"I felt we made a mistake in building a baseball field. I thought that should have been the ice skating rink, because I think hockey in this state right now, not just hockey, but ice skating, if you come up to our office building at 6:00 in the morning, some mornings you can't get a parking spot because parents have taken their kids up here to skate...I think hockey will be a great addition to our intercollegiate program. [The Pegula gift] is a great, great gift. And I think very far-sighted and I'm really pleased with it." - Joe Paterno

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Reed Linaker on The Pipeline Show


The following interview with Penn State 2012 commit Reed Linaker was conducted by Sherwood Park Crusaders broadcaster Taylor Medak and aired on the Inside the AJHL segment of The Pipeline Show Tuesday night. The audio is available for download here.

Taylor Medak: We'll start this week of Inside the AJHL with the spotlight on St. Albert Steel forward and Penn State recruit Reed Linaker. The 20-year-old is looking for a solid season and hoping to return to the form he was in 2009-2010, where the Edmonton native put up 37 goals and 81 points. Linaker has six points on the year, but the Steel have yet to find a victory, and that's a disappointing start for Linaker and his team.

Reed Linaker: It's been pretty frustrating, obviously I don't think our record shows how well we've played. We've been in a couple games, we just can't get any breaks. I know, myself, obviously only one goal in the first six games, it's been tough to get some goals, so hopefully we can just work our bags off here and ride it out.

TM: You're going to Penn State - basically, kind of go through the process of how they contacted you and maybe Guy Gadowsky talking to you, and what led to that decision.

RL: It actually came out of the blue. I was actually in some pretty serious talks with Wisconsin, then at the time, I got a phone call from Gadowsky and a week later he phoned and offered me a scholarship, so I mean, pretty tough to say no there. So I took a visit down to campus and just an amazing place there, so it's exciting, looking forward to going down there.

TM: Will you go right in once the Big Ten conference starts?

RL: They're going to be going Div-I next year, they'll be an independent, so we'll kind of tour around and play some teams, and my sophomore year they'll join the Big Ten conference. So I mean, it'll be a good taste to get your feet wet in Div-I hockey, because I know the Big Ten conference is going to be a pretty stacked division, so it'll be pretty tough for us our first year.

TM: And good exposure too. Do you think that will help not only bring exposure to you and your team, but the college game in general?

RL: Oh yeah, for sure. Obviously you're going to have big-name teams in big-name barns, a lot of high-end hockey players are going into some of those programs. So I mean, it'll be a good stepping stone for us to build off, because we play some of the best people in the country.

TM: Up against, tonight, future teammate Jessi Hilton. Do you guys know each other well, or do you - you know you're going to Penn State eventually, will you be friends then, or how does that relationship work?

RL: Yeah, probably then. I don't really know him too well personally, I've played against him all my life, but nothing too personally, so probably once we get down there we'll build something then.

[Note: Hilton committed to Penn State for 2012 over the summer, but his college plans hit a snag due to 12 games played with the WHL's Calgary Hitmen over two seasons. I have yet to receive confirmation that anything has changed on that front, although according to recruiting guru Chris Heisenberg and assuming a successful petition to the NCAA, he could be eligible to play for PSU halfway through the 2013-2014 season. That would be his sophomore year (the NCAA won't allow a redshirt to get around the issue), but as we all know, a short Penn State career is better than no Penn State career.]

TM: Did you get a chance to meet Joe Paterno when you went down to Penn State?

RL: We did actually, yeah. He was injured, so he couldn't go on the field, but I ran into him, so that's pretty cool. The guy's a legend in college football, so that was pretty nuts.

TM: Well Reed, good luck the rest of the way this year, I know it's been a tough start, but hopefully you guys come through, a lot of potential on this Steel team. We look forward to seeing you down the road at Penn State and hopefully beyond that.

Doubleheader Delight

First off, some TYT news: I wasn't particularly fond of how I did the game recaps last year. If you're new here, basically, I'd watch both games of a weekend set, then try to write up my "weekend observations" (as I called it) sometime Saturday night or Sunday morning. A couple of problems with this approach:
  1. Two separate games aren't always flowing with abundant common themes. If the Icers looked great in one game and horrible in the other (which seemed to happen a lot), I'd have no idea what to do. Do I take a positive or negative tone? Does it depend on larger context - how I usually tried to take it? I honestly have no idea.
  2. I like doing things besides TYT. Frequently, these things happen on Saturday night. Often, I'd find myself showering during the first intermission of games, then walking the dog during the second so I could run out the door the second the game ended.
  3. In light of #2, I'd find myself apologizing for late posts and thinking that I'm a horrible, horrible blogger for not even acknowledging that a game took place until Sunday evening in some cases.
  4. I tried to tweet game updates, take notes for my posts and, you know, actually watch the game all at once. That's hard.
My brilliant antidote to most of this will come through live blogging, which will be the primary way I'll handle the games this year. Then, after they're over, I'll dress up the post with my score graphic, the links to recaps and the other extras customary on Weekend Observations posts (as they become available). When I'm not available to watch a game live, I'll suck it up and do it the old way. Unfortunately, most of you will probably find the women's game recaps sparse due to my out-of-state residence and the lack of an internet broadcast or other coverage beyond the Collegian (when they decide to write something) and the box scores on the ACHA site. Luckily, that issue largely goes away next season with the CHA-America One deal, and I'll keep my fingers crossed that the large amount of NCAA competition on the schedule this season alleviates the issue somehow as well.

With that out of the way, let's get on to the nuts and bolts of this weekend, a pretty exciting one as we get our first true public look at Transition Team 1.0 Friday at 6:30, followed by the Lady Icers home opener at 9:15 against Buffalo. The women follow up with an encore Saturday at 3:30. Steve and Barb Penstone are back for another season of outstanding UStream webcasts on the men's games, starting Friday and available here.

Justin Kirchhevel is about to be unleashed on the world outside of Alaska and South Dakota...so basically, the world.

On the men's side, the biggest story - other than the dire need for an adequate supply of roster cards - is the fact that Guy Gadowsky and his staff have stepped aside to do something more useful (recruiting) than the largely-for-the-fans Blue/White Game. In their place will be Icers alumni Mark Horgas and Rick O'Brien (notably, defenseman/human jackhammer Rich O'Brien's father) on one side and Cliff Graziano on the other. PennStateHockey.com had a nice three-way interview with the fill-in coaches this week, while View From the Booth checked in with the younger O'Brien to get his side of things.

After last Friday, one could hardly be blamed for wanting to see the Lady Icers in a more appropriate context against a fellow ACHA team, and against Buffalo, we'll get that chance. Last season, PSU topped the Freeze by 3-1 and 4-1 counts and in those games current Lady Icers Carly Szyszko (2), Katharine Gausseres, Allie Rothman, Denise Rohlik and Kirsten Evans all scored, while Katie Vaughan stopped 15 of 16 shots over 40 total minutes. They'll need more of that balanced effort to pick up the pair of wins that's come pretty regularly against UB in recent seasons, because things ratchet up again immediately afterward with a trip to NCAA Division III SUNY-Potsdam on October 21st and 22nd.

Vaughan and her teammates are expecting a bounce-back weekend.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Commit Cycle: September 27

Men

Kenny Brooks

Forward
Tri-City Storm (USHL)
6'2", 195 pounds
Las Vegas, NV
Class of 2012
DOB 12/11/1991


Date Opponent                Score  G   A Pts PIM
-------------------------------------------------------------

9/21 vs. Fargo (ex)          L 2-4  0   0   0   5 [box score]
9/22 vs. Dubuque (ex)        L 1-3  0   0   0   0 [box score]
9/23 vs. Green Bay (ex)      L 3-8  -   -   -   - [box score]

Brooks and his fellow USHLers played in the Fall Classic this past Wednesday through Saturday, a massive preseason showcase of every team held in Sioux City, home of Tommy Olczyk's Musketeers (assistant coach Keith Fisher represented PSU at the event, a must-attend for college recruiters and NHL scouts)...Brooks was a -1 with three shots in the loss to the Force...he was also involved in a third-period brawl that saw 30 minutes in penalties handed out...he had two of the Storm's 11 shots (vs. 40 against) in the Thursday defeat...Brooks sat out of Friday's trashing at the hands of the Gamblers.

Related stories:
Musketeers-USHL Fall Classic (Sioux City Journal)


David Glen

Center
Spruce Grove Saints (AJHL)
6'0", 175 pounds
Fort Saskatchewan, AB
Class of 2012
DOB 2/14/1991


Date Opponent                Score  G   A Pts PIM
-------------------------------------------------------------

9/22 at Drayton Valley       W 4-1  1   0   1   0 [box score]
9/24 vs. Lloydminster        W 3-1  0   0   0   0 [box score]

Captain Glen's goal opened the scoring against Drayton Valley 8:01 into the game...while he didn't snipe in Saturday's win, he and the other returning Saints received their AJHL championship rings in a pre-game ceremony...Spruce Grove is off to a good start in their quest to get another of these rings with a 5-0-1 record.




Reed Linaker

Center
St. Albert Steel (AJHL)
5'9", 165 pounds
Edmonton, AB
Class of 2012
DOB 11/4/1991


Date Opponent                Score  G   A Pts PIM
-------------------------------------------------------------

9/20 at Drayton Valley       L 3-5  1   2   3   2 [box score]
9/23 vs. Sherwood Park       L 2-3  0   1   1   0 [box score]
9/24 at Sherwood Park        L 1-4  0   0   0   0 [box score]

The Steel slumped to 0-4-0 on the season against Drayton Valley, although Linaker had very little to do with that considering he helped account for every St. Albert goal, all of which were on the power play...a power play assist in the Friday Sherwood Park game helped force the game to overtime...as so often happens, the second game with the Crusaders saw a ton of penalty time handed out, although Linaker didn't get involved in that.

Related stories:
Tough start for Steel (St. Albert Gazette)


Luke Juha

Defenseman
Vernon Vipers (BCHL)
5'11", 180 pounds
Mississauga, ON
Class of 2012
DOB 3/9/1993


Date Opponent                Score  G   A Pts PIM
-------------------------------------------------------------

9/23 vs. Salmon Arm          W 5-1  -   -   -   - [box score]
9/24 at Salmon Arm           W 5-4  -   -   -   - [box score]

In case you were doubting it, Juha has in fact made the Vipers roster despite missing all of preseason (head), a testament to how well-regarded he is...the Vipers got off to a successful start without him.

Related stories:
Vernon Vipers 2011-12 Roster (vipersdiehardfan blog)


Eamon McAdam

Goaltender
Waterloo Black Hawks (USHL)
6'2", 180 pounds
Perkasie, PA
Class of 2013
DOB 9/24/1994


Date Opponent               Score SA GA  Sv% GAA
-------------------------------------------------------------

9/20 at Des Moines (ex)     L 3-4 43  4 .907 4.00 [box score]
9/22 vs. Fargo (ex)         W 4-1 --  - ---- ---- [box score]
9/23 vs. Indiana (ex)       L 4-6 19  3 .842 5.62 [box score]
9/24 vs. USNTDP (ex)        W 2-1 --  - ---- ---- [box score]

McAdam started Waterloo's final exhibition game before the Fall Classic and held up pretty well against a barrage of Buccaneer shots...however another spurt of quick goals against (three in 5:10 in the second period) plus a Des Moines power play tally with 19 seconds left proved his undoing...McAdam opened the Indiana game but was relieved halfway through by Cal Peterson with his team facing a 3-0 hole...he served as Jay Williams' backup against Fargo in the Black Hawks' showcase-opening win and also sat out of the closer against Team USA.

Related stories:
Musketeers-USHL Fall Classic (Sioux City Journal)


Jonathan Milley

Right Wing
Pembroke Lumber Kings (CCHL)
6'4", 220 pounds
Ottawa, ON
Class of 2012
DOB 5/8/1991


Date Opponent                Score  G   A Pts PIM
-------------------------------------------------------------

9/23 at Hawkesbury           W 4-1  -   -   -   - [box score]
9/25 vs. Gloucester          W 4-1  -   -   -   - [box score]

Milley remained sidelined, although the Lumber Kings were able to get back on track with two big wins...Pembroke has now leveled at 3-3-1 and is just a point out of first place.


Connor Varley

Defenseman
Des Moines Buccaneers (USHL)
6'0", 190 pounds
Lansdale, PA
Class of 2013
DOB 6/3/1992


Date Opponent                Score  G   A Pts PIM
-------------------------------------------------------------

9/20 vs. Waterloo (ex)       W 4-3  0   0   0   0 [box score]
9/21 vs. Sioux Falls (ex)    L 1-4  0   0   0   0 [box score]
9/22 vs. Indiana (ex)        L 1-2  0   0   0   0 [box score]
9/23 vs. Chicago (ex)        L 4-5  0   0   0   0 [box score]

In the win over McAdam's Blackhawks, Varley took three shots and took a -1 rating for being on for a Waterloo goal that trimmed his team's lead to 3-2 late in the second...he followed with another shot and a -1 in Des Moines' Fall Classic loss to Sioux Falls, in which they squandered all eight power play chances...the last two losses both required extra time (Indiana in OT, Chicago in a shootout)...Varley was part of the three-man PK that gave up the Steel's tying goal on Friday with just over five minutes remaining.

Related stories:
Musketeers-USHL Fall Classic (Sioux City Journal)


Thomas Welsh

Defenseman
Salisbury School (Prep)
6'0", 195 pounds
Toronto, ON
Class of 2013
DOB 2/1/1995


Through a Lions247 interview, Welsh clarified his decision to come to Penn State, including naming alternate choices Yale, Quinnipiac, Brown, St. Lawrence, Cornell, Boston University and Vermont...Salisbury coach Andrew Will describes him as "a very strong, puck-moving, two-way defenseman. He’s physical, has really good mobility, plays with an edge and has offensive ability. He sees the ice really well and has a good heavy shot."

Related stories:
2013 Defenseman on Board (Lions 247)
Thomas Welsh Commits to the Nittany Lions (selectshockey.com)


Mark Yanis

Defenseman
Muskegon Lumberjacks (USHL)
6'2", 195 pounds
Grosse Pointe Woods, MI
Class of 2012
DOB 5/26/1994


Date Opponent                Score  G   A Pts PIM
-------------------------------------------------------------

9/22 vs. Chicago (ex)        W 4-1  0   1   1  11 [box score]
9/23 vs. Dubuque (ex)        L 2-3  0   0   0   7 [box score]
9/24 vs. Green Bay (ex)      L 1-4  0   0   0   0 [box score]

Yanis' was originally credited with an unassisted power play goal that staked the Lumberjacks out to a 4-0 lead late in the second, but it was later changed to a first assist (possibly due to an unseen deflection)...the Steel tried to get some measure of revenge in the third as the Detroit-area native ended up in two fights three seconds apart (one only earning him a roughing minor)...those penalties combined with two second-period stick infractions to reach the total of 11...he got in yet another fight in the shootout loss to Dubuque...while Yanis successfully stayed out of the box against Green Bay, he was on the PK unit that gave up the Gamblers' final two goals.

Related stories:
Musketeers-USHL Fall Classic (Sioux City Journal)
Muskegon Lumberjacks open USHL Fall Classic with 4-1 victory over Chicago Steel (mlive.com)

Women

Jill Holdcroft

Forward
Pittsburgh Penguins Elite 19U
5'1", 121 pounds
Pennsylvania Furnace, PA
Class of 2012
DOB 1/29/1994


Date Opponent                Score  G   A Pts PIM
-------------------------------------------------------------

9/23 vs. Det Victory Honda   W 4-0  1   0   1   0 [box score]
9/24 vs. Ont Hockey Academy  W 5-0  0   3   3   0 [box score]
9/25 vs. Det Victory Honda   W 1-0  0   0   0   - [box score]
9/25 vs. Rochester Edge      T 3-3  0   0   0   - [box score]

The Pens Elite girls hosted the First Annual Pittsburgh 19U Showcase over the weekend...Holdcroft's goal on Friday was unassisted and shorthanded to close the scoring...the assists against OHA came on the first, third and fifth goals...she was pointless with four penalty minutes in the last two games.


Darby Kern

Forward
Pittsburgh Penguins Elite 19U
5'11", 145 pounds
Venetia, PA
Class of 2012
DOB 8/28/1994


Date Opponent                Score  G   A Pts PIM
-------------------------------------------------------------

9/23 vs. Det Victory Honda   W 4-0  2   0   2   2 [box score]
9/24 vs. Ont Hockey Academy  W 5-0  0   0   0   0 [box score]
9/25 vs. Det Victory Honda   W 1-0  -   -   -   0 [box score]
9/25 vs. Rochester Edge      T 3-3  -   -   -   0 [box score]

Kern's goals against Victory Honda Friday were the first and third for the Pens in the shutout, meaning she technically was responsible for the game winner...while detailed stats were not available for the final two games of the showcase, we do know that Kern added a goal and an assist in those two outings.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Three Stars: September 19-25



3. Category:Penn State Nittany Lions men's ice hockey players
(Wikipedia)

Curtiss Patrick and Alon Eizenman have Wikipedia entries. Cool.

2. Coach Gadowsky says practice will remain intense despite injuries
(The Daily Collegian)

The big blow: Senior defenseman Dan Petrick is out six to eight weeks with a broken wrist. Also bad: Nick Seravalli's groin is bothering him. Slightly better: Chris Cerutti's recovering well from the MCL sprain he suffered on the first day of practice.

1. The Long & Winding Road
(View From the Booth)

P.J. Musico and Guy Gadowsky were Steve Penstone's subjects this week. Neither seems to mind travel.

Steve had a busy week, also sneaking in a three-parter - Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3 is pending - with Joe Battista. In Part 2, Battista says he can't wait to share the plans for Pegula Ice Arena. Really? Then what's stopping you? Throw something out there on a site that probably gets more hits in five minutes than TYT does in a month, add the caveat that changes may still be made, and give people what they want. There is absolutely no harm whatsoever in doing that, and to claim otherwise - or to act like nobody's seen anything - is disingenuous.



OMG WHAT'S THAT?!? Surely decoy mock-ups that PSU administration commissioned Crawford to complete with some of that $88 million just to throw bloggers off the scent.

Best of the Rest

Western Michigan, St. Cloud accept NCHC invites; WCHA ‘disappointed’
(USCHO)

About freaking time.

St. Cloud State will say 'No' to "Super League"
(Husky Hockey Time)

Hey, remember that time that the SCSU president said that they wouldn't join the NCHC (despite not having been invited at that point)? Even more funny now.

According to the St. Cloud Times, St. Cloud State University will say 'No' to any offer to joining the new proposed "Super League". SCSU President Earl H. Potter III said today that, "We expected to be in conversations about being in a new league. But as we looked at it ... we intended to say ‘no.’ " Potter also stated, "We intend to stay in the WCHA and a take a leadership role to continue the legacy of the WCHA."
College Hockey's Latest Head Scratcher
(The United States of Hockey)

Five Questions on Realignment
(Western College Hockey Blog)

Two of my favorite hockey bloggers check in with some analysis. And believe it or not, Bowling Green has leapfrogged Notre Dame as the school everyone's watching right now. They have asked for and received an extension on the WCHA's deadline for accepting their invitation, which expired over the weekend. Will they (following Notre Dame's acceptance of an NCHC invite) take the 10th slot in the Axis of Evil? Will they take the WCHA invite after some deliberation? Will they, as WCHB suggests is a possibility, drop their program? Or...

Bowling Green Meets with AHA Schools, Buffalo
(The Ciskie Blog)

...will they go ahead and start their own conference with Canisius, Mercyhurst, Robert Morris and Niagara, Air Force and...Buffalo? Buffalo? The Buffalo we beat for the 1989 ICHL championship at the Ice Pavilion? That Buffalo?

Yeah, that Buffalo.

Oh, and guess what? This extended itself beyond the rumor stage Sunday when UB officials confirmed their interest. Get Buffalo on board, and the MAC is just two schools away (Kent State? Ohio?) from forming its own college hockey conference. Then Akron can elevate its ACHA D2 program. This is all part of my master plan.

An open letter to Terrence M. Pegula
(buffalo.com)

Speaking of Canisius and at the risk of sounding like a guy who doesn't know where his DI programs came from, someone from the Golden Griffs camp has shamelessly requested that The Namesake pay for their arena as well. Despite compelling arguments like "the entire city of Buffalo thinks you're swell" and "we're Jesuit, you're Jesuit, so basically, you owe this to God," Pegula has yet to park the Sabres practice facility on their campus (although they are in something resembling talks to do just that).

As much as I hated the letter, I do quite like the little guys playing baseball at the top of the page.


RIT picked to finish first in Atlantic Hockey poll
(USCHO)

Future opponent watch. Yep, they're still good. Oh and if you didn't click on the Buffalo thing above, they declined an invite to the meeting about that new conference.

New Icers coaches in process of transition
(The Daily Collegian)

I can't really explain why I like this story, but I do. Maybe it's the jumbo picture of Gadowsky in a PSU windsuit. Still hasn't gotten old.

Checking In: Former CCHA commissioner Bill Beagan
(USCHO)

Some interesting words from Beagan:
It was inevitable that the Big Ten would establish an autonomous NCAA D-I college hockey conference once a sixth team [Penn State] announced the creation of a D-I hockey program. I envision the Big Ten hockey conference expanding exponentially in what I envision another two, and perhaps four additional programs, possibly including Notre Dame, by the time they officially launch their Big Ten college hockey conference. Just makes sense.

The Big Ten television network will eventually outshine ESPN, in my opinion, in terms of college sports coverage on television, and being as we live in a money-driven culture, by Notre Dame joining the Big Ten Conference they [Notre Dame] reportedly would increase their annual television revenue three-fold to what it is presently.
Mortenson Construction Awarded New Sports Facility Work at Penn State
(mortenson.com)

Guess they're doing a good job so far with the PIA.
Mortenson Construction has been awarded its second project with The Pennsylvania State University with the $5 million upgrade of the Artificial Turf Field, home of the men and women's lacrosse teams. Penn State awarded Mortenson’s Sports Group the construction of its new $89 million Pegula Ice Arena earlier this year.

Work on the Field upgrade gets underway this month on the University Park campus in Pennsylvania. The scope of work includes excavating and lowering the existing natural grass turf field, addition of a new artificial turf field, sports lighting, sound system, scoreboard, fencing, playing field accessories and netting. The project is scheduled for completion in December 2011.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

W: Penn State 0 at Robert Morris (NCAA DI) 12



There's really no point in belaboring things, so I won't. We're not a DI team yet, they are. Even mighty Lindenwood learned the hard lesson of a transition in their NCAA opener against defending national champ Wisconsin.

If you really need to know the specifics for some reason, use the links above. But before I bury this one with the eulogy "well, it was a good experience, at least," here's the lineup Josh Brandwene used, which I'm throwing in because it's really the first look the outside world has received at anything resembling a depth chart including the massive recruiting class.

Forward lines:
Kate Christoffersen - Elizabeth Denis - Sara Chroman
Kassidy Augustine - Katharine Gausseres - Dana Heller
Sydney Sherman - Katie Murphy - Tess Weaver
Christina Hurle - Carly Szyszko - Denise Rohlik

Defense pairs:
Ashton Schaffer - Madison Smiddy
Paige Harrington - Lindsay Reihl
Cara Mendelson - Allie Rothman

Goalies:
Katie Vaughan
Mary Tonetti

So some position changes, lots of newcomers, and oh, Christoffersen apparently unretired. Thanks for letting me know, world (still, it's great to hear).

Thursday, September 22, 2011

DI Debut

Paul Colontino looks to lead RMU to new heights in his first season as a head coach.

Okay, so technically not. Women's hockey isn't a varsity sport until next year. And Robert Morris, tomorrow night's opponent, puts a little "(ex)" next to this tilt, denoting that it's an exhibition game. Still, one can't help but peek ahead a year when seeing this one as a preview of what's sure to become a heated intrastate conference battle.

So it's with one eye on that reality that we take a little bit of a closer look at the opponent that will open the Lady Icers' final season Friday at 7:00 p.m., in the Island Sports Center. Live video and audio will be available through Robert Morris.

The Lady Colonials are actually entering a new era themselves. Over the summer head coach Nate Handrahan, who had been at Robert Morris since the women's program's second season (2006-2007), left for the same job at Ohio State after some pretty limited success (best record: 2008-2009's 12-20-3). In stepped Paul Colontino, who brings with him tremendous pedigree in the women's game, having served five seasons under Mike Sisti at Mercyhurst. And why bother summarizing it yourself when Robert Morris sports information has already done it?
The Lakers posted an overall record of 148-25-9 (.838), advanced to the national championship game once, made two Frozen Four appearances, qualified for the NCAA Tournament five times, were ranked No. 1 nationally in each season and won five College Hockey America (CHA) tournament championships and five regular-season titles. Immediately after Colontino returned to Mercyhurst as associate head coach, the Lakers went 32-2-3 in 2006-07, claiming the program record for victories, as they registered a nine-win improvement from the previous season and were ranked No. 1 nationally for 13 weeks. After a one-goal loss in the NCAA Tournament to the eventual national champions ended the Lakers' 2007-08 season, the 2008-09 squad reached new heights. Entering the NCAA Tournament on a 15-game winning streak, Mercyhurst advanced to its first-ever Frozen Four with a victory over St. Lawrence and proceeded to top Minnesota in a thrilling semifinal contest to move into the national championship game against Wisconsin. The Lakers were ranked No. 1 for 23 weeks the following season, went 30-3-3 and advanced to the Frozen Four for the second straight season before succumbing in overtime to Cornell.
Before that, the defensive and recruiting ace helped start North Dakota's women's program. And before that, he did another two years with the Mercyhurst women while earning his master's degree, which followed his Lakers playing career.

That wasn't the only coaching change, however. Brianne McLaughlin quickly joined Colontino's staff. The former Lady Colonials goalie, probably the young program's biggest claim to fame so far, holds the NCAA record for saves, was all-CHA first team and academic team...and oh yeah, became the first RMU student-athlete from any sport to compete in the Olympics, helping Team USA to silver in the 2010 Vancouver games. She won gold at the world championships this year, and because she's from Sheffield Village, OH, she gets a picture.


Just today, RMU announced the hiring of displaced former Wayne State assistant Allison Rutledge to complete the staff.

On the ice, the Ontario-laden Lady Colonials are led by sophomore forward - and CHA newcomer of the year last season - Thea Imbroglio (12-17-29 line in 2010-2011, good for second on the team as a freshman), sisters Brianna and Cobina Delaney (43 combined points last year) and Jamie Joslin, who set the RMU school record for goals by a defender last season. Meeri Raisanen (advancing that great tradition of Finnish goalies) and Kristen DiCiocco come in as the top two netminders.

From the Penn State side of things, it's fair to call the entire team an unknown at this point with fourteen new players (plus 16 returnees from the team that just missed a nationals bid last season), but early reports from head coach Josh Brandwene have praised the team's development and ability to assimilate information. For what it's worth Carly Szyszko, Kirsten Evans and Dana Heller are the three leading returning scorers while Lindsay Reihl, Sara Chroman and Allie Rothman held things down from the blue line. Katie Vaughan is the presumptive starter in goal after splitting time with departed senior Heather Rossi last year.

Chances in all of this? Well, don't hold your breath. Consider Josh Brandwene's words in a GoPSUSports.com video:
"It's a tremendous opportunity. It's a transition year for us, we're still a club program this season. And for a lot of these kids...seniors and so many others, this is going to be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. [We're] as big of an underdog as we can possibly be, everything to gain and nothing to lose, if we go out and play, and compete, and have an experience that's going to be valuable for us, really, honestly, no matter what the result is [it will be a positive experience]."
So don't count on a 1-0 start. But do count on a fantastic measuring-stick opportunity and an opportunity to learn from the people who have been doing the NCAA thing for a little bit now.

Oh, and by the way, in the event you're going to this one, get there early. The game will be preceded by the Pittsburgh Penguins Elite 19U girls - featuring PSU recruits Jill Holdcroft and Darby Kern - taking on Detroit Victory Honda at 4:30 p.m.

Breakout Past: Duquesne Incline

Penn State's first two intercollegiate hockey games were played at Pittsburgh's Duquesne Gardens.

Last month, we took a look at PSU's earliest push for hockey, and today, we'll revisit that heady era. For starters, here's a letter that appeared in the State Collegian on January 20, 1910. (Hopefully by now, you know the drill with the whole "click for a bigger size" thing. If you don't, now you do. And if you have issues reading any of these clippings with Blogger's new picture viewer, let me know in the comments and I'll give you a direct link.)


Whoa, wait, "intercollegiate league at Pittsburg?" What's that all about? Let's kick that one off to the foremost historian out there for all things Penn State sports, Mr. Lou Prato. This is part of an article he wrote for Blue White Illustrated last September. I'll forgo my usual block quote formatting since it's a long one.

.........................

It was Christmas night 1909 in Pittsburgh, and captain Herb Baetz led the new Penn State hockey team onto the ice at the Duquesne Gardens for the school’s first intercollegiate game. The team was greeted with a loud cheer from the Penn State students who were home for the holidays and from dozens of alumni and other fans sitting in the grandstands of the old trolley barn.

No one was happier than Baetz, a junior studying electrical engineering, who had helped organize the Penn State team. He had grown up not far from the Gardens and had been playing hockey for years.

This was the moment Baetz, his teammates and many of the other spectators in the Gardens had all been striving for for several years. After playing pickup games on the flawed outdoor ice back on campus, Baetz and his teammates were playing in a real game – and inside an actual ice arena, too, where the professionals sometimes played.

They had worked it all out with the owners of the Gardens and the students who ran the hockey teams at the two local colleges, Carnegie Tech and the University of Pittsburgh. The Penn State team had been accepted as the third member of a Pittsburgh Intercollegiate League sponsored by the Duquesne Gardens management, which was paying the expenses for all three teams.

A 10- game schedule had been set up for each team, with two of the teams playing at the Gardens every Saturday evening. On this night, the Penn State team would be playing Carnegie Tech; a week later, on New Year’s night, it would take on Pitt. Its opponents had organized teams and had been playing games long before them, but the Penn State players were certain they would be competitive.

The Gardens had even lured some of the best players in Canada to the city to help form a professional team that competed around the East and in Canada. One of those players, Lorne Campbell, had helped select this Penn State team, and he would now be behind the bench as the coach. Even though the team was not officially sanctioned by the Penn State Athletic Association – the organization run primarily by students and alumni that was in charge of all the sports at the college – the players believed these two games during this festive holiday period would be the final surge that would enable the team to achieve varsity status.

With the Gardens’ management paying expenses, college teams played there on a regular basis, including an annual series of games between Yale and Princeton that often decided the national intercollegiate hockey championship. The Duquesne Gardens, which had been converted from a trolley car barn to an ice arena in 1896, had an official seating capacity of 5,657.

........................

Here's the Collegian's January 13, 1910 account of Penn State's two games in Pittsburgh.


Not a great start for Penn State intercollegiate hockey, but it gets worse. Remember that the letter that kicked off this post was protesting the cancellation of future games. That problem originated with a massive reorganization of the Athletic Association. Part of that involved the creation of the powerful position of "graduate manager. Let's kick it back to Prato.

.........................

George Meek, a longtime leader in the association, became the first graduate manager, and in March 1909, he reported that the association’s finances were a mess and needed a drastic overhaul. That included a recommendation that would tighten the rules on authorizing and supporting all the school’s varsity, interclass and club sports. Baetz and his fellow Pittsburghers had been campaigning hard for hockey to become a varsity sport, and shortly after the holiday games in Pittsburgh, the association agreed to put the matter to a full membership vote on Jan. 21, 1910.

.........................

The day before that vote, the Collegian published an editorial in support of adding hockey.


And the vote? I'm sure you've figured it out by now, but it essentially killed further intercollegiate competition in hockey.


That clipping goes on to extol the virtues of our wrestling program, which achieved varsity status right around that time. What if hockey was as entrenched at Penn State as wrestling? Did losses to Carnegie Tech and Pitt (while wrestling was chalking up big victories against the likes of UPenn) keep that from happening? We'll never know the answers to those questions. But what we do know is that on the heels of this rejection, and other than the occasional Plea For Hockey, the sport largely went into hibernation until the 1930s.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Penn State to Meet RIT in 2012


Penn State will face arguably the most intimidating crowd in its hockey history next October 20th.

The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle is reporting that RIT has scheduled Penn State for its 2012 homecoming game.

The RIT men's hockey team will face Penn State in next year's Brick City Homecoming game and perennial national power Michigan in the 2013 game.

Both will be held at Blue Cross Arena at the War Memorial.

Contracts have been signed for both games, RIT officials confirmed. Rochester Institute of Technology hosts St. Lawrence in this year's Brick City Homecoming game on Saturday, Oct. 15.
The game - the first known, firm date in the varsity era - will be a one-off, not a traditional two-game weekend series. Blue Cross Arena is not RIT's regular home arena (Ritter Arena) - it's the venue usually used by the Rochester Americans. RIT also uses it to accommodate large homecoming crowds, like the 10,556 who attended last year's version with UMass-Lowell.

It's been a while since anything's leaked out concerning the 2012-2013 schedule, but so far, seven games are known - four games against the U.S. National Team Development program and two at Wisconsin. Joe Battista said back in March that PSU was also in discussions with UConn, Holy Cross, Army, Air Force, UAH, Princeton, Cornell and Michigan State. He also said something at that link that may indicate a 2013-2014 return trip from RIT:

“We had to establish a lot of home and home deals where we play away games with these teams in 2012 and then they come to State College in 2013 for the Pegula Arena’s inaugural season,” Battista said.
RIT, for those who don't know, is a former Division III powerhouse that moved to Division I in 2005. Since then, they have rapidly become sort of a Boise State of the college hockey world, winning four Atlantic Hockey regular season titles and making a surprise run to the Frozen Four in 2010 behind two-time coach-of-the-year winner Wayne Wilson (beating traditional powers Denver and New Hampshire in the process). A 1-0 upset loss to Air Force in the AHA championship game last season prevented a return NCAA engagement, but the league's coaches predict a return to form this season, as just today they tabbed the Tigers as their pick to once again take the title. Prominent RIT alumni include 2008 Hobey Baker finalist Simon Lambert, 2010 NCAA tournament hero Jared DeMichiel and Chris Tanev, another member of that 2010 team who also appeared in the Stanley Cup finals for the Canucks last season.

Commit Cycle: September 20

Men

Kenny Brooks

Forward
Tri-City Storm (USHL)
6'2", 195 pounds
Las Vegas, NV
Class of 2012
DOB 12/11/1991


Date Opponent                Score  G   A Pts PIM
-------------------------------------------------------------

9/15 vs. Lincoln (ex)        W 2-0  0   0   0   2 [box score]
9/16 vs. Omaha (ex)          W 2-1  0   0   0   0 [box score]

Brooks' two PIMs on Thursday were half of a set of matching roughing minors following a disagreement with Lincoln's Zachary Aston-Reese late in the game...in the win over Omaha, he had a team-high four shots and was on ice for the Lancers goal that shaved the Storm's lead to its final margin early in the third period.


David Glen

Center
Spruce Grove Saints (AJHL)
6'0", 175 pounds
Fort Saskatchewan, AB
Class of 2012
DOB 2/14/1991


Date Opponent                Score  G   A Pts PIM
-------------------------------------------------------------

9/16 at Drumheller           W 3-2  0   0   0   0 [box score]
9/17 at Canmore              W 4-0  0   1   1   0 [box score]
9/18 at Calgary              L 4-5  1   1   2   0 [box score]

Glen's third-period power play assist helped close the scoring in the shutout of Canmore Saturday night...on Sunday, his pair of second-period power play points (goal to tie things at 2, assist to go ahead 4-3) were instrumental in earning the Saints a point for the loss (which was in a shootout), although he misfired in said shootout.

Related stories:
Saints show offensive prowess on opening night (Spruce Grove Examiner)
Saints and Pontiacs Hold Charity Game in Slave Lake (ajhl.ca)


Reed Linaker

Center
St. Albert Steel (AJHL)
5'9", 165 pounds
Edmonton, AB
Class of 2012
DOB 11/4/1991


Date Opponent                Score  G   A Pts PIM
-------------------------------------------------------------

9/16 vs. Sherwood Park       L 3-6  0   1   1   2 [box score]
9/17 at Grande Prairie       L 2-9  0   0   0   2 [box score]

Linaker was named one of the Steel's alternate captains this week, and yeah, I'm beefing with the team and anyone else who calls it "assistant" captain...he joins captains Brooks and Glen and alternate Jonathan Milley in wearing a letter this year...his first-slashing penalty in a chippy game Friday ultimately did no harm, and his first assist at 6:51 of the second period brought the Steel to within 2-1...however, his high-sticking infraction on Saturday left to a power play goal...St. Albert is off to an 0-3-0 start with a 7-18 goals for-goals against.


Luke Juha

Defenseman
Vernon Vipers (BCHL)
5'11", 180 pounds
Mississauga, ON
Class of 2012
DOB 3/9/1993


Date Opponent                Score  G   A Pts PIM
-------------------------------------------------------------

9/13 at Westside (ex)        W 5-4  -   -   -   - [box score]
9/16 vs. Trail (ex)          W 4-2  -   -   -   - [box score]

The Vipers closed out a successful (3-1-0) exhibition season, although with Juha still watching from the press box...he suffered a head injury suffered when he was hit with an errant puck working a camp shortly before Vernon's camp started and will miss the early stages of the regular season as well.

Related stories:
Vipers regroup after camp (Vernon Morning Star)
Juha Patiently Waits (vernoncentral.ca)


Eamon McAdam

Goaltender
Waterloo Black Hawks (USHL)
6'2", 180 pounds
Perkasie, PA
Class of 2013
DOB 9/24/1994


Date Opponent               Score  S GA  Sv% GAA
-------------------------------------------------------------

9/14 at Cedar Rapids (ex)   L 3-6  -  -   --  --  [box score]
9/16 vs. Des Moines (ex)    W 4-3 24  3 .875 3.00 [box score]
9/17 vs. Cedar Rapids (ex)  L 3-4  -  -   --  --  [box score]

Cal Peterson played all 60 minutes in net during the Black Hawks' loss last Wednesday, while Jay Williams got the nod Saturday night...McAdam started and finished the middle game, and in doing so became the only one of the three goalies to earn a win...despite some shakiness early (including giving up a goal that tied things at one 1:22 after Waterloo took the lead, then two more unanswered in the second to go down 3-1), he was able to bolt things down late and for the second straight game allowed his team a late comeback win.


Jonathan Milley

Right Wing
Pembroke Lumber Kings (CCHL)
6'4", 220 pounds
Ottawa, ON
Class of 2012
DOB 5/8/1991


Date Opponent                Score  G   A Pts PIM
-------------------------------------------------------------

9/14 at Nepean               W 3-2  -   -   -   - [box score]
9/16 at Brockville           L 3-4  -   -   -   - [box score]
9/18 vs. Carleton Place      L 0-5  -   -   -   - [box score]

With Milley on the shelf, the Lumber Kings continued their disappointing start - their 1-3-1 record is still good for third place in the CCHL's Yzerman Division.

Related stories:
Line built to last (Standard-Freeholder)
Canadians, 73's split CCHL Showcase contests, Bears, Pembroke among teams swept in opening weekend (emcperth.ca)


Connor Varley

Defenseman
Des Moines Buccaneers (USHL)
6'0", 190 pounds
Lansdale, PA
Class of 2013
DOB 6/3/1992


Date Opponent                Score  G   A Pts PIM
-------------------------------------------------------------

9/16 at Waterloo (ex)        L 3-4  0   0   0   0 [box score]
9/18 vs. Sioux Falls (ex)    L 2-3  -   -   -   - [box score]

Varley took two shots on Friday and was on ice for three of the games seven goals: Waterloo's to open the scoring, then the Buccaneers marker that extended the Des Moines lead to 3-1, and finally a Black Hawks power play effort that tied things at 3 midway through the third...he sat out of Des Moines' Sunday defeat, which is just as well considering the gongshow that broke out.


Mark Yanis

Defenseman
Muskegon Lumberjacks (USHL)
6'2", 195 pounds
Grosse Pointe Woods, MI
Class of 2012
DOB 5/26/1994


Date Opponent                Score  G   A Pts PIM
-------------------------------------------------------------

9/16 vs. Indiana (ex)        W 4-2  0   0   0   8 [box score]
9/17 vs. Youngstown (ex)     L 2-3  -   -   -   - [box score]

In an edgy tilt against the Ice, Yanis was involved in two altercations that merited matching roughing minors...he was a +2 in that game (on for the second and fourth Lumberjacks goals) and offered his usual physical presence on the back end...Yanis got the night off on Saturday against Youngstown.

Women

Jill Holdcroft

Forward
Pittsburgh Penguins Elite 19U
5'1", 121 pounds
Pennsylvania Furnace, PA
Class of 2012
DOB 1/29/1994


Date Opponent                Score  G   A Pts PIM
-------------------------------------------------------------

9/16 at Whitby               W 3-1  0   0   0   2 [box score]
9/16 vs. Nepean              W 2-1  0   0   0   0 [box score]
9/17 at Toronto              L 1-2  0   0   0   0 [box score]
9/17 at Bluewater            L 1-2  0   0   0   0 [box score]


Darby Kern

Forward
Pittsburgh Penguins Elite 19U
5'11", 145 pounds
Venetia, PA
Class of 2012
DOB 8/28/1994


Date Opponent                Score  G   A Pts PIM
-------------------------------------------------------------

9/16 at Whitby               W 3-1  0   0   0   0 [box score]
9/16 vs. Nepean              W 2-1  0   0   0   0 [box score]
9/17 at Toronto              L 1-2  0   0   0   0 [box score]
9/17 at Bluewater            L 1-2  0   0   0   0 [box score]

Both Holdcroft and Kern were at the Stoney Creek University Showcase Tournament, hosted by the Provincial Women's Hockey League's Stoney Creek Jr. Sabres in Hamilton, ON...although the duo of Penn State commits was held off the scoresheet (in some low-scoring games, I should point out), their team represented quite well against some of the best junior players in Ontario.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Three Stars: September 12-18


3. Despite traffic woes, PSU hockey rink gets nod
(Centre Daily Times)

A mundane, yet vital, precursor to the February groundbreaking for the Pegula Ice Arena is now completed as the College Township council approved the area's development plan. Next up? State College borough and Penn State Board of Trustees approval of said plan.

I'll save you from having to read the whole article. You're welcome.
While Township Council members expressed concern about traffic volume near the new Pegula Ice Arena, they unanimously approved the development plans Thursday.

Though a traffic impact study showed adding right turn lanes at the University/ Curtin intersection would not help traffic volumes, council members still thought traffic there will be a problem.

“In most cases, we’re not adding right-turn volume, we’re adding through volume,” said Jason Stimmel, of McCormick Taylor, the firm that conducted the traffic study. “Those through movements block vehicles from getting into the right turn lane.”

Councilman Dan Klees also had concern about those who direct traffic not having enough training to handle the increased volume, particularly when multiple sporting events could take place the same day.

“I’m just concerned that it isn’t always obvious, as a consumer and a municipal official, that it’s being done to the highest level, given the responsibility we’re entrusting with some people who are only part-time,” he said.
2. Week in Review
(View From the Booth)

Steve Penstone hits Guy Gadowsky and Nate Jensen as he continues to plow through seemingly the entire Icers roster before the season even starts.

1. 2011-12 Ice Lions Roster
(psuicelions.com)

The ACHA D2 team released its roster this past week, and lo and behold, some familiar names were included: Joe Zitarelli, Mac Winchester, Matt Venoit and Creek Lewis. The first two, of course, were vital role players last year in a season where poor depth would have meant missing nationals for the first time ever in the ACHA era. Venoit and Lewis are guys who had a lot of success in the AtJHL and are probably hungry to prove something after not making it through Icers tryouts. It's probably not crazy to predict big things for an Ice Lions team that was on the cusp of nationals last year.

Josh Hand's squad began its season with a 21-1 trashing of Susquehanna on Saturday - so far, so good.

Best of the Rest

Icers working on power play
(The Daily Collegian)

Who would've ever guessed that a USHL player and a DI transfer would be the two defensemen cited as looking good on the power play?

Joe Battista: A Hat Trick of a Weekend in Hockey Valley
(statecollege.com)

A Joe Battista column about hockey is pretty much an automatic include, but this one was better than most, particularly if you're interested in any of former assistant coach Matt Bertani, The Namesake's tennis-playing daughter, or how JoeBa spent the day of the PSU-Alabama football game.



Journeys - Joe Battista
(YouTube)

Speaking of Mr. Battista, here's something random on which I stumbled. It was posted on YouTube by the PSU Innovation Park account and is one of...
...a collection of interviews with people -- from the unknown to the well-known -- who reflect upon life's journey as a progressive act that can have no predefined conclusion or result. With such understanding, they reflect on the importance of embracing change, hardship, failure, love, and courage.
JoeBa's contribution is the story about how he learned that the Icers were losing their rink - Ice Pavilion the First - three days after he arrived on campus, but how that unexpectedly ended up as a positive event in his life.

Citizens Bank Park may host Icers
(The Daily Collegian)

Call me crazy, say I'm reading way too much into things (usually true on both counts), but check out Battista's quotes in this one. It sounds like this whole thing is a lot closer to off than on right now.

This is the ACHA...
(achahockey.org)

The ACHA appears to be firing back at the NAIH with...a brochure.

@Sportsbeat960
(Twitter)


Fool me once, shame on...shame on you. Fool me...can't get fooled again. I'll believe it when there's an announcement.

...by the way, don't rule out the Big Ten just yet.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

One Year Down...

You know what today is, right? Yep, it's the first birthday of this picture:


Hard to believe, isn't it? I'm not sure whether September 17th will end up being one of those dates we remember to mark with a quick tweet each year (or whatever it is people do when not on Twitter), but regardless, it's definitely worth noting this time.

Year one of Penn State NCAA hockey has been quite good to us, hasn't it? Consider that the following things didn't even exist (to us, obviously talks about some things took place before the press conference) until one year ago today, except located somewhere in a pipe dream.
I did not yet mention the best part of all: this coming year will be even better.