Women's hockey opens 2014 at Ohio State

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- The Nittany Lion women's hockey team heads to Columbus, Ohio to open the new year at Ohio State this Friday and Saturday (Jan. 3-4). The series opener is set for a 7:07 p.m. start, while Saturday's finale will begin at 4:07 p.m.

• Penn State travels to traditional Big Ten rival Ohio State in a non-conference battle
• Ohio State represents Penn State's first WCHA opponent
• Nittany Lions look to duplicate last year's New Year celebration with a pair of wins
• Penn State freshmen & sophomores have tallied 59 of team's 74 points
• OSU, like Penn State, has been off since the weekend of Dec. 6-8
• Buckeyes are 2-8-1 since Nov. 2, but 3-1-0 against non-conference opponents

Penn State opens the 2014 portion of the season against a traditional Big Ten rival in Ohio State. The Nittany Lions are searching for their third road victory of the season in the team's first meeting with a WCHA foe in program history. In last season's New Year's opening series, Penn State defeated Chatham 10-0 and 4-0 in Hockey Valley.

The addition of four freshmen: Laura Bowman, Amy Petersen, Sarah Nielsen and Kelly Seward have injected an instant bump in scoring production with 20 of the team's 74 points. To prove the youth of the team, 59 of the team's 74 points (79.7%) were collectively tallied by freshmen and sophomores. Eight of the team's top nine point scorers are underclassmen.

Penn State has had the fortune of multiple contributors on the offensive end. Eleven Nittany Lions have scored a goal this season, while 17 have registered a point. Shannon Yoxheimer leads the team with 11 points, Taylor Gross has 10 points, while Hannah Hoenshell and Laura Bowman have nine and seven points, respectively.

For the fifth time this season, the Nittany Lions faced a team receiving votes in the national rankings in Mercyhurst. Quinnipiac and Robert Morris are now ranked in both polls, while Syracuse and New Hampshire were both receiving votes when the teams visited Hockey Valley. Last season, Penn State played just one ranked opponent, Mercyhurst (four times), while Robert Morris earned votes during the first series in Nov. 2012, falling in all eight games. Penn State has dropped all eight games against teams who are in the polls or received votes this season. Earlier this season, Ohio State was ranked 10th in the polls following wins over then-No. 7 Mercyhurst at No. 4 North Dakota, but have fallen off in recent weeks, going 2-8-1 since Nov. 2.

Ohio State (5-11-2, 2-10-2 WCHA) looks to continue its dominance in non-conference play when the Nittany Lions visit OSU Ice Rink Friday-Saturday. The Buckeyes are 3-1-0 in non-conference play, while going 2-10-2 in the WCHA. Last time out, Ohio State dropped a pair of decisions two-time defending champion and No. 1 Minnesota, 9-2 and 5-1. Ohio State has struggled at times to score, registering just 34 goals in the first half of the season with five Buckeyes registering four goals for the team lead. Another four Buckeyes have scored at least two goals, while Sara Schmitt and Ally Tarr lead the team with 10 assists apiece. Kari Schmitt has 12 points this season on four goals and eight assists. It has been a split net for Ohio State this season with Lisa Steffes earning more starts in net as the season has progressed. Steffes leads the team with a 3-4-1 record, a 2.01 GAA and .933 save percentage. Steffes has been the goalie of record in five of the past six games, while initial starter Chelsea Knapp (2-7-1, 3.75 GAA, .877 sv. pct.) started seven of the first eight games.

All-Time Series: 0-0-0
PSU Streak: n/a
First Meeting: Friday, Jan. 3

Penn State and Ohio State have three common opponents thus far in the season. The Nittany Lions are 0-6-0 against Mercyhurst, Robert Morris and New Hampshire, while Ohio State is 3-1-0.

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, six of 12 losses are by a goal and Penn State is 1-6-2 in games decided by one goal or less, including the past five losses against Syracuse, RIT and Lindenwood. PSU is 2-12-3 all-time in games decided by less than a goal.

The Nittany Lions opened its new $90 million home, Pegula Ice Arena, on Oct. 18 against Union in a 2-1 loss. The next day, PSU would earn a 2-1 victory for the program's first win at Pegula. In all, Penn State will host 17 games in the state-of-the-art arena that seats 5,782. The team's first season at PIA began with an eight-game home stand over 23 days. The Nittany Lions host eight contests in 2014 beginning with next week's two-game series against Colgate Friday and Saturday.

Penn State returns to Pegula Ice Arena for its final non-conference home series as Colgate visits Hockey Valley. The series opener is set for Friday, Jan. 10 at 7 p.m., while the series finale will take place Saturday, Jan. 11 at 2 p.m. The meeting will be the first between these two programs. 

PENN STATE (3-14-2, 1-9-0 CHA) at OHIO STATE (5-11-2, 2-9-2 WCHA)
Games 20-21: Jan. 3-4, 2014 • Ohio State Ice Rink • Columbus, Ohio
VENUE Ohio State Ice Rink (1,000)
STREAMING COVERAGE Friday ($) | Saturday ($)
LIVE STATS Friday | Saturday
NEXT TIME OUT Jan. 10-11 vs. Colgate at Pegula Ice Arena
Penn State Game Notes Get Acrobat Reader


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Last Updated January 03, 2014