Allowed Per Game: 3.80

Team Website:
http://www.udelhockey.com/w2/