Lady Ice Lions Head to UMass for a Showcase Showdown

Meghan Miller and Penn State will face three non-conference ACHA opponents

Penn State (1-5-0/0-0-0 ECWHL) vs.
No. 15 Davenport (1-6-0/1-1-0 CCWHA)
No. 10 Michigan (3-0-1/3-0-1 CCWHA)
No. 1 Liberty (8-0-0/Independent)
Friday, November 3rd at 8:00 p.m. (Davenport)
Saturday, November 4th at 3:00 p.m. (Michigan)
Sunday, November 5th at 7:00 a.m. (Liberty)
Mullins Center
Amherst, MA
The Lead
Penn State re-enters ACHA play with three neutral-side non-conference games against teams in varying association rankings positions, with hopes of continuing to make developmental strides

This weekend, the Penn State Lady Ice Lions will participate in a showcase event at the University of Massachusetts. The event - which doesn't carry an official title, but is generally and informally called the UMass Showcase - pits three ECWHL teams (PSU, UMass and Rhode Island) against common non-league competition in the form of Davenport, Michigan and Liberty.

Additionally, the showcase will feature a recruiting event on Saturday morning where each of the six participating teams will be able to watch local high schoolers run drills before delivering presentations.

For Penn State, the weekend will be a chance to build on the positive momentum developed last Sunday in a 5-4 win over non-ACHA team Mercyhurst, with an interesting sequence of opponents that - according to the ACHA rankings - increase in difficulty as the weekend proceeds. In the contest against the Lakers, Sarah McGillicuddy and Riley O'Connor each scored twice (the first two collegiate goals for the former), while Meghan Miller added a tally.

PSU has not played in a showcase event since 2008-09's Great Lakes Women's College Hockey Showcase in Dimondale, MI. In that event, the Lady Icers opened with a win against Ohio State before dropping meetings with Michigan State, Western Michigan and Michigan, the last of those coming in overtime and coincidentally against one of this weekend's opponents.

The First Opponent

Name: Davenport University
Nickname: Panthers
Location: Grand Rapids, MI

Series History: Davenport leads, 1-0-0

About Davenport: DU, which still qualifies as a newer program thanks to their 2013 founding, has developed a reputation as a squad capable of pulling major upsets as it continues to climb the ACHA rankings, through a combination of strong goaltending and game-breaking forwards. Highly-regarded Michigan State, Grand Valley State and Michigan teams have been among the Panthers' pelts in recent seasons thanks to players like senior Lexie Boydston, an Illinois native who was invited to the Team USA World University Games selection camp last season, former University of Regina skater Laken Kunz and local product Jaiden Forrest, although Forrest sustained an injury on a trip to Lindenwood-Belleville two weeks ago and may remain out this weekend. Dawn Salo, one of the ACHA's more underrated netminders, takes the bulk of the goaltending duties.

Head Coach: Kurt Carter
Goals Scored Per Game: 1.71
Goals Allowed Per Game: 4.29

Team Website: http://davenportnvsports.com/index.aspx?path=whockey

The Second Opponent

Name: University of Michigan
Nickname: Wolverines
Location: Ann Arbor, MI

Series History: Michigan leads, 5-0-2 (since 1999-2000)

About Michigan: The Wolverines, along with Penn State, are a part of a small handful of ACHA women's teams that date back to the 1990s (prior to the ACHA sanctioning women's hockey beginning in 2000-01), and has generally been among the association's stronger teams throughout their history, including 13 ACHA National Tournament bids, a number exceeded only by Michigan State and Massachusetts. The current UM squad is led, literally and figuratively, by Jenna Trubiano, a fifth-year senior who missed most of last season - including a January contest against PSU - due to injury, but is one of the ACHA's premier power forwards when healthy. Trubiano and Morgan Baird are UM's leading scorers, although the strength of lies in goaltender Bailey Hamill (0.86 goals against average/0.923 save percentage) and an extremely deep group of blueliners like Rachel Hysong, Lia Harrington, Mary Reiber and Grace Nardiello.

Head Coach: Joe Kolet
Goals Scored Per Game: 4.50
Goals Allowed Per Game: 1.00

Team Website: http://www.michiganwomenshockey.com/

The Third Opponent

Name: Liberty University
Nickname: Flames
Location: Lynchburg, VA

Series History: Liberty leads, 23-7-2.

Since Last Time: Given that Penn State visited the Flames a mere three weeks ago, it's likely a fair assessment to say that Liberty is largely the same squad now as then. The biggest news for LU since those games, came this week through the tragic passing of Sarah Stevenson. The 2015 graduate was a top player on the Flames' first (and, to date, only) national championship team as a senior - she scored an overtime goal against the Lady Ice Lions during that run that, in hindsight, cost PSU a spot in the semifinals - and went on to represent the ACHA in the pro ranks with the Canadian Women's Hockey League's Toronto Furies in 2015-16. On the ice, Liberty headed west last weekend and swept a tough series against eighth-ranked Colorado, followed up with a single win against Colorado State to climb to 8-0-0. Lauren McDonald leads LU with 19 points, a total good for third across all of ACHA Division 1, while all three of the team's goalies have seen significant action, with none having a save percentage worse than 0.926.

Head Coach: Chris Lowes
Goals Scored Per Game: 6.38
Goals Allowed Per Game: 1.13

Team Website: http://www.liberty.edu/campusrec/clubsports/index.cfm?PID=25959&teamID=3

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