Women's hockey hosts Syracuse for first varsity-era home games

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- The Penn State women's hockey team will play its first CHA and home games in the varsity era when Syracuse visits Greenberg Ice Pavilion this weekend. The Nittany Lions and Orange square off at 7 p.m. on Saturday and wrap up the two-game series on Sunday at 2 p.m. Admission and parking for all Penn State home games is free.

The first 500 Penn State fans in attendance on Saturday will receive commemorative game tickets. Additionally, all fans will be able to pick up 2012-13 team posters.

Penn State fans are able to park in Orange Lots C, F or G Monday-Friday after 5 p.m. and all day Saturday and Sunday. Anticipating that these lots will be full, Penn State will offer a courtesy shuttle for fans and media members that will originate from Orange H Lot for all home games. Parking for all Penn State games is free. -- Parking Information & Hockey Parking Map.

SYRACUSE ORANGE (0-2-0, 0-0-0 CHA)

Games 3-4: October 13-14, 2012 • 7 p.m. // 2 p.m. • Greenberg Ice Pavilion • University Park, Pa.

• Penn State hosts its first varsity hockey home games this weekend vs. Syracuse
• Nittany Lions won their inaugural game, 5-3, before falling, 3-1, at Vermont
• Women's hockey became first PSU varsity team to win its opener since 1977
Shannon Yoxheimer, Micayla Catanzariti and Birdie Shaw talied two goals each
Micayla Catanzariti was named CHA Rookie of the Week for her three-point day
• Goaltender Nicole Paniccia won the opener with a 31-save effort; fellow netminder Celine Whitlinger stopped 40 shots in Sunday's loss
• Penn State opened the year by scoring six goals in the first four periods
• Syracuse opened 0-2-0 after losses to New Hampshire (4-3) and Northeastern (5-2)
• Head coach Josh Brandwene leads Nittany Lions in first year
• Nittany Lions led by captain Taylor Gross, and assistant captains Lindsay Reihl and Jenna Welch
• Penn State's roster has 17 freshmen of 27 members, eight former club members

The Orange (0-2-0) opened the season at home last weekend with tough 4-3 and 5-2 losses to New Hampshire and No. 10 Northeastern, respectively. Despite the losses, Syracuse dominated the stat sheet, out-shooting its opponents 75-45 on the weekend.

The Orange failed on special teams, scoring 1-for-11 on the power play, while killing off just five of nine power plays. Holly Carrie-Mattimoe has led the Syracuse scoring with two goals and an assist thus far, but she also missed a crucial penalty shot wide of the net against Northeastern. Carrie-Mattimoe led the team in scoring with 14 goals and 12 assists last season.

In net, Jenesia Drinkwater has been the only goaltender to see time. She's made 36 saves on 45 attempts (.800) this season. Drinkwater posted a 3.01 goals against average and a .900 save percentage last season en route to a 4-9-1 record.

Penn State women's hockey made history on Saturday, Oct. 6 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 Sunday, Oct. 7, the Nittany Lion offensive outburst continued with a Birdie Shaw goal against the run of play. From there, it was all Vermont as the Catamounts scored three unanswered goals to salvage a split. Penn State's bright spot was freshman goaltender Celine Whitlinger who made 40 stops in her collegiate debut. The Catamounts out-shot Penn State 43-19 for the game.

Freshman forward Micayla Catanzariti was named College Hockey America's Rookie of the Week on Monday afternoon. Catanzariti led the Nittany Lions to a win in their inaugural opener on Saturday with two goals and an assist at Vermont. Catanzariti was also named Highmark's Penn State Women's Student-Athlete of the Week.

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. The successful debut was the first since 1977 when the men's volleyball team defeated East Stroudsburg.

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
Shot: Katie Zinn
Save: Nicole Paniccia
Empty-Net Goal: Birdie Shaw

Penn State opened its varsity account in scoring fashion, scoring in the first four periods. The Nittany Lions tallied one goal in the opening frame, then two in each of the next two periods before scoring once in the opening period of game two. Vermont held the Nittany Lions scoreless over the final 50:12 of Sunday's game.

Penn State relied on steady goaltending all weekend at Vermont in the form of Nicole Paniccia and Celine Whitlinger. The duo saw 77 shots and made 71 saves (.922), paced by Whitlinger's 40 stops on Sunday. Paniccia picked up the first win in school history on Saturday and improved her overall record to 8-10-3.

A 1991 graduate of Penn State, head coach Josh Brandwene is the first to lead the Nittany Lions. A four-year hockey player at PSU, Brandwene brings 20 years of coaching experience to Happy Valley. Brandwene picked up his first win in the team's debut on Saturday at Vermont.

Junior forward Taylor Gross will lead Penn State as its first captain. The University of Connecticut transfer appeared in 48 games for the Huskies before joining Penn State's club side in January 2012. In September, the team voted fellow UConn transfer Jenna Welch and senior defender Lindsay Reihl as assistant captains. Gross tallied two assists in the win over Vermont on Saturday.

While Penn State football celebrated its homecoming at Beaver Stadium last week, the Nittany Lion women's hockey program had a homecoming of its own. Jess Desorcie (Westford, Vt.) ushered Penn State's inaugural season by playing in front of her hometown friends and family and tallying three assists. Desorcie grew up just 20 miles from Gutterson Fieldhouse and the campus of the University of Vermont.

Desorcie won't be the only one celebrating a homecoming of sorts throughout the season. Penn State's second road trip of the year to Sacred Heart will bring the Lions to southern Connecticut, the home of senior Kate Christoffersen (Trumbull, Conn.) and Lindsay Reihl (Cheshire, Conn.).

Eight members of the current varsity team played for the women's club team at some point. Seniors Lindsay Reihl and Kate Christoffersen and sophomores Cara Mendelson, Katie Murphy, Madison Smiddy and Tess Weaver played all of last season for head coach Josh Brandwene in Penn State's last year at the club level. Reihl and Christoffersen played three years for the PSU club team as well. Taylor Gross and Jess Desorcie joined the six players midway through the season in preparation of the 2012-13 season.

Pegula Ice Arena, a $90 million state-of-the-art facility, will serve as the home of the Penn State hockey programs in 2012-13. As of Oct. 1, 2012, almost all the steel has been put in place for the project. Construction is set to conclude in time for the 2012-13 season.

The Nittany Lions hit the road again on Friday, Oct. 19 when they travel to Sacred Heart for a 7 p.m. face-off. Penn State and SHU cap the two-game series at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 20. Last season, Penn State's club team split at Sacred Heart with a 4-3 win and a 3-2 overtime loss.


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Last Updated October 12, 2012