Lady Ice Lions Set to Open New Season and Era With Trip to Vermont

What: Penn State (0-0-0 overall, 0-0-0 Eastern Collegiate Women's Hockey League) travels to Vermont (0-0-0 overall, 0-0-0 Eastern Collegiate Women's Hockey League) in an ECWHL series

When: Saturday, September 27th at 8:00 p.m. and Sunday, September 28th at 1:30 p.m.

Where: Gutterson Fieldhouse; Burlington, VT

Notable: Penn State makes its season, ACHA Division 1 and ECWHL debut on the road against the Catamounts

Game Notes

You Again (Part I)?: As with several opponents in this first season at the Division 1 level, the Lady Ice Lions and Vermont have never met. However, on February 18th and 19th, 2012, the former Lady Icers program hosted UVM at the Ice Pavilion, with PSU coming away with a 5-0, 4-2 sweep to clinch the ECWHL regular season championship. Current team members Cara Mendelson, Katie Murphy and Madison Smiddy, as well as assistant coach Jess Desorcie, all played that weekend (Mary Kate Tonetti, Ashton Schaffer and Sarah Eisenhut were all on the roster as well but did not see action). Mendelson and Murphy each recorded assists, and Desorcie scored twice with a pair of helpers.

You Again (Part II)?: The Catamounts' roster features two players who previously played with NCAA programs, junior forward Emily Ford (Division I Vermont) and junior defenseman Nicole Beaudoin (Division III Chatham). With their old teams, they played a combined four games against Penn State's NCAA team in 2012-13, and therefore against the Lady Ice Lions' Mendelson, Murphy, Smiddy, Darby Kern and assistant coach Desorcie, who were then a part of the Nittany Lions' varsity squad. In all, PSU went 3-1-0 against the pair of Catamounts, with Smiddy (two assists and a +3 rating in three games), Desorcie (five assists and a +4 rating in three games) and Kern (one assist and a +3 rating in two games) all collecting points.

Experienced, Yet Not: Despite a core of eight seniors, some of whom have played for three different teams at Penn State alone, the Lady Ice Lions are also introducing a bevy of new players this weekend - nine in all. Seven, forwards Claire Gauthier, Riley O'Connor, Tarika Embar and Emma Embar, as well as defensemen Sam Siciliano, Aubrey Vena and Rachel Reveillo, are freshmen. The others are junior goaltender Sumire Clevenger, a transfer from Penn State's Brandywine campus, and defenseman Kelly Watson. The latter is the newest member of the club, joining a couple weeks ago after transferring to PSU following a freshman year at the University of New England in Biddeford, ME.

Don't Forget Your Headphones: Beginning with this season-opening series (a 972-mile round trip), the Lady Ice Lions will log a whopping 4,066 travel miles from University Park during the fall semester alone. Trips to Massachusetts (October 10th and 11th, 778 miles), Rhode Island (November 8th and 9th, 792 miles), Northeastern (November 21st and 22nd, 876 miles) and Liberty (December 5th and 6th, 648 miles) are slated before the holidays, with only five games at Pegula Ice Arena (October 4th and 5th versus Delaware, November 2nd versus Navy, November 14th and 15th versus Slippery Rock) as a reprieve.

Fresh Meat: Since the Lady Ice Lions' founding for the 2012-13 season, the team has a 8-2-2 record when facing an opponent for the first time, defeating ACHA Division 2 squads Michigan State, Maryland, Slippery Rock, Navy, West Chester, Alaska, Wisconsin-Stout and Liberty in series openers. The losses came to California (PA) and Iowa State, while the initial meetings with North Dakota State and Delaware ended in draws.

The Opponent

Name: University of Vermont
Nickname: Catamounts
Location: Burlington, VT

Series History: Tied, 0-0-0.

About Vermont: Like Penn State, Vermont is a relatively new program, joining ACHA Division 2 in 2010-11 and Division 1 and the ECWHL a year later. While never a conference champion or an ACHA tournament qualifier, the Catamounts are much improved from the team that only won once against a current conference member from 2011-2013 and endured a 16-game winless skid and a 3-21-1 mark in two seasons ago. Last year, UVM upset both national runner up Massachusetts and Northeastern on the way to tripling its win total, to nine. Along the way, former NCAA players Ford and Beaudoin have signed on, with Ford's 22 goals in 2013-14 ranking eighth in the division. Last weekend, Vermont introduced a whopping eleven new recruits in a scrimmage with the Boston Shamrocks U19 team.

Trivia: UVM's home Gutterson Fieldhouse hosted the IIHF Women's World Championship in 2012, which was decided by a Caroline Ouellette overtime goal that gave Canada the gold medal over the United States.

Head Coach: Tom Ryan (second season)
Goals Scored Per Game (2013-14): 3.10
Goals Allowed Per Game (2013-14): 3.48

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