|Jackie Saideh is ready for her sixth and seventh meetings with her hometown opponents|
No. 15 Penn State (0-4-1/0-2-1 ECWHL) vs.
Northeastern (1-6-2/0-5-2 ECWHL)
Saturday, November 7th at 5:15 p.m.
Sunday, November 8th at 8:30 a.m.
Pegula Ice Arena
University Park, PA
Penn State sees a repeat opponent for the first time this season in Northeastern, seeking 2015-16's first and second wins after tying NU in Boston last month.
Ustream.tv (subject to change)
A-Okay at PIA: This weekend marks the Lady Ice Lions' home opening series for 2015-16 and the first two of eight consecutive games at Pegula Ice Arena, a stretch that runs all the way through January 10th of next year. Penn State has excelled at the $90 million facility since hosting its first intercollegiate hockey game on September 27, 2013, posting 8-1-0 marks in it over each of its first two seasons - with two of the wins last year coming over Northeastern. PSU has also played - and won - three home games at Altoona's Galactic Ice Rink giving the squad an impressive 19-2-0 home record in three seasons of existence.
Hannarama: Newness for the Lady Ice Lions isn't limited to the rink hosting this weekend's games, as a new player, goaltender Hanna Scanlon, has been added to the lineup. Scanlon, who will wear number 31 and had already been practicing with the team, is a New Cumberland, PA native and a 2013 graduate of Cedar Cliff High School. She has a solid background in the game in playing not only for her school team, the Colts, but also for the Hershey Jr. Bears program prior to enrolling at Penn State.
Early to Rise: Sunday's game, which is scheduled for 8:30 a.m., would seem to have a less than ideal start time for many, particularly college students. However, since 2012-13, Penn State has fared quite well with early-morning tilts, going 7-0-0 in games that start at 10:00 a.m. or earlier and 12-1-0 in contests beginning before noon. The list is hardly filled with layups either: five of the 13 morning starts were at the ACHA or ECWHL tournaments, and the remaining eight include powers like Michigan State's Division 2 team (twice), Rhode Island and then-defending D2 champion West Chester. Early starts occurred against Northeastern twice last season: a 3-2 win in Boston on November 23, 2014 starting at 7:30 a.m. (the earliest puck drop in team history, hopefully forever) and a 6-1 victory at Pegula Ice Arena on February 1st at 10:00 a.m.
Rankings Review: Following Penn State's pair of losses at Adrian two weekends ago, the Lady Ice Lions tumbled in the ACHA rankings, from seventh in the preseason poll (and in final placement at last year's national championship tournament) all the way down to 15th in Ranking 1. There's no way around things: it was quite a hit. The post-2012 iteration of ACHA women's hockey at PSU has never been ranked lower than fourth in the East Region of Division 2 (the D2 rankings split teams into East and West Regions) or 12th in Division 1. The last time the 1996-2012 Lady Icers were ranked 15th was February 13, 2008, one period following the last time that team was unranked. The good news? It's still very early. For proof, one needs to look no further than last season's Ranking 1, which included four eventual national tournament teams - including PSU in 12th - ranked outside of the top eight. Adrian, notably, was 14th in that poll and ended the season in the ACHA semifinals.
Name: Northeastern University
Location: Boston, MA
Series History: Penn State leads, 4-0-1. Most recently, the teams tied 6-6 on October 11th in Boston, a wild affair that saw the Lady Ice Lions rally from a 3-0 hole to tie things up, only to subsequently fall behind 5-3 and 6-5 before clawing out a share of the points. PSU's Red Line (Darby Kern, Riley O'Connor and Caitlin Costello) combined for ten points. Last season, a Penn State season sweep saw a pair of close games (2-1 in overtime and 3-2) at NU's Matthews Arena in November, 2014 followed by a pair of blowouts at Pegula Ice Arena (11-1 and 6-1) to close the regular season.
Since Last Time: Although the Lady Ice Lions have only played one series since last seeing Northeastern, the Huskies have gone the other direction with games every weekend in between the two meetings. On October 17th and 18th, NU hosted Vermont, coming away with a 4-4 tie in the back half of the series after UVM took the first game 3-1. Last weekend, powerhouse Rhode Island rolled through town to the tune of 8-1 and 7-1 routs, while in between the two ACHA sets, Northeastern took a 6-2 decision over non-ACHA team Boston University for its only win of the season. All in all, little has changed with NU: Clara Karastury (four goals and eight points in just five games, two and three against Penn State) and Estelle Ip (five goals and seven points, one and two against Penn State) still lead the Huskies' offensive charge, while heavily-used Anne-Marie Dion (playing all but 20 of the team's goaltending minutes so far) is one of the division's best.
Trivia: Ip is a rarity: an ACHA player who is also a member of a senior national team, as she has skated for Hong Kong's squad in the IIHF World Championships, Division IIB Qualification Level, in both 2014 (when the team entered the world championship system) and 2015. At least one other player, goalie Firth Bidois of Lindenwood-Belleville and New Zealand, also holds that distinction.
Head Coach: Jeff Postera
Goals Scored Per Game: 1.75
Goals Allowed Per Game: 5.88
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