Women's hockey takes unbeaten streak to Lindenwood

February 06, 2015

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Riding a three-game unbeaten streak, Penn State ventures to Lindenwood this weekend for a CHA series against the Lady Lions. The teams play on Friday, Feb. 6 at 8 p.m. (ET) and Saturday, Feb. 7 at 4 p.m. (ET).

With a fifth-place seat in the CHA standings, Lindenwood (8-16-1, 5-8-1 CHA) returns to action following a series split with RIT last weekend. In game one, the Lady Lions gave up a three-goal lead and fell in overtime to the Tigers. Starting goaltender Nicole Hensley shut out RIT, 1-0, in game two for her second shutout of the season. The senior puck stopper has an 8-13-1 record with a 2.80 goals against average and a .916 save percentage. Shara Jasper leads the Lady Lions' offensive output, among the CHA's top-10 in points (6th, 22), assists (5th, 13) and goals (9th, 9).

The Nittany Lions have made immense strides during the program's third campaign, and the rest of the country is taking notice. Penn State has the 17th-best RPI in Division I and is 16th in the USCHO Pairwise Rankings, which attempts to mimic the method used by the NCAA Selection Committee to determine the Division I postseason tournament. To determine the pairwise ranking, a team's RPI, record against common opponents, record against teams under consideration and head to head competition are compared with teams who also have above-.500 RPI.

Celine Whitlinger (Garden Grove, Calif.) was named the CHA Goaltender of the Month for the second-straight month after a 4-1-1 overall record in January and an undefeated 3-0-1 mark in conference play, helping Penn State to a second-place seat in the CHA standings. The Garden Grove, Calif., native posted a 1.48 goals against average and an outstanding .955 save percentage, allowing just nine goals in 364:05 minutes on the ice. Whitlinger, who is the program's winningest puck stopper, also made an average of 32 saves per game in January. The Goaltender of the Week for Jan. 19, Whitlinger led the Nittany Lions to a series sweep of RIT, their second-straight of a conference opponent

In their third varsity season, the Nittany Lions are producing the best campaign in the program's young history. With a 4-1-1 record in its last six games, Penn State moved within one point of top-ranked Mercyhurst with two games on the Lakers. The Blue and White has increased its conference win total eight-fold from each of the previous two seasons with three weeks of CHA play to go. The 14 victories this year is also more than 2012-13 and 2013-14 combined. The 2014-15 team, which is unbeaten in at least one game nearly every weekend this season, has set Penn State's shorthanded goal (3) record. The Nittany Lions have also captured a program-best 15 CHA weekly or monthly honors. Individually, Celine Whitlinger (Garden Grove, Calif.) has the most career (11) and single season wins (10). Shannon Yoxheimer (Jackson, Mich.) now holds the season and career records for game-winning goals (4) and goals by a junior (9), while Laura Bowman (Minnetonka, Minn.) is the school's record holders for goals (13) by a sophomore. Bowman also holds the class points record (26).

The Nittany Lions' special teams have been just that this season: special. Their power play is the 10th-best in the nation, resulting in a goal 20 percent of the time (19-for-95). Hannah Bramm's (Tampa, Fla.) five goals leads the team and is tied for ninth nationally and third in the CHA. Bella Sutton (Shoreview, Minn.) has also been an integral part of Penn State's player advantage, recording the seventh-most power play points in the conference with eight (three goals, five assists).

A major reason for the Nittany Lions' success this season has been the play of its goaltenders, Celine Whitlinger (Garden Grove, Calif.) and Hannah Ehresmann (Minnetonka, Minn.). The Blue and White is the only team in the nation with two goaltenders among top-15 in save percentage; Whitlinger is fifth and Ehresmann is 15th. Penn State is also one of only two schools with two netminders among the top-20 in goals against average (Ohio State). Whitlinger is 13th at 2.06 and Ehresmann has the 17th-best goals against average nationally with a 2.29 mark.

The Nittany Lions boast a 6-1-1 CHA record at home and a major cause is the Pegula Ice Arena crowd. Penn State sits eighth for attendance among Division I teams, welcoming an average attendance of 546 for its 14 home games, the second-most in the CHA. This season, the Nittany Lions hosted the third-largest crowd in program history for the weekend finale against No. 6 Mercyhurst (1,257) and welcomed 1,042 for the Skate for the Cure game against Syracuse.

Penn State visits the CHA-leading Mercyhurst Lakers for a Valentine's Day weekend series. The teams face off on Fri., Feb. 13 at 3 p.m. and Sat., Feb. 14 at 2 p.m. 

Last Updated February 06, 2015