|Jenna Trubiano will lead her Wolverines against the Lady Ice Lions on January 20th|
In most cases, it's impossible to determine in advance whether a given drive to an away game will be difficult or easy. Sometimes the miles fly by, while other times, two hours of Connecticut traffic force a rink arrival 30 minutes before puck drop. But when the Lady Ice Lions head to the Great Lakes State in late January to face Michigan State, it's already safe to say that the journey will be more difficult than most.
The reason: Penn State has added a third game that weekend, preceding the pair with the Spartans, against national powerhouse Michigan. The newly-scheduled contest is slated for Friday, January 20th at 9:45 p.m. at Arctic Coliseum in Chelsea, MI, roughly 20 minutes west of UM's home base in Ann Arbor (and about an hour from MSU's East Lansing).
The Wolverines represent Penn State's 13th opponent that competed in this past March's ACHA National Tournament, as Michigan visited the championships for an ACHA record-tying 13th time by virtue of finishing eighth in the association rankings. UM has also made a record 10 appearances in the Central Collegiate Women's Hockey Association championship game (most recently in 2015) with a pair of titles.
Head coach Terry Mathews is expected to field a strong team once again in 2016-17, as forwards Erin Gregoire and Jen Cusmano were the Wolverines' only 2016 graduations. Notable players expected to return include 2015 World University Games competitor Eleanor Chalifoux, 2016 CCWHA All-Tournament pick Jenna Trubiano and key goal scorers Mercedes Reyes and Karrie Inman, who scored nine and seven last season.
It will be the first meeting between the Wolverines and the present iteration of Penn State's ACHA team, although the former Lady Icers team met UM a handful of times, the most recent being a 2-1 Michigan overtime win at the Great Lakes Women's College Hockey Showcase on October 5, 2008 in Dimondale, MI.
Well before that long weekend in Michigan, of course, Penn State will open the 2016-17 season on September 30th and October 1st with a visit to ECWHL foe Vermont. Game times are set for 6:00 p.m. and 10:00 a.m., respectively.
Penn State Women's Ice Hockey Club: Twitter | Facebook | Instagram