Thursday, September 1, 2011

PSU Schedules Women's Press Conference (and men's tryout updates)

USCHO is reporting that Penn State has scheduled a press conference for a "major announcement" related to the women's program. The event will take place Tuesday, September 6th at 1:15 p.m. in the Beaver Stadium Media Room.
According to a press release, the following people will be in attendance for the press conference: PSU associate athletic director Joe Battista, Penn State women’s head coach Josh Brandwene, College Hockey America commissioner Robert DeGregorio and Niagara director of athletics Ed McLaughlin.
Guess I'm not big time enough or tight enough with sports information to get the CC on those press releases. Probably because I rip on them three times a week. Oh well.

Anyway, it's pretty safe to assume that this press conference is to announce that the Penn State women have officially joined College Hockey America. As you'll recall, PSU applied for CHA membership back in early July. Just last week, a CHA contingent including - you guessed it - commissioner Robert DeGregorio and Niagara AD Ed McLaughlin visited campus as part of the application process, and things seemed to go pretty well.

Since Wayne State dropped its program following last season, the CHA presently consists of Syracuse, Niagara, Robert Morris and Mercyhurst, with the Lakers winning every possible conference championship since its 2002 inception. Penn State would be the fifth team, and rumors abound as to the identity of a potential sixth team to get the conference back into autobid territory (transitioning-into-DI Lindenwood and Ohio State are the two most commonly-mentioned names). The CHA recently reached a three-year agreement with America One to webcast all conference games and out-of-conference home games.

Meanwhile on the men's side, tryouts are presently underway. Mark Horgas has been on hand to watch, and had the following to report - with specific attention given to new players.

Justin Kirchhevel: Good speed and vision, courteous and mature.

Tommy Olczyk: Demonstrated good chemistry with Kirchhevel. Makes sense to me, as both strike me as "do whatever it takes" types.

Eric Steinour: Also clicked while skating with Kirchhevel on Thursday. Steinour's another guy I'll put in a category with the UAA transfer and Olczyk. I watched every Icers goal scored last season multiple times and am willing to bet that he led the team in "little plays that lead to goals but don't count as assists."

Forrest Dell/Bryce Johnson: After looking impressive in the first Icers practice, both were shut down on the first full day of tryouts Wednesday. Dell is the best of the old regime's recruits for this season.

Nate Jensen: Steady on defense...the best new d-man.

Taylor Holstrom: A shify forward.

Dan Petrick/Kurt Collins: Both did well on Thursday.

Chris Cerutti/Matt Venoit: Both injured and not skating. Cerutti was common knowledge, Venoit was not. Once again, it's tough to figure out exactly how this affects things. Cerutti has a track record of big-time production at Penn State, while Venoit was a pre-Guy Gadowsky recruit who (obviously) does not. That could spell some trouble for the latter.

Defensemen: Above average in size and played very well on Wednesday.

Tryouts wrap up tomorrow, and the coaching staff will decide on a roster over the weekend, with release of said roster anticipated next week (after all, the Blue-White Game is just four weeks from Friday). One thing I can promise: there will be at least a couple surprises with respect to the final roster.

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