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PSU Resumes ECWHL Play Versus Massachusetts, Northeastern

Rachel Kapoian and Penn State will try to track down Brittani Lanzilli's high-flying UMass team



Penn State (2-7-0/2-5-0 ECWHL) at
No. 3 Massachusetts (10-2-2/6-0-0 ECWHL)
When
Friday, November 18th at 8:00 p.m.
Saturday, November 19th at 6:00 p.m.
Where
Mullins Center
Amherst, MA
The Lead
Penn State closes their regular season games against the conference-leading Minutewomen in search of a momentum-building win
Coverage

Penn State (2-7-0/2-5-0 ECWHL) at
Northeastern (1-8-0/1-4-0 ECWHL)
When
Sunday, November 20th at 7:30 a.m.
Where
Matthews Arena
Boston, MA
The Lead
The Huskies - following a forfeit last month - become the final ECWHL opponent to oppose the Lady Ice Lions this year
Coverage

Game Notes

Back on the Map: While it's certainly not anything resembling a team goal, the Lady Ice Lions got a little bit of a bump on Tuesday when, despite not playing last weekend, the team re-entered the "others receiving votes" category of the ACHA rankings. That came about thanks to the computer polls - worth half of the total - which tabbed Penn State as the 15th best team in the country. The computers thought highly of most of the team's opposition so far this season, placing Adrian in a tie for first, Massachusetts in third and Rhode Island in a tie for eighth, contributing to its opinion of PSU.

Liz in the Box: As a freshman, Liz Tuorinsky set a new team single-season record for penalty minutes, with 48. She's now well on her way to the career mark as well, currently held by Tara Soukup with 79. The former New Jersey Rocket has sat in the box for 18 minutes so far this year, giving her 66 in 34 career games which, of course, is just 13 minutes behind Soukup. It's worth mentioning that Soukup, a 2014 ACHA All-Tournament pick, posted her total over just 39 career games, thanks to her only playing two full seasons with the WIHC, one of which was the lightly-scheduled 2012-13 inaugural campaign. An obvious highlight of her 79 PIMs was a November 9, 2013 fight with West Chester's Becky Dobson, then the reigning Zoe M. Harris award winner, which helped spur the Lady Ice Lions to a home sweep of the Rams and a measure of revenge for the 2013 ACHA Division 2 championship game meeting won by WCU.

Powerful Play: On a more positive side, Tuorinsky has also been a central component to what's been Penn State's obvious offensive strength this year: the power play. She scored on the advantage against Adrian two weeks ago with one of her trademark blasts off of a D-to-D pass from Cassie Dunne - a reversal of the Tuorinsky-to-Dunne combination that led to PSU's overtime winner on the power play at Vermont on October 1st. Half of the team's eight goals this year have come with the extra skater, including a second one by Dunne (at Rhode Island on October 29th) and a Meghan Miller tally (at Vermont on September 30th).

Five-Alarm Special: Sunday's contest against Northeastern is set to begin at 7:30 a.m., a time when very few people enjoy being awake. However, Penn State has had a healthy amount of success in early morning games, posting a 8-3-0 record in games starting at 10:00 a.m. or earlier over five seasons. Notably, one of the wins was an identical 7:30 a.m. start at Northeastern, a 3-2 result on November 23, 2014, thanks to goals from Devon Fisk, Cara Mendelson and Soukup. Most recently, PSU's overtime win at Vermont on October 1st thanks to Dunne's goal featured a 10:00 a.m. start.

The (First) Opponent

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

Series History: Massachusetts leads, 8-2-1. Last month, the Minutewomen snapped a couple of Penn State streaks in taking a pair of 3-0 games in central Pennsylvania, including PSU's unbeaten and unscored-upon record during games played in Altoona, PA as well as the Lady Ice Lions'/Lady Icers' run of taking at least one of their two annual home games against UMass, which dated back October 10th and 11th, 2008. One bright spot from the blue and white in that series was the play of goalie Meg Lydick, who made 64 saves in the two games and turned away two shorthanded breakaways and a penalty shot in one 90-second stretch.

Since Last Time: Immediately following the series at Penn State, UMass hit a four-game winless skid, albeit against extremely tough competition in the form of No. 5 Liberty, No. 9 Michigan State and No. 4 Grand Valley State, with those latter two games coming at a showcase the Minutewomen hosted between November 4th and 6th. The team rallied, however, to defeat No. 11 Michigan 6-2 on the final day of the showcase before a closer-than-the-scores sweep of archrival Rhode Island last weekend. The third periods were key in those games against URI, as UMass scored four goals in a 7:31 stretch in the first game to turn a 1-0 game into a 5-0 final, then outscored the Rams 3-1 in the final frame the next day to take what had been a tie game after 40 minutes. As is customary, UMass players dot the national scoring leaders, including Brittani Lanzilli (24 points, second), Michaela Tosone (19, tied for third) and Jojo Olson (18, tied for seventh) in the top ten.

Head Coach: Bill Wright
Goals Scored Per Game: 4.64
Goals Allowed Per Game: 1.36

Team Website: None

The (Second) Opponent

Name: Northeastern University
Nickname: Huskies
Location: Boston, MA

Series History: Penn State leads, 9-0-1. This season, of course, saw Penn State's ninth series win, although it came due to a Northeastern forfeit on October 30th and not via an on-ice result. In 2015-16, the Huskies survived a late PSU rally to earn their only non-loss of the series, a wild 6-6 tie in Boston on opening weekend. The Lady Ice Lions, however, locked things down from there, outscoring NU 19-0 over four subsequent wins. Allyssa Long posted shutouts in the latter two contests, while Sophie Paolizzi scored her first career goal in the most recent (actually played) game between the two games, a 4-0 win to open the ECWHL playoffs last year.

About Northeastern: Notably, and despite the presence of perennial powers Rhode Island and UMass, the Huskies own the ECWHL's sole ACHA national championship, through taking the crown in 2012. The sledding since then, however, has proven rough. Thanks largely to an Estelle Ip hat trick, NU defeated Vermont 4-3 on November 6th - a victory that ended the Huskies' 34-game winless skid against ACHA competition, a run dating back to a win over at-the-time conference foe Navy on November 16, 2014. Ip, one of the few ACHA players who gets the calls for a senior national team, as she stars for Hong Kong, leads NU with eight goals and ten points in eight games. Katherine Spengler has chipped in five goals of her own, while Tessa Griffin has taken over lead goaltending duties from former All-ECWHL pick Anne-Marie Dion.

Head Coach: Jeff Postera
Goals Scored Per Game: 2.13
Goals Allowed Per Game: 5.88

Team Website:
http://nuwomensicehockey.weebly.com/

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