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By Briana Zuccarelli, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.- After helping build the hockey program at her high school, senior Bella Sutton knew she wanted an opportunity to have that same impact again. 

"With Penn State being a newer program," said Sutton. "I really wanted to be a part of something bigger and leave the program better than it was when I joined it." 

Sutton began playing hockey when she was three years old on the lake in her backyard. Now, she is leading the 2017-2018 Penn State team as captain. She was voted captain by the team at the end of last year's season. 

"I am so thankful that they chose me to help lead them," she shared. "Especially with this transition year. Being able to lead and help build the other leaders that are on this has been really cool for me. I may wear the "C", but the team is filled with leaders and it's been really helpful because I learn from them as much as I hope they learn from me."

Not only does she act as a captain on the ice (having her best season yet with 17 points), but also in the classroom.  She has been a member of the CHA All-Academic Team for the past three years, was awarded the CHA Student-Athlete of the Year in 2014-15, and was named a Big Ten Distinguished Scholar and AHCA All-American Scholar last year.

Sutton explained that balancing school and hockey can be hard because the team misses a lot of Friday classes when in season. This requires her to find time to schedule outside meetings with teachers and figure out when she can squeeze in her labs for biology.

"Honestly, it is really cool to see that they honor academics because there is a lot that goes on behind the scenes for us," explained Sutton. "I am just honored to have that recognition added on because to me, just coming here, school is very important so that is just an added bonus."

Being able to manage all of these things has not gone unnoticed by her coaches and teammates. Teammate and roommate, Brooke Madsen, has had the opportunity to get to know Sutton more outside of the ice arena.

"It's been great playing alongside someone like her," Madsen said. "She's just an overall great team player. She holds us accountable not only on the ice, but in the weight room as well. She's a great player in the offensive zone. Overall she is a great kid." 

Head coach Jeff Kampersal had nothing but praise for the team captain and could not be more thankful for helping him with this transition in his first year at Penn State this season. 

"I told her that she'll be graduating as captain and leaving Penn State hockey with a new culture that her and her senior teammates have set," said Kampersal. "She helped me learn what Penn State was like, how things worked here and more. She was really there when I needed her." 

When asked to describe Sutton in three words, Madsen said "caring, enthusiastic, and spunky". While Kampersal described her to be the mature leader of the team that all the girls feel comfortable around. As Sutton prepares for her final games during the CHA Tournament, she has reflected on things she learned from her time being a Penn Stater.

"Yes, hockey means the world to me," Sutton said with a smile on her face. "But the relationship I've built with these girls along the way, that is going to mean so much more to me after my years here are done."


By Brian McLaughlin, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSTIY PARK, Pa. - It was a tale of two games for the Nittany Lions' offense this weekend, unable to convert numerous opportunities in the series opener against Lindenwood on Friday, while pouring on six goals Saturday afternoon. 

On Friday night the Nittany Lions seemingly dominated Lindenwood on the stat sheet, outshooting the Lions 43-12, but never found the back of the net in a 1-0 loss. 

Junior goaltender Jolene deBruyn was able to make some clutch saves for Lindenwood, while under constant attack from Penn State. Lindenwood captain Britannia Gillanders produced the only goal for the Lions in the first period. 

"We didn't execute, we lacked vision and we didn't work smart. That kills us, we had 43 shots on goal, and we have to put one of those in," head coach Jeff Kampersal said. "We had plenty of backdoor tap-ins that we couldn't lift the puck. It is really frustrating to lose that game."

Following the first period for Penn State, freshman goaltender Chantal Burke made her third career appearance in the Blue and White, replacing senior goalie Hannah Ehresmann. Burke did not allow a goal throughout the rest of the game, stopping seven shots over the final two periods.

In the third period the Nittany Lions outshot Lindenwood 20-4 but could not find a way to tie the game. Katie Rankin dominated in the faceoff circle for Penn State giving them ample opportunities to get on the board, winning 11 of 14 face-offs she took. 

With Friday's result Lindenwood drew within one point of the Nittany Lions in the CHA standings but Penn State answered in a vengeance Saturday dominating the Lions to a 6-0 win.

Natalie Heising led the way for Penn State with a hat-trick, recording one goal in each period. She now has 17 goals on the season and eight in the last five games. 

Heising struck early in the first period for a power play goal past starting goalie for Lindenwood, Lauren Hennessy. Thanks to the early power play the Nittany Lions were able to get nine shots in the first 10 minutes on Hennessey, making just her second appearance of the year for Lindenwood. 

"Sometimes it's just hockey where we get the bounces. Today they didn't start their number one goaltender so I think they just made the decision to give her a rest to get her prepared for Thursday," Kampersal said. "So that definitely helped but at the same time we threw a cumulative of 85 shots and attempted over a hundred so we are getting the puck on net. We tried to do a better job today of doing simple better, making eight foot passes instead of 80-foot passes, coming out together as a group."

Heising kept things rolling for the Nittany Lions early in the second period with another goal with lots of traffic in front of the net. 

Penn State kept the scoring going with eight minutes remaining in the second period with Amanda McLeod's first goal of the year on a scrum in front of the net. 

A 5-on-3 for Penn State with 17 minutes left in the third period left the door open for Heising's third goal of the night to complete the trifecta. It was her 17th of the season and eighth in the last five games. 

Just moments later Penn State converted again, still on the power play, with Sophie Slattery notching her fifth goal of the year. The Nittany Lions finished three power play goals on the day while killing off six penalties of their own. 

"The power play which was frustrating yesterday was really clicking, and to see them score on a 5-on-3 and again right after on the 5-on-4 was really satisfying," Kampersal said. "That's what good teams do is take advantage of those opportunities." 

Penn State was not finished yet however, as Meike Meilleur found the back of the net on a wrist shot to finish the scoring at 6-0.

Ehreshman was also outstanding in the net for Nittany Lions posting a shutout in her final regular season game as a Nittany Lion. 

"This is an awesome day for the seniors to get this win on their senior day," Kampersal said. "I told them when they reflect back on their time at Penn State whether it's five or 75 years later they can remember today fondly and be proud of what they have done for this program and accomplished." 

The Nittany Lions will have another matchup with Lindenwood this Thursday in the opener of the conference tournament, which will be their fifth matchup this season.


By: Briana Zuccarelli, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.- As senior week comes to an end, Aly Hardy has a lot of emotions going through her head. The senior forward started playing hockey when she was six years old when she saw a flyer about hockey sign-ups.

"I looked at my parents and said 'I want to try hockey'," said Hardy. "I am sure they were a little hesitant at first, but they let me try it and I never looked back. I fell in love with it, it's hard not to."

On Friday evening of the final home series, the team held its annual banquet to recognize the players on their accomplishments, especially the senior class. Hardy and the rest of the senior class will also be recognized during the senior game on Saturday, February 24th at 2 p.m.  Hardy said her time at Penn State has flown by and it has become her second home. 

"Knowing that this is my last year and now last week to play for Penn State in regular season is scary, crazy, sad, humbling, I don't even know how to describe it," the senior said. "Although it is very emotional knowing it is senior week, I know I will be able to look at myself in the mirror and say 'I've done it.'" 

Hardy explained that playing for the Nittany Lions has been nothing short of a dream. When she had first started playing, she set a goal to play Division I hockey and she did just that. Now that her time in Happy Valley is winding down, she praised not only the athletic department at Penn State, but also the academics in what got her here. 

"Having the opportunity to graduate with a Penn State degree is an honor alone," said Hardy. "It sets you up for so many more opportunities in the future. It was an easy decision, and one of the best decisions."

The Saturday matchup against Lindenwood will mark the last home game for the senior class. Friday night the Nittany Lions suffered a 1-0 loss and will look to end their last game with a win for not only the team as a whole, but the seniors. 

"Having it be my last home weekend does give me a little more motivation going into the series," said Hardy heading into the weekend. "It will be nice to end on a high not in Pegula."

Through her time at Penn State, she was able to make endless memories in Pegula, yet her favorite memory was off the ice.  Hardy recalled coming back from a road series and a 5-hour bus ride. The team had just gotten back in time to see the final quarter of the Ohio State football game in 2016. 

"I just remember throwing our bags inside the door at Pegula and sprinting over to the game," she said with a smile. "We made it just in time to see us come back and beat Ohio State. That was one of the best memories and feelings. I think I lost my voice for the entire week we were screaming so much."

 Along with these memories, comes incredible teammates and friends, some of which are her roommates. Kate Rydland had the opportunity to live with Hardy this past summer and cannot believe how fast time has gone and is sad to see some of her best friends go.

"Anyone that knows Aly would know she is a really funny person," said Rydland. "I have so many memories with her. It's just the little things with her, she makes everything fun. Being able to be her teammate has been awesome for me and she's definitely going to be missed."

Head coach Jeff Kampersal explained that these seniors definitely "bleed blue and white" and he only hopes that they could have a great experience. Coach had nothing but praise for Hardy and the type of person she has been to him from the first time he showed up to campus this past year.

"For me personally, when I came in and was transitioning she helped me out a lot," said Kampersal. "She is someone that I trust and can talk to about certain situations. I find her very mature, smart, and an advice giver."

As Hardy prepares for her final game in Pegula, she hopes to leave her legacy on and off the ice at Penn State, and those who have interacted with her have no doubt she will. 



By Briana Zuccarelli, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.- Senior Hannah Ehresmann exemplifies what it means to take advantage of every opportunity that Penn State has to offer.

This past Friday through Sunday, Penn State held its annual Dance Marathon, THON. THON is a 46 hour no sitting no sleeping dance marathon and has over 16,500 volunteers each year to raise money for the fight against childhood cancer. One of the crowd favorites of THON is the Saturday night Pep Rally. The Pep Rally gives sports teams the opportunity to come up with funny, creative dance routines in hopes to be crowned the champion of that year's contest.  

"I've definitely been looking forward to dancing at THON this year," said Ehresmann last week prior to the big weekend. "We've been able to perform three out of the four years that I've played for Penn State. This year definitely should be interesting and we've thrown a little curve ball in there by using some of our equipment."

The team took the stage shortly after 7:30 p.m. on Saturday after their 2-0 win against RIT. The team did a remix from the movie Pitch Perfect and had the spectators laughing in enjoyment. Ehresmann explained the importance of the team being involved throughout the community and what it means to the team.

"We had THON game earlier this year and it was always a privilege to play in and see the support of the fans," Ehresmann said. "We love it as a team and I know the fans love it.  It's so fun to see how excited the little girls and boys are to see us and be with us to see our personalities; they love getting pictures."

Ehresmann shared that being able to see the improvement of kids during their post-game skates is always fun because she has seen some of the same people since her first time on the ice at Penn State. Head coach Jeff Kampersal shared the love the team has for the post-game skates.

"I think our kids are an awesome group and I know they do a lot in the community," Kampersal said. "I personally am a huge fan of the skates and the players genuinely love to do it and love to be involved." 

Ehresmann has also noticed a lot of improvement with herself over her time here at Penn State. She first began to play hockey when she was in second or third grade, where she first found out her love of playing goalie. 

"I was the only girl on my team at the time, so they didn't make me play goalie," said Ehresmann. "But on my last game, I asked if I could play it and ever since then I have been in love with it. I think all my experiences and all the people I met while being here really shaped who I am. I've changed a lot over the four years and I've definitely learned a lot of life lessons." 

During her time playing for Penn State, Ehresmann has made 1,916 saves. Not only does she make an impact on the ice, but she also has been a CHA All-Academic team member for the past three years. She is an accounting major at Penn State and says it is just something that her family has always done. 

"I chose accounting because it has been within my family and we have a family accounting firm back in Minnesota," said Ehresmann. "It's kind of what my family does; My brother is an accountant and so are my cousins. My grandpa started the firm 40 years ago and it's just what we all do." 

Coach Kampersal emphasized the time Ehresmann puts in to be the best she can be, whether taking a million shots or possessing the right amount of confidence to help her succeed. The younger goalies on the team, like freshman Chantal Burke, look up to Ehresmann and recognize the type of person she is on and off the ice. 

"Hannah has one of the strongest work ethics I've seen," said Burke. "It pushes me to work that much harder to get better so I can be at that same level. She had a very high level of focus and you can see it through her confidence on the ice." 

When off the ice, Ehresmann can be found filling her teammates up on various foods before or after practice. Burke explains that Ehresmann will come into practice with baked goods for the team like banana bread or an assortment of cookies.

"She's so sweet," Burke said. "Her treats are delicious and everyone just loves to dig in." 

This act of kindness is something that teammate will miss about Ehresmann and a part of the fun legacy she wishes to leave upon leaving Penn State. She says she hopes the younger girls see what she does on and off the ice and take it all in. 

"I think it matters for goalies to stay level headed," Ehresmann said. "I hope they noticed throughout the year that you just need to compete for every puck and never give up. Even if you're having an off day, you need to mentally restart and get back to it. I want for them to enjoy it all because it goes by really fast."

 Ehresmann will look to continue her legacy playing for the Minnesota Whitecaps upon graduating from Penn State.

VIDEO: 2018 THON Pep Rally Dance

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Among the most highly anticipated THON weekend events, check out the women's ice hockey athlete hour pep rally dance! 


By Andy Kuros, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State stretches its unbeaten streak to four games after a series sweep of Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) this weekend. Following a 4-1 victory Friday night, the Nittany Lions put together another solid performance on Saturday afternoon with a 2-0 victory. 

"I thought we played well from the get-go," head coach Jeff Kampersal said after the 2-0 win. "We started a lot faster today than yesterday." 

After being shutout in the first period of game one, Penn State came out firing in game two, scoring a goal on 14 shots in the opening frame. Sophomore forward Abby Welch put the Blue and White on the board, scoring her second goal of the season with five minutes left in the frame. 

Freshman Natalie Heising did her part on offense this weekend, as well. The Minnesota native scored the team's first two goals Friday night after Penn State fell behind by a goal early in the first period. She gave the team a much-needed spark. 

"I just try to get pucks to the net," Heising said. "It doesn't have to be pretty but I just try getting pucks to the net and getting rebounds and taking shots. We had 39 shots and four goals so I'd say that's pretty good." 

Heising, who is the team's leader in goals (14) and total points (23), scored one more on Saturday, as she extended the Nittany Lions' lead to two with 7:27 remaining in the game. Her three-goal weekend gives her fourteen on the season, which ranks sixth overall in the College Hockey America Conference.

Heising wasn't the only Penn Stater to shine this weekend. Senior goalie Hannah Ehresmann did her job in keeping RIT out of the scoring column. 

"Defensively we didn't give up a lot of shots, but we did give up a few grade A opportunities," Kampersal said. "The times that we did break down, Hannah (Ehresmann) was there to shut the door, like she has been all season." 

Ehresmann stopped a combined 33 shots against RIT this weekend and even registered her second shutout of the year in the second game of the series. 

"I was seeing the puck really well and my defense helped me out a lot," Ehresmann said. "They made shots easier for me to see which made the game simpler for me overall." 

Kampersal spoke highly about the performance of his goaltender, who improved her record to 7-8-9 on the year. 

"When all else fails and they got a breakaway, Hannah came up big with a save" Kampersal said. "She's been big for us all year." 

Thanks to the great play of Heising and Ehresmann, the Blue and White push their record to 8-13-11 overall on the season, and 5-6-7 in the College Hockey America Conference. 

Looking ahead, the Nittany Lions will host Lindenwood University at the Pegula Ice Arena in the regular season finale before beginning the conference tournament. Penn State last played Lindenwood on the road in January which resulted in a series split. Puck drop is Friday afternoon at 2 p.m.


By Briana Zuccarelli, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.- From the time she was able to walk, senior Irene Kiroplis' father had her in a pair of ice skates.

"I started playing hockey when I was five years old," the current Penn State senior, Kiroplis said. "My dad and I would go to the local community rink and I would sit on the ice until I could stand up and then we'd try again the next day."

 Kiroplis recalled hearing about Penn State from her older cousins, but all she knew was it had an amazing football program.  It wasn't until Grade 11, that the Penn State coaches reached out to her and she did her research on the place she now calls home.

"That's kind of what started my journey with Penn State," Kiroplis explained. "My first impression was that this place is incredible and it's huge. It's a new school with an old fashion feel, which made me think of my old town Georgetown." 

Coming from Ontario, Canada, Kiroplis had to learn quickly how to adjust to living in a different country while playing a Division 1 sport and balancing schoolwork. To many this would be difficult, but a mature Kiroplis was not challenged by it. Instead, she did what she had to do and became a leader to the other international students.

"I'm sure she (Kiroplis) can attest to this, but being international students, we have to do a lot of stuff outside the rink when it comes to sorting different paperwork," said freshman Katie Rankin, who is also from Ontario. "She's been really helpful in that sense. She's really made this transition smooth for me." 

Kiroplis said that the transition to Penn State wasn't easy because she didn't understand all the documentations that needed to get done.  On top of that, she had no clue what a grade point average (GPA) was and had to learn quickly how the American grading system worked.

"I've really been trying to help the younger girls understand what they need to do it terms of visas and documents, that I didn't quite understand," said Kiroplis. "I also helped explain to them what a GPA was, what professors to take, what courses to enroll in. Basically, taught them how Penn State works, that way they have a head start and don't need to spend two or three years figuring it out." 

Head coach Jeff Kampersal talked highly about the mature senior and explained that many of the players look to her as a role model.  Behind the scenes, Kiroplis has done more than the coaching staff knows about and that is something they recognize. 

"Irene had done a good job of walking the walk and taking advantage of the great opportunities at Penn State," said Kampersal. "She is a caretaker and I know our team feels comfortable going to her to have some fun and to ask academic questions."

With that fun personality of Kiroplis, comes the annual Canadian Thanksgiving. When Kiroplis joined the team her freshman year, she was the only player from Canada and found it hard to celebrate her country's holidays especially without her family. Each year since, Kiroplis has put together a little something for her Canadian teammates to remind them of home.

"For the past three years, I've put on a Canadian Thanksgiving for me and my Canadian teammates," Kiroplis said. "I would bring them a home cooked meal into the dorms where they don't really get that with Pollock chicken and weird vegetables. It makes them feel a little more comfortable and a little less homesick." 

Fellow Canadian, Rankin, recalled the great memories she shares with Kiroplis since the first time she got here.  Rankin explained that the personality Kiroplis has makes her feel comfortable to be around her and gives her that little piece of home she's missing.

"She has such a kind soul," said Rankin. "I think just being in her presence and hanging out with her, makes it easier for us to feel at home here. It's nice to have that other international student, who's a senior, that we can all look up to."


By Briana Zuccarelli, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Nittany Lions dropped a tough 3-0 loss against the Princeton Tigers in a nonconference matchup Tuesday evening inside Pegula Ice Arena. 

Penn State (6-13-9, 3-6-5 CHA) and Princeton (9-10-4, 7-8-1 ECAC) both had strong defensive games, but the Tigers were able to hold the Nittany Lions offensively. 

"Princeton is a good team," head coach Jeff Kampersal said. "They're really well coached, super fast, and have super good habits. I thought we started slow and need to approach our games better at home, I thought we had a great second period where we controlled a lot, we got the puck behind their defense's feet, and we were kind of working there."

Senior goalie, Hannah Ehresmann finished the game with 27 saves to spearhead the Penn State defense who dominated Tuesday's game. This Nittany Lion defense is one of the best in the country when it comes to making the important stops and plays.

"We're one of the better defensive teams in the country," Kampersal said. "We've given up power play goals and short-handed goals and the random open net, but with five on five we don't give up much."

The strong defense has two shutouts on the year, and has allowed just one goal in six other games this season.  

Penn State ended the game with a total of 23 shots and no goals, while Princeton had 30 shots and 3 goals. 

While the team was unable to find the back of the net, multiple players made up those 23 shots on goal.  Katie Rankin led the team with four shots, with Kelsey Crow and ChristI Vetter close behind with 3 each

"We don't generate enough offensively," Kampersal said on what his team needs to improve. "We don't make good enough decisions to give ourselves a chance to score some goals.".  

The Princeton game was a quick turnaround for the Nittany Lions.  The team had just returned home late Saturday night after a weekend series at Robert Morris University, and had to start preparing right away for the midweek matchup against the Tigers. This was the team's second mid-week game of the season, the first being a 1-1 game at Cornell University.

"I would say it's tough," Kampersal said on playing midweek. "It's odd for us to play on a Tuesday night, especially at 5 p.m. Those guys (Princeton) just got through exams, so we should've been the better team from the get-go." 

The Nittany Lions will be traveling to Erie, Pennsylvania, to play the Mercyhurst Lakers for a weekend series on February 9th and 10th. The puck will drop at 3 p.m. for the series opener. 

SAAB Hosts Third Annual Lip Sync Battle

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - As is tradition, Penn State's Student-Athlete Advisory Board hosted its third annual SAAB Lip Sync Battle to benefit THON at the HUB earlier this week.

A total of nine Nittany Lion teams put on a show in the Freeman Auditorium to benefit Penn State's annual 46-hour dance marathon, which kicks off February 16 in the Bryce Jordan Center.

Following a full slate of performances, a panel of esteemed guest judges featuring Penn State sports medicine's Dr. Roberta Millard, Mike Herr or better known around campus as, "Mike the Mailman" and Penn State cheerleader Francis Alvare made their selections.

Penn State's men's swimming team took home the golden microphone this year with their rendition of Flo Rida's "Low." Men's volleyball and women's volleyball finished second and third, respectively.

"We've been working on this since October," said SAAB THON chair Tess Kearns (track and field/cross country). "Teams started signing up right before winter break so that was a lot of fun seeing who was coming together and the acts they were doing."


By Briana Zuccarelli, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - When she was in first grade, Christi Vetter picked up a hockey stick for the first time. Now, in her senior season at Penn State, she has much to be proud of.

"In my 21 years of coaching, there are two other kids, and her, that are the three best shot blockers that I've seen from that wing position," head coach Jeff Kampersal said. "She's the type of player that can take care of herself and, at the same time, take care of her teammates."

Vetter began her recruiting process in the eighth grade, but said it was only because she was playing with an older group of girls.

"I eventually committed in the middle of my sophomore year," Vetter said. "It's something that I am so happy for. I had the opportunity to attend so many schools and meet so many different coaches and players."

Vetter had always known athletics was the way she wanted to go through schooling and that college was her 'pro hockey' at the time. Even from Lakeville, Minnesota, Vetter knew Penn State was something special.

"Penn State is known worldwide for its academic and athletic excellence," Vetter said. "When I was doing my recruiting process, I originally wanted to be a doctor so I knew I needed to find a school that could help me get there."

However, when Vetter arrived on campus and began her collegiate hockey career, it didn't go as she had planned. In her freshman season, Vetter slipped a disk in her back and continued to battle this injury through her sophomore year. Vetter recalled that her junior season was when she finally started to feel like herself again.

"I think the biggest thing for her (Vetter) has been health," Kampersal said. "But she's done an excellent job at staying healthy."

Teammates know that Vetter, who is experiencing her best season yet, is someone they can count on to get the job done.

"Vetter and I, we're kind of known as the PK killers together," freshman forward Natalie Heising said. "Whenever we are on the penalty kill, I feel really confident with Vetter out there. I know she's going to do her job and I'm going to do mine."

Heising continued to say that Vetter is always someone the team depends on, even when they are off the ice.

"In preseason, I remember the team was running in Holuba Hall and it's not fun for anybody," Heising said. "But Vetter was cheering everybody on and was being so encouraging. She always goes that extra step, even in the most difficult circumstances."

With a smile on his face, Kampersal explained that Vetter has the experience and confidence to use her voice in a positive way and help the younger players.

"I want to lead by example," Vetter added. "I want people to feel confident enough to talk to me about classroom stuff or if things are going wrong.  At the same time, when I'm on the ice, I'm going to give my teammates everything and do it to the best of my ability."

With nine games left in the season, Kampersal is hopeful that Vetter will add more goals to her season-high of six, and continue to lead the Nittany Lions, both on and off the ice.  


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