If you simply look at the team’s record, the 2013-2014 season for Penn State’s women’s hockey doesn’t jump off the page. With just two games to play before the start of the CHA Conference tournament, the Nittany Lions sit at the bottom of the standings with a 1-16-1 conference record, and 4-25-3 overall.
But a season should not simply be judged by wins and losses – especially for a program in its infancy. This year marked only the second for the team at the Division 1 level and the first year in the university’s new mecca of hockey, otherwise known as Pegula Arena.
Although the team is enduring a rough season, the future looks bright thanks to a plethora of young talent. Seventeen freshman took the ice this year for the Lions, including leading goal-scorer Laura Bowman. Hannah Hoenshell, the team’s leading assist-getter, is a sophomore. Celine Whitlinger, a California native who split time in net with University of Connecticut transfer Nicole Paniccia, posted a .913 save percentage and led the team with three wins – as a sophomore.
While youth comes with inexperience, each game (even a loss) offers valuable ice time against top tier competition. Extra ice time will only help the team improve.
As we look forward to seeing the team finish their first season playing home games at University Park, there were a number of bright spots this season that the team and its fans can be proud of.
Ice Lions Officially Move Into Pegula
Having played all thirteen home games in 2012 at Greenburg Ice Pavilion, the Lions officially moved into their new digs at the start of the fall semester.
Nittany Lions Earn First Win On Home Ice
After a narrow defeat in the first game at Pegula, the Lions bounced back the next night with a thrilling 2-1 over Union College. Laura Bowman scored the game-winning goal in the third period, while sophomore goaltender Celine Whitlinger turned away 20 shots.
Two Skaters Earn Weekly Honors
Senior goaltender Nicole Paniccia and sophomore forward Hannah Hoenshell were named College Hockey America’s Goaltender and Player of the Week in January, the first awards handed to a pair of Nittany Lions in the 2014 season.
Paniccia stopped 39 of 40 shots in an overtime win over Colgate, helping snap Penn State’s five-game losing streak.
Hoenshell assisted Laura Bowman on the game-tying score before netting the game-winning goal to give Penn State its first overtime win in program history.
“Skate For The Cure” Raises $5000 For THON and Breast Cancer Awareness
A record crowd of 1,795 watched Penn State fall to RIT, 3-1, but the story wasn’t what happened on the ice — it was the special donation. Donned in pink jerseys, the Lions skated in front of the largest crowd in Penn State women’s hockey history, donating all proceeds to benefit cancer awareness.
“The people that needed to win today won today: that’s the children of THON, and Pink Zone,” head coach Josh Brandwene said after the game.