Women's hockey caps regular season at No. 9 Robert Morris

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Nittany Lion women's hockey caps its regular season with a two-game series at No. 9 Robert Morris Friday and Saturday at 84 Lumber Arena in Neville Township, Pa. Both games are set for a 3 p.m. puck drop.

PENN STATE (4-25-3, 1-16-1 CHA) at #9 ROBERT MORRIS (22-7-3, 11-5-1 CHA)
Games 33-34: February 21-22, 2014 • 84 Lumber Arena • Neville Island, Pa.
VENUE 84 Lumber Arena (1,200)
FRIDAY COVERAGE Live Video ($) | Live Stats
SATURDAY COVERAGE Live Video ($) | Live Stats
SERIES RECORD Robert Morris leads 6-0-0
LAST MEETING Nov. 1, 2013; RMU 6-0
NEXT TIME OUT Feb. 28, CHA First Round Game 1 (at TBD)
 

GAME NOTES
• Penn State caps its regular season with a two-game set at No. 9 Robert Morris
• The Nittany Lions look for their first win over the Colonials, who are 6-0-0 all-time
• Penn State fell in both games to Mercyhurst last weekend, 4-0 and 4-1
• CHA Tournament is next week with the Lions traveling to the No. 3 seed
• Penn State will either face RMU, Syracuse or RIT in a best-of-three series next week
• Nittany Lions freshmen have scored 30.5 percent of the team's points
• Penn State freshmen & sophomores have tallied 84 of team's 105 points (80%)
• Robert Morris has gone 2-4-1 in its last 7 games and 1-3-1 in its last 5 games

NITTANY LIONS COME UP SHORT AGAINST MERCYHURST ON SENIOR WEEKEND
While the scores were 4-0 and 4-1 losses to No. 8 Mercyhurst, Penn State played some of its best hockey of the season against its toughest foe. In Saturday night's 4-0 loss, Penn State limited the fast-scoring Lakers to just 34 shots for the game. In the third period, Penn State was outshot by just one, 12-11, with Penn State coming up against strong goaltending in Amanda Makela who stopped everything thrown her way to keep the Lions off the board. Celine Whitlinger saved 30 shots to take the loss.

On Sunday afternoon, Penn State honored its five future graduates: Lindsay Reihl, Taylor Gross, Nicole Paniccia, Jenna Welch and Tess Weaver. Then the Nittany Lions nearly went out and shocked the women's hockey world with a lead mid-way through the game on a Hannah Hoenshell goal, only to fall, 4-1. Hoenshell's goal, assisted by Paige Jahnke, was her fifth of the year and just the second time in series history the Nittany Lions led the Lakers. Moreover, the lead was the latest Penn State had against a ranked foe in program history.

Paniccia was outstanding in net by saving all 20 shots thrown her way in the first period and 15 of 16 in the second period as the two teams entered the third period tied at one. Mercyhurst took its first lead of the afternoon with 14:25 remaining in the third period on a Molly Byrne slapshot on the power play. The lead extended to 3-1 with 10 minutes to go, but Penn State had one last chance in the final moments. The Lions spent four minutes of the last 6:32 on the power play, garnering four opportunities on net, but the Lakers killed off the attempts and bagged an empty-net goal to squash any upset thoughts.

SCOUTING ROBERT MORRIS
The ninth-ranked Colonials (22-7-3, 11-5-2 CHA) have come down to earth following a 20-3-2 start to the season, going 2-4-1 in the past seven games. Last weekend, RMU took a 2-1 game at RIT before falling 1-0 in the series finale to drop out of contention for the CHA regular-season crown and the overall No. 1 seed for the upcoming tournament. RMU needs two points from this weekend to clinch the second seed and a first-round bye into the CHA Semifinals, to be held March 7 at Mercyhurst.

RMU scores at a 2.8 goals per game clip, while allowing 1.8 goals a game. During its 1-3-1 stretch since Feb. 1, the Colonials offense has dipped to 1.6 goals per game, while its defense has allowed 2.4 goals per game.

The Colonials are led by three 30-point scorers in Brittany Howard (15g, 24a), Rebecca Vint (31g, 21a) and Thea Imbrogno (12g, 20a). The trio have accounted for 53 of this year's team scoring, a collective plus-39 rating. Moreover, those three have scored 72 percent of the team's power-play goals (18 of 25). In net, Jessica Dodds (19-4-3) still leads the team in GAA (1.62), save percentage (.934) and minutes played (1,551). Courtney Vinet (3-3-0) has played 379 minutes with a 2.21 GAA and .914 save percentage.

SERIES HISTORY vs. ROBERT MORRIS
All-Time Series: RMU leads 6-0-0
PSU Streak: 6 losses
First Meeting: 11/10/12, RMU 7-1
Last Meeting: 11/1/13, RMU 6-0
Last PSU Win: n/a
Last RMU Win: 11/1/13, 6-0
Largest PSU Win: n/a
Largest RMU Win: 7-1, 11/10/12; 6-0, 11/1/13

CHA TOURNAMENT LOOMING
The Nittany Lions will take part in their second College Hockey America Tournament starting Feb. 28. Penn State will be the No. 6 seed for the second straight year, traveling to the yet-to-be determined No. 3 seed for a three-game series Feb. 28-March 2. The winning team will advance to the CHA Semifinals March 7 at the home of the No. 1 seeded team. As of now, Penn State will travel to Robert Morris, RIT or Syracuse.

PICK YOUR POISON
Penn State has had the fortune of multiple contributors on the offensive end. Twelve Nittany Lions have scored a goal this season, while 19 have registered a point. Sophomore Hannah Hoenshell's goal against Mercyhurst put her atop the Penn State point pile with 15. A trio of Nittany Lions is tied for second with 14 points: Shannon Yoxheimer, Taylor Gross and Laura Bowman. Amy Petersen closes out the double-digit point scorers with 13.

YOUTH SUPPLIES THE OFFENSE
The addition of four freshmen: Laura Bowman, Amy Petersen, Sarah Nielsen and Kelly Seward have injected an instant bump in scoring production with 32 of the team's 105 points (30.5%). To prove the youth of the team, 84 of the team's 105 points (80.0%) have been collectively tallied by freshmen and sophomores. Nine of the team's top 10 point scorers are underclassmen.

IN THE THICK OF THINGS
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, 10 of 23 losses are by a goal and Penn State is 2-10-3 in games decided by one goal or less. Penn State is 3-16-4 all-time in games decided by less than a goal.

RECORD CROWD PACKS PEGULA
Penn State's Feb. 1 game against RIT was the second annual Skate for the Cure, which proved to a huge success. A crowd of 1,795, a record for a women's game at Pegula Ice Arena, saw the Nittany Lions and Tigers take the ice. Penn State donned specially made pink jerseys, which were auctioned off, while RIT sported pink tape on its sticks and socks. The program raised over $5,000 in donations, which will benefit THON and Pink Zone.

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Last Updated February 20, 2014