Vaughan and Team USA Win Tune-Ups, World University Games Next

Although the results don't count, senior Women's Ice Hockey Club goaltender Katie Vaughan and her U.S. University Select teammates could not be off to a better start during their fortnight overseas.

Team USA, made up of top players from around the ACHA, swept its three exhibition contests in advance of the World University Games tournament, which begins Tuesday in Pergine Valsugana, Italy when the U.S. takes on Russia in the preliminary round at 10:00 a.m. Eastern.

The trip began with the closest of the bunch so far, a 2-1 result over the Italian National Team on December 5th that saw the winner scored with less than one second remaining in overtime. A 14-0 rout of the Austria-based Tyrolean Selects followed the next day.

On Saturday, Team USA wrapped up its pre-tournament slate by decisively besting the Austrian National Team 8-1.

Offensive stars for the Americans have included Miami's Katie Augustine, who had a hat trick against Austria, and Staci Burlingame of Michigan State's Division 1 team. Meanwhile, goaltenders Vaughan and Chelsea Corell of Massachusetts have done an outstanding job keeping the gates closed behind a defense corps that includes Paige Harrington, also of UMass, who played at Penn State as a freshman in 2011-12.

Following the WUG-opening tilt with Russia, Team USA will complete a full round robin schedule including Great Britain (Thursday at 6:00 a.m.), Japan (Friday at 2:00 p.m.), Canada (Sunday at 2:00 p.m.) and Spain (December 16th at 2:00 p.m.). The top four teams following the preliminaries will compete in the semifinals on December 18th, with the bronze and gold medal games to follow on December 20th. Updates for all games will be available on Twitter at @USAHockeyScores, as well as on USAHockey.com and UniversiadeTrentino.org, the event's website.

Vaughan heads a Penn State contingent at the tournament including her coach, Mo Stroemel, who has held numerous roles in PSU hockey over the last 20-plus years. Former ACHA Men's Division 1 Icers head and assistant coach Scott Balboni is the head coach of USA Hockey's men's entry, while Graham Pepperman, the equipment manager of the NCAA Nittany Lion women, is on Balboni's staff.