"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

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Club Sandwich: November 27th

Freshman forward Mandy Mortach and her teammates are ranked fifth in ACHA WD2.

Both of University Park's ACHA teams were out of action last weekend and will remain so this weekend. However, both recently received top five recognition in their respective polls.

Women

The first ACHA Women's Division 2 rankings of the year were released over the weekend, with Penn State placing fifth overall, fourth among teams in the East Region.

                        Pts.  E/W
1. California (PA)        7   (E)
2. West Chester           8   (E)
3T. Wisconsin-Stout      22   (W)
3T. Delaware             22   (E)
5. Penn State            26   (E)
6. North Dakota State    27   (W)
7. Minnesota-Duluth      38   (W)
8. Michigan State        42   (W)
9T. Wisconsin-La Crosse  45   (W)
9T. Minot State          45   (W)
11. Slippery Rock        50   (E)
12. Rainy River          60   (W)
13. Connecticut          64   (E)
14. South Dakota State   70   (W)
15. Alaska               75   (W)

According to the ACHA website, the WD2 tournament has been expanded to eight teams this season, up from six last year. Despite the issuance of a combined ranking this time around, it's more important to note each school's placement relative to others with the same east-west designation, as the top four from each of the two regions will receive an invite to the national championships. The tournament will take place over the second weekend in March at the Ashburn Ice House in Ashburn, VA.

Long story short: Penn State, which presently has a 3-1-1 record, is in as of this moment. Undoubtedly, the pollsters were impressed with PSU's sweep at No. 8 Michigan State on October 13th and 14th, and possibly even with two tight losses at No. 1 Cal (one in overtime) to open the season.

The next ranking, due out in mid-December, will be interesting because if Penn State is to be punished for its (understandably, given that it's a first-year organization and the soon-to-be-alleviated ice time crunch in central Pennsylvania) light schedule, it will likely be in that poll as no games will be played between now and then. Six games in January and February - including against No. 2 West Chester and No. 11 Slippery Rock - will keep PSU front-of-mind after that point.

Men

For the Ice Lions, still 9-4-1 (3-0-0 MACHA North) following a home split with Ohio on November 16th and 17th, the latest ACHA Division 2 Southeast Region poll was more confirmation than novelty since it was the second ranking of the season.

                        Pts.
1. Miami (11)             9
2. Rowan                 20
3. Bowling Green         33
4. Penn State            40
5. MD-Baltimore County   41   
6. Liberty               50
7. Toledo                56
8. Rider                 82
9. Virginia Tech         84
10. Temple               93
11. Delaware             96
12. Maryland            102
13. Florida Gulf Coast  105
14. Pittsburgh          127
15T. Akron              131
15T. Dayton             131

Others receiving votes: Georgetown, Ohio

Penn State held steady at fourth, and behind the same three teams as in the first poll. Given some of the game results to date - notably PSU's 7-3 loss to Miami at the ACHA Showcase on October 6th - it's hard to take too much issue with the team's placement. No. 2 Rowan, of course, is a MACHA North rival of the Ice Lions, and games on December 15th (at Rowan) and January 26th (at the Ice Pavilion) will provide an obvious opportunity for PSU to improve its position.

In ACHA D2, the top two teams in the Southeast and each of the other three regions at the end of the regular season receive an automatic bid to the ACHA national tournament, held March 15th through 19th in St. Louis. Teams ranked third through tenth in each region battle for two other bids (per region, so eight total) in regional tournaments on the weekend of February 23rd and 24th.

The Ice Lions are back at it December 7th and 8th, with home games against Delaware and Temple.

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