Women's hockey opens season at Vermont

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- The Nittany Lion women's hockey team will open its second season where it opened its inaugural season: at Vermont. Penn State faces the Catamounts on Friday at 7 p.m. and Saturday at 2:30 p.m. UVMathletics.com will have free live streaming and live stats of both games from Gutterson Fieldhouse.

PENN STATE (0-0-0, 0-0-0 CHA) at VERMONT (0-0-0, 0-0-0 Hockey East)
Games 1-2: Oct. 4-5, 2013 • Gutterson Fieldhouse • University Park, Pa.
VENUE Gutterson Fieldhouse (4,035)
SERIES RECORD vs. UVM Tied, 1-1-0
LAST MEETING vs. UVM Oct. 7, 2012; Vermont, 3-1 at UVM
NEXT TIME OUT Oct. 11-12 at Quinnipiac
Penn State Game Notes Get Acrobat Reader

• Penn State opens for the second straight year at Vermont, site of program's first game and first victory
• Vermont went 8-21-4 last season in coach Jim Plumer's first season at helm
• Nittany Lions return 24 of 27 letterwinners from last season, 99 percent of scoring
• Sophomore forward Shannon Yoxheimer led squad in scoring last season
• Senior Nicole Paniccia was second in NCAA Division I in saves during 2012-13
• Senior Taylor Gross serves as team captain for second straight year joined by assistants Jordin Pardoski, Lindsay Reihl and Jenna Welch

The Vermont Catamounts enter the second year under Jim Plumer following an 8-21-4 season in 2012-13. The season was a major improvement as the squad doubled its overall (8) and conference (6) win total from the year before Plumer's arrival. Vermont defeated the Nepean Wildcats, 5-1, in an exhibition on Sept. 28.

UVM returns its top three scorers from last season led by junior Brittany Zuback. She appeared in all 33 contests, scoring a team-high 14 goals, 12 assists and 26 points. Zuback recorded a hat trick in the win over Nepean. The most dangerous Catamount is USA Hockey member Amanda Pelkey, also a junior, who missed the beginning of last season with an injury, but returned to score nine goals, 11 assists and 20 points in 25 games. Rounding out the trio of Catamount junior forwards is Klara Myren who tallied 18 points on five goals and 13 assists.

In net, Roxanne Douville made 25 appearances last season and posted a 5-15-4 record with a 3.16 goals-against average and a .913 save percentage. Douville is 13-43-15 all-time for the Green and Gold with six shutouts and a 2.90 GAA. Freshman Madison Litchfield looks for time in the crease for the Catamounts following a successful season in the JWHL where she was voted goalie of the year. She was ranked as the No. 2 goaltender at USA Hockey's National Development Camp.

Penn State women's hockey made history on Saturday, Oct. 6, 2012 at Vermont's Gutterson Fieldhouse by winning its inaugural game, 5-3. The Nittany Lions scored five goals from three freshmen making their respective debuts as junior goaltender Nicole Paniccia made 31 saves in her PSU opener. Shannon Yoxheimer and Micayla Catanzariti each scored twice for the Nittany Lions.

Down 2-1, Penn State was not to be deterred, reeling off three straight goals to take a 4-2 lead midway through the third period. Despite a Vermont goal with 6:34 left in the third, Birdie Shaw scored an empty-net goal to seal the Nittany Lion victory. Junior captain Taylor Gross made her Penn State debut known with two assists and was named the first star of the game, Yoxheimer was second.

On Oct. 7, 2012, the Nittany Lions again took the lead over the Catamounts on a Shaw tally. Unfortunately, Vermont scored the next three and split the weekend series with a 3-1 victory.

Penn State had a varsity team debut for the first time since 1994 (women's soccer) when the women's hockey team defeated Vermont, 5-3 on Oct. 6, 2012. The successful debut was the first since 1977 when the men's volleyball team defeated East Stroudsburg. The Penn State men's hockey team made its debut a week later than the women, but fell 3-2 to AIC in overtime. The Nittany Lions beat AIC the next night, also in overtime.

Game: Oct. 6, 2012 at Vermont, 2:00 p.m.
Win: Nicole Paniccia, Oct. 6 at Vermont, 5-3
Goal: Shannon Yoxheimer
Multi-Goal Game: Micayla Catanzariti
Game-Winning Goal: Shannon Yoxheimer
Assists: Taylor Gross, Emily Laurenzi
Multi-Assist Game: Jess Desorcie
Faceoff: Emily Laurenzi
Faceoff win: Emily Laurenzi
Save: Nicole Paniccia
Empty-Net Goal: Birdie Shaw

On Sept. 6, Mortensen Construction turned the keys over to Penn State and its new $90 million home, Pegula Ice Arena. The Nittany Lions host 17 games in the state-of-the-art arena that seats 5,782 beginning with a series vs. Union (Oct. 18-19). That kicks off an eight-game home stand over 23 days.

Penn State brings back 24 of its 27 members from last year's team. In those 24 student-athletes, Penn State returns its top 14 scorers and almost 99 percent of its offense along with every member of its stout goaltending corps.

Leading the team in scoring last season was Shannon Yoxheimer, a left-handed forward. Yoxheimer buried 14 goals with 17 assists for a grand total of 31 points, all team highs. She led College Hockey America in shots (169) and put away three power play goals as well as a team-high three game-winning goals. Yoxheimer's numbers ranked her in the top 10 nationally in goals, points and assists for rookies. The CHA coaches named Yoxheimer to the All-Rookie team.

Senior goaltender Nicole Paniccia excelled between the pipes for the Blue and White last year, stopping 1,028 shots with a 92.8 save percentage. Paniccia's save tally was second in all of NCAA Division I, topped only by fellow CHA upstart Lindenwood's Nicole Hensley. Paniccia was in net for six of PSU's seven victories last year as well as both of Penn State's ties.

Sophomore forward Jill Holdcroft was lethal on the power play last season, scoring six of her 10 goals last year on the advantage. Despite missing the CHA playoffs at RIT, Holdcroft still ranked second on the team in scoring (10 goals) and added two assists for good measure.

Penn State's record of 7-26-2 last season is a little deceiving when considering how close the Nittany Lions were in many of their losses. In fact, 12 of the 26 losses were decided by two goals or less. This year, the Nittany Lions look to change their fortunes in spite of a 1-6-2 record games decided by less than a goal.

Senior forward Taylor Gross once again leads Penn State as its first captain following her first year with the letter in 2012-13. Gross was second on the team in points (22) and assists (15) last season with 34 appearances. The University of Connecticut transfer appeared in 48 games for the Huskies before joining Penn State's club side in January 2012. Senior forward Jenna Welch and Lindsay Reihl, a graduate student defender, reprise their roles as assistant captains this year. Joining the veteran trio is Jordin Pardoski, a vocal sophomore defender who is a first-year assistant captain.

Four freshmen join the Nittany Lions for the 2013-14 campaign. Minnesota forwards Laura Bowman, Amy Petersen and Sarah Nielsen provide an instant dose of goal scoring from their high school success. Defender Kelly Seward of New York is the tallest Nittany Lion blueliner.

A 1991 graduate of Penn State, head coach Josh Brandwene is the first to lead the Nittany Lions. Brandwene compiled a 7-26-2 record last season with 17 freshmen on the team. A four-year hockey player at Penn State, Brandwene brings 20 years of coaching experience to Happy Valley.

Seven members of the current varsity team played for the women's club team at some point. Graduate student Lindsay Reihl along with juniors Cara Mendelson, Katie Murphy, Madison Smiddy and Tess Weaver played all of the 2011-12 season for head coach Josh Brandwene in Penn State's last year at the club level. Taylor Gross and Jess Desorcie joined the five aforementioned players midway through the season in preparation of the 2012-13 season.

Penn State travels to Quinnipiac, home of the 2014 NCAA Women's Frozen Four, for a two-game set against the Bobcats on Oct. 11-12. Game times are set for 7 p.m. and 4 p.m. 

Media Contacts: 
Last Updated October 03, 2013