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Ranked and Filed: Penn State Ends Season Among Top Fifteen




In the final ACHA Women's Division 1 ranking of 2016-17, issued on Tuesday, Penn State checked in at 15th for the second consecutive week.

While nobody specifically aspires to 15th - only the top eight make the ACHA National Tournament, rendering ninth through 15th relatively meaningless - it is a position that carries some symbolic value. In the 2015-16 final ranking, the Lady Ice Lions dropped out of the poll for the first time in modern team history (second overall, if including the Lady Icers' 2000-2012 ACHA tenure). It's been a struggle to make it back, with occasional votes but no official ranking in this season's first 15 tries, but PSU finally broke back in last week and held the spot this week. In that context, it's a tangible marker of the team climbing at least part of the way back towards contention as it heads into the offseason.

Penn State first entered the top 15, somewhat surprisingly, after a week off, but with four competitive losses to No. 1 Liberty still standing as fresh additions to the Lady Ice Lions' resume. This past week, of course, saw a third consecutive Eastern Collegiate Women's Hockey League semifinal loss to Rhode Island but also a 7-1 consolation game victory over Northeastern on Sunday. The seven goals against the Huskies represented the most scored by PSU since February 20, 2015 versus Navy.

Liberty, Adrian, Miami, Massachusetts, Lindenwood-Belleville, Grand Valley State, Michigan State and Minnesota were the top eight teams and will compete at the ACHA National Tournament in Columbus, OH, starting on March 15th. UMass, the sole representative from the ECWHL, won the conference title with a 3-0 win over Rhode Island on Sunday. The Rams, which rank fourth all-time with 12 nationals appearances, missed the field for the second time in three years. Penn State, of course, played Liberty, Adrian and Michigan State this past season, in addition to the Minutewomen.

The other Penn State opponents from 2016-17 counted among the top 15 were Michigan (ninth) and URI (tenth).

Here is the complete ranking:

..
1
Liberty
9
Michigan
2
Adrian
10
Rhode Island
3
Miami
11
Colorado
4
Massachusetts
12
Robert Morris
5
LU-Belleville
13
McKendree
6
Grand Valley State
14
Davenport
7
Michigan State
15
Penn State
8
Minnesota

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