Penn State ACHA Recap: Now with more ELITE wins

IcersGuy Note: Seeing as no other club sports get front page billing, I made the personal decision to keep the ACHA portion of the ice hockey recaps as a FanPost.

As the 2013 portion of the season gets underway, both ACHA ice hockey teams are looking to solidify their position to make their respective post-season tournaments. The Ice Lions have moved to #2 in the Southeast Region, coming on strong after a bumpy start to the season, while the Lady Icers are ranked 4th even with their limited schedule. To kick off 2013, the Ice Lions made it a Virginia-based weekend, taking on Liberty and Virginia Tech; the Lady Icers were in Maryland to take on Navy for a single game.

Ice Lions Recap:

January 11, 2013 1 2 3 Final
PENN STATE 1 1 2 4
Liberty 0 3 0 3
PSU Goals: Urban (6, 7); O'Malley (2); Lewis (13)
Penn State SOG: 43
Liberty SOG: 26

January 12, 2013 1 2 3 OT SO Final
PENN STATE 0 2 0 0 1 3
Virginia Tech 1 0 1 0 0 2
PSU Goals: Daley (5), Urban (8)
Penn State SOG: 51
Virginia Tech SOG: 25

Summary: Friday's game against Liberty was a case of Penn State being the better team but not finding a way to put their opponent away. Penn State controlled much of the play in the first, but could only muster a goal from Ryan Urban to take a 1-0 lead after the first 20 minutes. The trend continued into the second period, but Liberty started to take advantage of their opportunities, eventually taking a 3-2 in the second period. But a late 5-minute major against Liberty opened the door for the Ice Lions, as the penalty rolled into the 3rd period. Chris Lewis picked up his 13th of the season, and Urban grabbed his second goal shortly after Lewis, giving Penn State the 4-3 lead. The Ice Lions continued to hold Liberty to very little on offense, and would skate away with the 4-3 win.

After Friday's win, the Ice Lions travelled to Blacksburg to take on Virginia Tech. The Ice Lions would control much of the play, but Virginia Tech's goal with 15 seconds left in the first period gave the Hokies a surprising lead. The second period saw the Ice Lions start to get results from their offensive pressure, with Peter Daley tying the game and Ryan Urban continuing his hot weekend, giving PSU the 2-1 lead after 2 periods of play. Refusing to go away, the Hokie would tie the game at 2-2 midway through the 3rd period, and the two teams would deadlock from there. The remainder of the 3rd period and the five-minute OT could not produce a game-winner, so it would be decided by a shootout. Joe Zitarelli would give PSU the 1-0 lead after the first round, but VT would tie it in the second round. Brandon Russo would give PSU the 2-1 advantage in the third round, and goalie Ryan Demuth would shutdown the Virginia Tech shooter, giving Penn State the 3-2 win. The win extended the Ice Lions' current winning streak to 6 games.

Season Record: 15-4-1

Next Opponents: The Ice Lions are back on the road next weekend, taking on Kentucky for some midnight hockey action. (No really - both games start at 11:55pm.) While Kentucky is one of the easier teams remaining on the schedule, the Ice Lions will certainly be looking to solidify their top-2 ranking to ensure an autobid into the D2 National Tournament.

Women's Ice Hockey Club Recap:

January 13, 2013 1 2 3 Final
PENN STATE 5 2 2 9
Navy 0 1 0 1
PSU Goals: Denis, Szyszko, Fisk, Mortach (4), Tonetti, Numan

Summary: To help with the thin numbers of being a D2 women's ice hockey club team, the ladies got some extra help over the break. Elizabeth Denis (played on the ACHA D1 team last season) and Taylor Nyman (transfer from Altoona campus) join the squad, helping to make the roster a little deeper. Oh, and Denis is a Ph.D. candidate for Penn State's geosciences program. As for the game, well, turns out Navy didn't remember they actually had a game. So after some scrambling, they pieced together a team and then proceeded to get rolled by Penn State.

Making a splash in her debut return, Denis gave PSU the lead 6:30 into the game. Carly Szyszko and Devin Fisk extended the lead to 3-0 not long after, and Mandy Mortach added 2 of her 4 goals before the end of the first period. Mary Kate Tonetti and newcomer Taylor Nyman added goals to propel Penn State to a resounding 9-1 victory. Since Navy is not technically recognized by the ACHA as a D2 squad, this likely will not count towards the ladies' season record. Still, it was an exceptional return to action after an extended break.

Season Record: 4-1-1 (5-1-1 overall)

Next Opponents: The ladies are off this coming weekend, and then head back on the road to take on West Chester for a set of games. WCU is currently ranked #2 in women's D2, so any positive result from the weekend will go a long way in helping Penn State make the D2 National Tournament.

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