Lady Ice Lions Face Important Early Test in Visiting Contender UMass

What: No. 11 Penn State (2-0-0 overall, 2-0-0 Eastern Collegiate Women's Hockey League) visits No. 2 Massachusetts (3-2-0 overall, 1-0-0 Eastern Collegiate Women's Hockey League) in an ECWHL series

When: Friday, October 10th at 8:00 p.m. and Saturday, October 11th at 3:00 p.m.

Where: Mullins Center; Amherst, MA

Notable: Penn State faces its biggest challenge of the young season on the road against last season's ACHA runners-up

Game Notes

A Series of Firsts: Last weekend, the Lady Ice Lions hosted Delaware in 2014-15's first games at Pegula Ice Arena. In Sunday afternoon's 5-0 win to complete the sweep (following a 5-1 triumph Saturday night), no fewer than four players scored their first collegiate points. Sam Siciliano assisted on Katie Murphy's goal to open the scoring, Kelly Watson helped on a second period Jackie Saideh goal, Riley O'Connor scored late in that frame to make it 4-0 and Claire Gauthier fed Murphy's second goal. Rachel Reviello also appeared in her first game with the team this past weekend, in the opening half of the series.

Old Friend, New Rival: Senior UMass defenseman Paige Harrington spent her freshman year at Penn State, as a member of the 2011-12 Lady Icers team that captured the ECWHL regular season championship. On that roster, she teamed with current Lady Ice Lions Murphy, Cara Mendelson, Mary Kate Tonetti, Madison Smiddy and Ashton Schaffer. Since leaving PSU, Harrington has gone on to a highly-successful career with the Minutewomen, winning the 2013 ECWHL regular season and playoff championships and making it to the ACHA championship game last season. She also won World University Games bronze with the U.S. National University Select Team last December.

Top Gunners: As the second-ranked team in the nation, Massachusetts is the highest-ranked squad faced by Penn State at the ACHA Division 1 level since top-ranked Northeastern on January 20th and 21st, 2012. In that series, the Lady Icers earned a split in Boston's Matthews Arena with a 3-2 victory in the second game of the series. Current Lady Ice Lions assistant coach Jess Desorcie scored in that game, while then-freshman defenseman Mendelson picked up an assist. Taylor Gross and Tess Weaver were the other two goal scorers. The result played a role in bumping the Huskies down to fourth in the subsequent poll, although they did go on to win the national championship that year.

Because of the Implication: In the here and now, this weekend's games also have a huge impact on league and ACHA positioning. They're the last that will be played by Penn State ahead of the current ranking period's closing date, October 26th, as the Lady Ice Lions seek to improve their 11th-place slotting. UMass, on the other hand, is attempting to retain top-five placement after stumbling with a pair of losses and a tighter-than-expected win last weekend. Additionally, PSU and Massachusetts are the only two ECWHL teams that have played conference games without losing, making this meeting an opportunity to make a massive early statement within the league.

The Opponent

Name: University of Massachusetts Amherst
Nickname: Minutewomen
Location: Amherst, MA

Series History: Tied, 0-0-0. The Lady Icers went 10-15-1 against the Minutewomen while both were ECWHL members from 2003 through 2012.

About Massachusetts: UMass is well established as one of the ACHA's premier programs, having qualified for 11 national tournaments, including the last ten in a row and the second-place finish last season. They have also won three ECWHL regular season or playoff championships, a number second only to Rhode Island. This season, the Minutewomen started off with a pair of blowout wins over a start-up New Hampshire team before dropping two to Liberty in Lynchburg, VA and eking out a 2-1 conference win over Navy last Sunday. Eight players have recorded four or more points in the team's five games, led by Amanda Abromson's eight on four goals and four assists and freshman Brittani Lanzilli's seven on three goals and four assists (those two accounted for the team's goals against the Midshipmen).

Trivia: UMass has a litany of famous alumni, as actors Rob Corddry, Bill Pullman, Bill Cosby and Jeffrey Donovan, Iron Chef Marc Forgione, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles co-creator Peter Laird, former General Electric CEO Jack Welch and athletes Jonathan Quick, Victor Cruz and Julius Erving all hold degrees from the school.

Head Coach: Bill Wright
Goals Scored Per Game: 3.60
Goals Allowed Per Game: 2.40

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