ACHA Recap: A Senior Weekend and An Important Trip to West Chester

It was an important weekend for the rankings for both teams this weekend. The men were home for two games, including a Saturday game against #5 Rowan. A win would help solidify their spot in their autobid spot in the rankings, while a loss would certainly create havoc in the Southeast Region. Also of importance was the fact that it was Senior Weekend for the boys - one last chance to show-off in front of a raucous home crowd. But it also meant that this would be the first team of the four ice hockey teams on campus that would be seeing their final game action at the Greenberg Ice Pavilion - the beginning of the end of one era in Penn State Ice Hockey.

For the women, the ladies headed to West Chester to take on the 2nd-ranked Golden Rams. The WIHC hasn't lost a game since their opening weekend losses to #1 Cal (Pa), and they were certainly looking to turn their recent momentum into a positive showing against a top team. Any positive result from the weekend would certainly help improve their National Tournament aspirations, while a couple of losses would make things messy for the first year team.

Ice Lions Recap:

January 25, 2013 1 2 3 Final
Monmouth 0 0 0 0
PENN STATE 3 2 3 8
PSU Goals: Linge (7); Lewis (17, 18); Jones (2); Bonazelli (2); Winchester (9); Zitarelli (10); Broccolo (8)
Monmouth SOG: 16
Penn State SOG: 66

January 26, 2013 1 2 3 Final
Rowan 2 1 0 3
PENN STATE 1 4 1 6
PSU Goals: Jones (3); Vincent (16); Daley (6); Linge (8); Lewis (19, 20)
Rowan SOG: 44
Penn State SOG: 48

Summary: The Ice Lions are hitting on all cylinders right now. For the second weekend in a row, the D2 team opened their weekend by blowing out their lesser opponent. This time, it was a struggling Monmouth team that got bulldozed by the Ice Lions. Fredrik Linge would open the scoring 6:16 into the first period, and Creek Lewis and Dylan Jones would add markers of their own to make it a 3-0 lead after the first period. The Ice Lions would keep up the pressure in the 2nd, with Joe Bonazelli making it 4-0 before Lewis scored his team-leading 18th goal. Midway through the period, with the game fairly well in hand, the Ice Lions' coaches made a goalie switch - replacing senior Ryan Demuth for senior Kevin Lowthert, ensuring that both senior goaltenders would see some ice time during senior weekend. The third period was dominated by former D1 Icers, with Mac Winchester, Joe Zitarelli, and Mike Broccolo all adding goals to help Penn State skate to an easy 8-0 victory.

On Saturday night, a much tougher opponent appeared in front of Penn State in the form of 5th ranked Rowan University. And Rowan would strike early, taking a 1-0 lead just 43 seconds into the game. Penn State responded a few minutes later, with Dylan Jones getting his second goal of the weekend to tie the game at 1-1. But a PSU penalty midway through the period opened the door for Rowan to retake the lead, making 2-1 after the first 20 minutes of play. The second period, however, belonged completely to the Ice Lions. Five minutes into the period, Taylor Vincent would tie the game at 2-2, and a few minutes after that, Peter Daley would give Penn State a 3-2 lead. Fredrik Linge and Creek Lewis added to their weekend total, scoring 48 seconds apart and making it 5-2 Penn State. Rowan would add cut the lead to 5-3 on the power play later in the 2nd period, but the damage had already been done. Lewis would make it a 4-goal weekend, adding an empty netter in the final seconds of play, and giving the Ice Lions the weekend sweep on Senior Weekend.

Season Record: 18-4-1

Next Opponents: The Ice Lions finish the regular season on the road, first with a stop next Saturday against St. Joe's - a mediocre team, and a team Penn State beat in October, 4-2. The next day, the Ice Lions head to 3rd-ranked UMBC, which will certainly be a hard-fought game to make a final push in the rankings. Penn State will be looking to solidify their top 2 spot in the Southeast Region rankings, earning the Ice Lions an autobid into the D2 National Tournament.

Women's Ice Hockey Club Recap:

January 26, 2013 1 2 3 Final
PENN STATE 0 2 0 2
West Chester 0 0 1 1
PSU Goals: Fisk (12), Soukup (1)
Penn State SOG: 20
West Chester SOG: 25

January 27, 2013 1 2 3 Final
PENN STATE 0 0 1 1
West Chester 0 1 2 3
PSU Goals: Szyszko (4)
Penn State SOG: 31
West Chester SOG: 27

Summary: I'm living off of ACHA website game recaps, so I apologize for the sparse notes on these. For Friday night, the two teams skated to a scoreless 1st period, but there were a fair number of penalties for the first game between these two teams. Penn State would strike in the second period, with Devon Fisk giving PSU the lead midway through the period. A few minutes later, it was defender Tara Soukup getting her first goal of the season to extend the lead to 2-0. West Chester would close the gap to 2-1 late in the 3rd period, but it was too-little-too-late, as Penn State would hold on for an impressive (and important) 2-1 win.

In the Sunday rematch, the two teams would yet again skate to a scoreless opening 20 minutes. West Chester would get on the board first in this game, score 5 minutes into the 2nd period. WCU would extend the lead early in the third period, but Penn State wasn't about to go away quietly. Carly Szyszko would counter just 37 seconds later, cutting the lead to 2-1. The ladies would continue to push for the equalizer, but it just wasn't meant to be. West Chester would add a late empty net goal, taking the second game, 3-1. Still, it was an outstanding showing from the PSU WIHC, going on the road and splitting the weekend with #2 WCU.

Season Record: 5-2-1 (6-2-1 overall)

Next Opponents: The WIHC is off next weekend before out on the road once again, this time to take on WD1 team Buffalo - a squad who has found itself on the "Others Receiving Votes" grouping of the last two ACHA rankings. It may be a bit of a throw-away weekend in terms of the rankings, but a good showing (and a win or two) would look nice on the resume for this first-year team.

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