Women's hockey opens CHA playoffs at home

February 27, 2015

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- The Nittany Lion women's hockey team (15-15-4, 9-9-2 CHA) hosts Lindenwood (10-19-2, 7-11-2 CHA) for the first round of the CHA Playoffs. The teams faceoff for the best-of-three set on Friday, Feb. 27, Saturday, Feb. 28 and, if necessary, Sunday., March 1.

Fans attending Penn State women's hockey games at Pegula Ice Arena will have to comply with Penn State University's Bag Policy. Fans are advised that no bags larger than backpacks may be brought into the stadium grounds. All bags will be searched upon entrance into the arena. For more information visit the Safety Policy SY44 Page or Penn State's Bag Policy Page.

Parking for both women's hockey games is free. If attending women's hockey, tell the parking attendant which event you'll be going to and you will not be charged.

No. 5 seed Lindenwood closed its regular season with a split at home against CHA regular season champion Mercyhurst, topping the Lakers 3-1 on Friday but falling 7-1 in the finale. It was a milestone season for the Lady Lions, who posted the program’s first season with double-digit wins (10). The duo of Shara Jasper and Jordyn Constance has been a major key to Lindenwood’s success this season, each recording a team-best 27 points. In the team’s 4-2 win over Penn State on Feb. 7, Constance led the Lady Lions with a goal and two assists. The reigning CHA Goaltender of the Week, Nicole Hensley is Lindenwood’s starter in net, putting up a .916 save percentage alongside a 2.76 goals against average.

Both Penn State and Lindenwood are looking for their first wins in the CHA playoffs. In both of their postseason appearances, the Nittany Lions were swept by RIT. Lindenwood has suffered a similar fate in each of its CHA Playoff series, being swept at Syracuse in 2013-14 and Robert Morris in 2012-13. In 2014, Shannon Yoxheimer scored both of Penn State’s goals in a 3-2 overtime loss to open the round. She leads the team with three points in the postseason, which includes an assist in 2012-13. Emily Laurenzi, Laura Bowman and Amy Petersen have each registered assists, while Hannah Hoenshell got a tally against the Tigers in Penn State’s 3-2 overtime loss in 2013. Neither Nittany Lion goaltender has appeared in a postseason game. Lindenwood’s Alyssa West has had a hand in both of the Lady Lions’ postseason goals, scoring one and dishing out an assist. Nicole Hensley is a juggernaut during the postseason in net for Lindenwood, most notably making 90 saves in a triple overtime loss at Robert Morris in 2013. She boasts a .947 save percentage in all postseason games.

Penn State’s third season as a Division I program has seen immense strides, the greatest in the nation. The Nittany Lions have the greatest improvement in wins of any team in Division I women’s hockey since last season, earning 11 more victories, and nine more in conference play, from its 2013-14 campaign. Only one other team has five-or-more wins on its record last season (Bemidji State).

The Nittany Lions may be without a senior class, but this season they can still boast a veteran presence. Four players have laced up the skates 100-or-more times for the Blue and White, as Shannon Yoxheimer, Emily Laurenzi, Jordin Pardoski and Paige Jahnke became the first players in program history to play 100 career games. Laurenzi has played in all but one game since Penn State became a Division I program in 2012, and Yoxheimer has missed just two games in that time.

The Nittany Lions boast a 6-3-1 CHA record at home and a major reason is the Pegula Ice Arena crowd. Penn State sits ninth for attendance among Division I teams, welcoming an average attendance of 558 for its 16 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 on Jan. 31.

Seven team and individual records have been broken this season, with the 2014-15 squad setting new win (15), power play goal (20) and shorthanded goal (3) marks. Individually, Celine Whitlinger has the most career (15) and single season wins (11). Shannon Yoxheimer, who played in her 100th game in the weekend series finale at Lindenwood and is already the program’s career goals, assists and points leader, now holds the season and career records for game-winning goals (4). Laura Bowman shares the season game-winning goals title and is the school’s record holder for goals (16), points (31) and shorthanded goals (2). Hannah Bramm’s five power play goals is also one away from the program mark.

If Penn State advances, re-seeding among the bottom two teams would occur and the team could face No. 2 Syracuse or No. 1 Mercyhurst. The semifinal game is at Mercyhurst on Fri., March 6 and the CHA Championship game is on Sat., March 7 in Erie, Pa. 

Last Updated February 27, 2015