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By Jack Milewski, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - As every sports season wears on, the pressure of each game increases. With roughly two-thirds of the regular season already in the books, each game has an increased meaning to it for the Penn State women's hockey team.

Pressure can do interesting things to a team. Usually it has one of two effects, it can either break a team down, or make them stronger. Based on how this Penn State team has handled challenge and adversity, the pressure is making them stronger. If you ask the team they will all say that they thrive in pressure packed situations. Junior forward Laura Bowman says that she has noticed a huge changed in her abilities to perform under pressure from the time she first arrived in Happy Valley until now.

"My comfort has definitely increased there is no doubt about that," said Bowman. "A lot of the time in close games my freshman year I would try and do too much, but now I know that doing my job right is the best thing I can possibly do for the team."

It is always key for the leaders on a team to show poise in tense situations. For the Nittany Lions, this stretch run with eight of their next 10 games being played at home will be one where they need that poise. With the remaining games on the schedule being in conference, the excitement and pressure are ratcheted up that much more says Head Coach Josh Brandwene. 

"You always want the intensity to start peaking at this time of the year," said Brandwene. "You can see it in their preparation and their excitement to be home and these should be great battles coming down the stretch."

The stretch run is the time when the games start to mean more and with added meaning comes added pressure. But as Bowman mentioned, the Penn State Nittany Lions thrive under pressure. They have been in numerous games this season that have been decided by one goal and they have two one goal wins in their last three games. Assistant coach and director of operations Alex Dawes says that he has noticed success from this team in those close games and that those situations have almost become a comfort zone for the Nittany Lions.

"I think I've really noticed that since I've started working here that a lot of games are one goal games," said Dawes. "I think that the kids thrive on the pressure a little bit. It's always fun to play in those one goal games, it makes winning that much sweeter for us." 

Brandwene says he also notices that same mentality from the team where they enjoy playing in the tightly contested games and they don't shy away from the big moments.

"It's all a credit to this team's togetherness and competitiveness," said Brandwene. "They just love to compete and play and their togetherness in those moments is something that helps fuel them as well."

The Nittany Lions have a great balance of youth and experience and Brandwene pointed to some key players who really step up in the pressure situations.

"You have to look at players like Laura Bowman and Amy Petersen," said Brandwene. "Petersen always loves the big moments and she wants the puck on her stick at the end of the game, she's been like that her whole career." 

With the amount of one goal games that the Nittany Lions have played, the team feels ready for the home stretch of the season leading into the playoffs. Bowman feels that all of the close games that they have played so far this season have them suited perfectly for a solid run here to end the 2016 slate.

"Moving forward late into the season and the playoffs those are always close games," said Bowman. "I feel like our team is more than ready to take on those types of games and we won't crumble under that pressure because we have been there before and know what it feels like. In the end we just have to keep playing our game and keeping it simple is the most important thing in these tight games."

The Nittany Lions head back out on to the Pegula Ice for the first time since November this coming Friday and Saturday against Robert Morris University. Puck drop for game one is slated for 7 p.m. while game two is a 2 p.m. matinee start. 


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By Jack MilewskiGoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer   
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Long breaks are a part of every sports team's season. In college athletics, the breaks can be even longer for athletes due to the fact that winter and summer breaks encompass a large portion of time during either the spring/fall seasons or fall/winter seasons. For the Penn State women's hockey team, they enjoyed a month long break between their last game of 2015 and their first game of 2016. The team then split the opening 2016 series with Ohio State, playing two quality games on the road before starting conference play again this weekend at RIT.

"We are really confident right now, really excited to get back to league play," said Brandwene. "Again the defensive effort and the grit in front of the net and we also had a really nice power play goal on Sunday also, there is a lot to look forward to."

Before the Ohio State series, the Penn State team enjoyed a break of almost a month, ending its 2015 portion of the season with a trip to Princeton. The end of the year grind did not stop there for the Nittany Lions. If anything, it only intensified. With finals almost immediately after the series, the squad was back to the grindstone in a different way.

"They had final exams after that last series and obviously that is the singular focus at the end of the semester," said Brandwene.

It is well documented that this Penn State team works just as hard off the ice as they do on the ice and Brandwene said that the preparation for finals was no different. After finals, the Nittany Lion's finally got a much needed break after a grueling stretch of eight straight road games. Brandwene explained that during the break the players were given time to go home and visit with their families. After that hiatus they came back to Penn State ready to work in preparation for the Ohio State series.

"They had some time to spend with their families," said Brandwene. "Then after that we had what we call minicamp. It's about four or five days of practice before we headed out to Ohio State."

Freshman Hannah England experienced her first winter break on the division one hockey squad and said that it was simply a great way to keep her mind off the game and see family for a few days before returning to the grind that is the regular season.

"We didn't get much of a break so it was more of a mental flush and relaxation time before we get ready for the next half of the season," said England.

Brandwene said that there is an element of staying in shape and keeping up with conditioning during the break, but so much of the sport is muscle memory that it also didn't need to be practiceheavy. That is also what the minicamp is for, to get the players back into a hockey mindset and out of that relaxation mode.

A long break can either hurt a team or help them. It is very rare in sports that a team stays stagnant after a break for that long. For England, she took the pensive approach to the break, saying that she thought it helped to just sit back and reflect on the quality of the teams play.

"I think it helps because it gives us some time off to think about what we just accomplished as a team," said England. "So in that regard I think that the break really helps."

Now, after a series in Ohio State and another week off, the Penn State women's team will get back to their regular weekly series. A road trip to RIT awaits the anxious Nittany Lions who agree that they are coming off one of their better series of the season with a lot to build on.

"I think it's mostly about finishing for us," said junior Kelly Seward. "Whether it is finishing goals or finishing our back checks we just want to work hard with everything we do."

After the road trip Penn State has four straight series at home, it will mark the first home games that Penn State has played since November sixth and seventh.

"I think it's pretty exciting, being home is always good," said Seward. "It's nice to be in this rink and have all our facilities here as well, it just makes it a lot easier for us."

Puck drop against RIT is set for 7:00 p.m. on Friday with the second game of the series set for an afternoon start at 3:00 p.m. on Saturday.

 

 

 

 

 

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By Jack Milewski, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer    
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Penn State Nittany Lion women's hockey team finds themselves at this point in league play, just one point behind the pace that the team set last year. Much like last year, the team feels like they are poised for a second half surge. With finals week quickly approaching, the team has one non-conference series against Princeton before they have a few weeks rest for winter break. However, as college students, the team must also deal with the added pressure of final exams and school work for the duration of their season. For the women's hockey team, embodying the student-athlete mentality is a big part of their culture and one they not only pride themselves in, but also excel at.

When many people watch collegiate athletics, all they see is what happens on the field, court, ice etc. However, some of the hardest work that these athletes do is as students in the classrooms. Penn State women's hockey team placed 22 players on the CHA All-Academic Team. This number was the highest in the conference, and the Nittany Lions were one of just two teams to place 20-plus student athletes as honorees. This year's Penn State hockey team is no different as once again the Nittany Lions are excelling in the classroom.

"This is such a motivated group," said Brandwene. "They are motivated in everything that they do and academics is no different. They do homework on the road and we don't even have to do mandatory study hall because they take care of the work themselves."

 "You will see them working on the bus, you will see players studying during down time at the hotel, it makes it easy to manage them academically."

The team boasts a 3.35 cumulative GPA and also a perfect Academic Progress Rate,  which is a multi-year measurement of student-athlete academic progress. The women's hockey program received The NCAA's Public Recognition Award which is bestowed on teams with an NCAA Division I Academic Progress Rate in the top 10 percent of all squads in their respective sport.

With finals week quickly approaching, academics are of primary importance to all Penn State students, including the women's hockey team. Although they have a road trip coming up, right before finals week, Brandwene says the teams focus on academics remains the same. He also stated that he isn't too worried about the team's ability to perform in the class room during finals week because of their motivation in that area.

"Because they are so motivated you know that they are always going to put in the work they need to when it comes to that area," said Brandwene. "I remind them, academics are first but when you get inside the glass use that as your sanctuary."

As the team has leaders on the ice, they also have leaders in the classroom.

"For them its leadership by example because of the hard work they put in," said Brandwene. "You can look at someone like Sarah Wilkie who just crushes it in the classroom, her preparation is second to none and she is very motivated."

The balance between school and sports can be very demanding, but the Penn State women's hockey team is very adept at focusing on the task at hand.

"It is tough at times, but overall I think we do a good job of focusing on hockey or school when we need to," said Paige Jahnke.

The Nittany Lions will have 120 competitive minutes inside the glass before finals week and the team is hoping that their trip to Princeton will provide themselves with a boost before finals week. Puck drop is set for 7:00 p.m. on Friday night in Princeton. 

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By Jack Milewski, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The game of hockey is played on a sheet of ice that is less than one inch thick. This ice is chilled to 16 degrees Fahrenheit for optimal play and performance for the athletes. Needless to say, the various components that make up hockey lend the sport to be known of as more of a northern commodity. The south does not boast the number of teams, youth leagues, athletes, fans, you name it. Northern States are simply better known for all these things when it comes to the sport of hockey. However, for Hannah Bramm of the Penn State Nittany Lions, her sport, even in the sunny state of Florida, was always hockey.

Bramm was born in 1994 in Tampa, Florida. Her start in the sport of hockey was possibly more an accident than anything else. Bramm says that her brother was watching Olympic figure skating one day and he got the idea to try it out for himself. Bramm joined with him but she said the figure skating aspect didn't last long.

"We kind of tried to copy what we saw on TV," said Bramm. "That lasted for about two weeks and then after that it turned into hockey and didn't change."

Bramm started her hockey career down in Florida, playing as a "mites" or a young kid on some youth teams. Despite the fact that Florida may not be known for its hockey prowess, Bramm still excelled in everything she did on the ice. One of the biggest impacts hockey wise, for Bramm and Florida in general, was the Tampa Bay Lightning. After their Stanley Cup victory in 2004, the sport of hockey suddenly had a new relevance in the state of Florida.

"Oh yea the Lightning definitely had an impact on me and I think they are still making an impact," said Bramm. "I went to a game over Thanksgiving break and the place was sold out and very energetic."

Bramm was a season ticket holder as a kid and because of that was able to attend many Lightning games, something she also said contributed to her love of hockey.

"I was always going to games as a kid," said Bramm. "Watching [The Lightning] just made you want to play more. You could also kind of tell in the community that the [Stanley Cup] win made a difference because there were more kids in Lightning jerseys and just more buzz around Tampa as a whole."

Even though the buzz from the Lightning win certainly spurned a hockey movement in Florida, Bramm still moved north to continue her hockey career. She attended boarding school at the North American Hockey Academy where she played with fellow Nittany Lion Shannon Yoxheimer.  After graduation Bramm went to Minnesota-Duluth to start her collegiate career.

"Well there aren't really any well-known hockey colleges in Florida," said Bramm. "So that was my main reason to choose Duluth and move north because of the fact that there are better hockey programs, so that made the decision to leave home a lot easier."

After spending her first two collegiate seasons at Minnesota-Duluth, Bramm transferred to Penn State to once again rejoin Yoxheimer.

"When I made the move from Duluth I was just looking for a good school to go to and one that had a competitive hockey team," said Bramm. "I already knew Shannon on the team so my first visit was just kind of to see how everything worked here, but right when I got on campus I knew that I had to come to Penn State."

Now in her second season as a Nittany Lion, Bramm may be finding her grove as she has tallied goals in the past two games, giving her three on the season.

 "It's definitely nice to have the puck start to go in for me," said Bramm. "But I think that in general we've just been able to score more goals as a team over the past couple weeks."

"Hannah is a hard-working, complete player. She's gifted offensively, kills penalties, blocks shots, and is a physical presence for us. I'm grateful for her dedication to our program," said Penn State head coach Josh Brandwene. 

Bramm is tied for fifth on the team in scoring, but just like the Nittany Lions as a whole have started to get the bounces, Bramm has as well.

The team will face off against Syracuse this coming Friday, December 4th. Puck drop is set for 7:00 p.m. in Syracuse N.Y.

 

 

 

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By Jack Milewski, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - There is, perhaps, no feat more exciting in hockey than a hat trick. It is, not incredibly rare, but certainly hard to come by. It is even more hard to come by in the world of collegiate hockey, simply due to the fact that teams don't play nearly as many games as NHL teams do. This past weekend, senior forward Micayla Catanzariti recorded just the third hat trick in Nittany Lions program history, to lead the team to their first conference win.

Catanzariti is one of the many Nittany Lions on the team this year that have been with the program for the four years of its existence. Catanzariti's style of play lends it more to a grinder's mentality, though she possesses a complete arsenal of tools. Her scoring touch was on display Saturday, as it has been all season long. She is second on the team, behind Laura Bowman, with four goals. Despite the fantastic individual effort, Catanzariti was quick to deflect the praise towards her line mates.

"Obviously it was nice to get the hat trick," said Catanzariti. "A lot of it was my line mates though and most of the plays I just found myself in the right spot at the right time."

Not only did Catanzariti record the hat trick, but as a player her scoring prowess has increased this season. She has already doubled her goal output from last season and tied her point total, with still more than half of the season to go. Catanzariti is also scoring at an impressive rate. She has put in one puck, for every three shots she has taken.

"I honestly didn't even know I was shooting at that number," said Catanzariti. "I guess I don't typically take a lot of shots in general but as far as continuing with that pace I'm focused on doing what I'm doing and what I can do."

Catanzariti was also quick to say, that although a hat trick is a cool accomplishment, the focus for her is still on winning games.

"I mean it's pretty cool, but the biggest thing is that we won the game and again, a lot of it was the people I was playing with," said Catanzariti. "It was a full team effort."

Coach Josh Brandwene, who was once again very pleased with the overall effort of the team, said he felt like it was a case of simply getting more bounces to go the way of the Nittany Lions. As far as Catanzariti's performance was concerned, Brandwene was quick to praise the totality of her game and not just the scoring aspect.

"In addition to the goal production from Micayla, her totality of her game on Saturday was outstanding," said Brandwene. "[She did] an outstanding job defensively without the puck in our end, a terrific job on the fore-check in their end and a tremendous job on the penalty kill. To me it's about celebrating the complete game and she had that on Saturday."

Catanzariti's increased play as a goal scorer this season, coupled with her well rounded abilities add yet another dimension to the Nittany Lions point producers and compliments the rest of the teams depth well. The team will head back on the road Monday where they will face St. Lawrence University. The first out of conference game will begin at 7:00 p.m., followed by a 4:00 p.m. puck drop the next day. 

By Jack Milewski, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - There's no place like home. However, for the Nittany Lions women's hockey team, home is a long way away. Starting this weekend, the Nittany Lions embark on a 12-game road swing that will take them from Robert Morris, to Syracuse to Ohio State and everywhere in between. The team will not take the ice at Pegula again until January 22, 2016.

Going on the road is something that every team has to do during the course of a season, but not many teams have to deal with the sustained length of a road trip that the Nittany Lions do right now.


If you ask any athlete, he or she will most likely tell you that they like playing at home better than on the road. It is easier, it is familiar and most importantly they get to play in front of the home crowd. However, going on the road can also be a great experience. It changes things up, can help with team bonding due to the amount of time the team spends together and the ability to win on the road is something that separates the good teams from the great. The Penn State women's team is no different; they enjoy the road trips, largely in part because it provides a change of scenery for the team.

 

"It's a nice change up," said Laura Bowman. "Our team likes to change things up; we don't like to do the same thing over and over again. We just had a home series so it's nice to get on the road now and we always have fun as a team on these kinds of trips."

 

As mentioned before, the team's road trip is a 12-game swing that doesn't bring the team home game until mid-January. Still, despite the length of the trip, the longevity doesn't bother the Lions.

 

"I think it would definitely be nice to have a few home games sprinkled in, but we have to go on the road at some point and we are always up for the challenge," said Bowman.

 

The good thing about many of these trips for the team is that they are all fairly close to home; the furthest the team has to travel is a Midwest swing to Ohio State. Other than that, all of the games will take place in Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey. This helps to cut down player fatigue, as does the travel schedule, which has the Nittany Lions arriving at each university a day in advance.

 

"We always show up a day ahead of time so we have a chance to get our feet back under us, because travel can make you a little groggy," said Amy Petersen. "We usually don't travel that far and if we do, we fly like we did to Lindenwood. It's kind of tolling, but we make it work and it's our job as a student-athlete."

 

Not only are road trips a chance for a team to showcase their ability to persevere in a tough environment, it brings the opportunity for team bonding. It is well documented that this Nittany Lion team is as cohesive a unit as there is out there and head coach Josh Brandwene has continuously said that they all get along like family.

 

"They love spending time together," said Brandwene. "So honestly, that makes all of our road trips very easy. The team has a collective great sense of humor and we love every aspect of these trips."

 

While players sometimes have unique routines before a game, the team's routine on the road generally stays the same. Coach Brandwene said they eat all meals together, have a pregame skate and prep for the game that day.

 

For a team that has many times been characterized as a family, Brandwene says that each road trip is a chance to become even closer as a unit.

 

"Having the opportunity to spend that time together as a family, in a different environment is always a great opportunity for us," said Brandwene.

 

The team will have plenty of time to spend together as the road trip kicks off this Friday against Robert Morris. The Colonials are currently 3-1 in conference play and should provide an early test for the Nittany Lions.  However, as it always is with the Brandwene coached team, the focus remains solely on what Penn State can control, themselves.

 

"Our focus is on us," said Brandwene. "We're focused on our game plan and doing what we need to do to improve and grow as a hockey team."

 

Puck drop is set for 7:05 p.m. on Friday, followed by a 3:05 p.m. start time the day after. 

 

 

 

By Jack Milewski, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer 
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Sometimes a lot can go right for a team except for the outcome.

 

The Penn State Nittany Lions's women's hockey team had a lot go right for them this weekend against the Mercyhurst Lakers. Despite what showed up on the scoreboard, the Nittany Lions competed for three periods on both Friday and Saturday. Consistency was the name of the game for the girls and could become a possible team identity. The team is at their best when they are consistent in all three zones, and Head Coach Josh Brandwene was quick to point that out.

"That was one of the best, if not the best consistent effort that this team has produced in their four year history," said Brandwene after Saturday's 1-1 overtime tie. "Just a really great consistency and an outstanding job sticking to the game plan today. That was a playoff atmosphere and that what's it all about."

The Nittany Lions were the better team for long stretches of Saturday's game, controlling all three zones of the ice with the consistency that Brandwene mentioned. Despite the frustration of the last couple games, Brandwene says that the team's consistency and overall play are right where they need to be if the team is going to succeed.

"Keep doing what we're doing," said Brandwene. We played really well today, got a lot of scoring chances and (I) loved the intensity."

Work ethic is often the best indication of how a team does in a game, and Shannon Yoxheimer passed the work ethic test with flying colors, scoring Penn State's only goal and also providing multiple quality scoring chances for her team.

"Great job by Shannon today, just leading by example and playing hard," said Brandwene. "She really sets the tone as a power forward, using her feet and putting pucks on net, it was great to see her finally get rewarded."

And while many scoring chances went unrewarded on the weekend for the Nittany, Coach Brandwene is both pleased with the progress and confident in the team's scorers.

"We had tons of scoring chances," said Brandwene. "We had tons of pucks bounce over the net, pucks laying on the goal line and all kinds of tough breaks. You're going to have that in the course of a hockey season, we just happened to have it all at the same time right now. I've told our team, you keep working hard, you stick to the game plan, and breaks will start going your way."

Consistency seems to now be the name of the game for the Nittany Lions, and they were as consistent as they come this weekend, playing, as Brandwene said, some of their best hockey in a long time. The bounces may not be going their way, but if they continue to work hard and play consistently, good fortune will come for the Penn State women's team. 

By Jack Milewski, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Four years ago, the Penn State women's hockey program was born. In the years of the team's existence, they have steadily climbed the ranks of college hockey and garnered more and more attention as each season passes. Four years ago as well, senior Jill Holdcroft had just made the decision to go to Penn State, largely because of the fact that the team had just implemented the hockey program.

Holdcroft was born in Pennsylvania Furnace, Pennsylvania, just a hop, skip and a jump from State College. Living only 20 minutes down the road, Penn State had always been a consideration for Holdcroft as to the college she wanted to attend. However, she was also a prominent high school hockey player, playing for the Pittsburgh Penguins Elitie Tier 1 AAA girls team and also playing two years for the State College High boys team, and at the time Penn State's lack of a hockey program made it a tougher decision. When Holdcroft learned that Penn State was starting a program and actively recruiting her, the decision was a no brainer.

"Penn State was always in the back of my head," said Holdcroft. "I really liked the school and as soon as they decided to have a Division I team it was kind of no comparison and I wanted to come here right away."

Holdcroft is one of the founding members of the Penn State women's hockey team, in the sense that she has been with the team from the beginning. Coach Josh Brandwene has also been with the team from the beginning and he understands just how important players like Holdcroft are to building a successful program.

"This senior class, they are pioneers," said Brandwene. "They wanted to be a part of something bigger than themselves and that's really Penn State at its core."

In her first season on the team, Holdcroft had 10 goals, second on the Nittany Lions team. However she has proved a versatile member of the team for all four years she has been here, stepping into any role she is assigned and flourishing in it.

"I not only remember her first couple years here, I remember so many details about her in the recruiting process and her willingness to improve through that," said Brandwene. "It's no secret that she is one of the most coachable players and it's a credit to her work ethic and her personality. To see her flourish as a hometown kid done good is awesome."

That work ethic shows in Holdcroft's style of play as she is constantly one of the fastest moving, hardest working Nittany Lions on the ice. This season she has been teamed up primarily with Amy Petersen and Laura Bowman. Holdcroft says she just tries to create space for her two linemates and she feels like her job is to go to the net and create traffic in front.

"I do like to get in front of the net when they are shooting just to create problems for the goalie," said Holdcroft. "In general I would definitely say that my style of play is grinding it out."

Now in her final year with the program, Holdcroft expects even better things than last year for the Nittany Lions. That outcome would be consistent with the trend that the team has followed every year so far, as they have steadily improved as a program in each of their four years.

"We have grown tremendously as a program in all four years," said Holdcroft. "Just from where we were, in the rink that I grew up in in Greenberg to coming to Penn State it's just been fun to watch the Nittany Lion hockey culture grow." "It hasn't always been easy but it's been a lot of fun and you can just look back on it as a senior and think of what an amazing journey it has been."

The Nittany Lion's journey will continue this weekend at home in Pegula Ice Arena as they take on conference foe Mercyhurst. The first game is set for a 7pm puck drop on Friday night and game two will be at 2pm on Saturday. 

By Jack Milewski, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -
 Every sport has had their share of bloodlines that have entered and exited their respective ranks. In no sport is the family tradition deeper than in the sport of hockey. Whether you are talking about the Sutter's, Howe's or Hull's, hockey boasts a lucrative history of families who have graced the sport with skill for years on end. The Penn State women's hockey team is mixed into this discussion now thanks to one of the team's freshman standouts, Victoria Samuelsson.  

 

Samuelsson was born in Falun, Sweden, in 1996. From birth, Samuelsson was already part of a hockey family. Her father, Ulf, played 15 seasons in the National Hockey League (NHL). He is now currently the assistant coach of the New York Rangers. Samuelsson also has three brothers, Philip, Henrik and Adam. All three, like Victoria, have excelled in their respective ranks of hockey. Philip, the oldest was drafted by the Pittsburgh Penguins and is currently playing in Wilkes-Barre Scranton. Henrik was taken 27th overall in the 2012 draft by the Phoenix Coyotes and is currently playing for the Portland Pirates. Adam is still only 15, but is also a standout hockey player.  

Growing up in a family that is as supremely talented as the Samuelsson's did nothing but aid Victoria in her hockey career. She said that since a young age she would do everything hockey related with her brothers. "I always used to play hockey with all of my brothers and they were really the ones who led me into hockey," said Samuelsson. "They have helped me all the way and helped me become the player I am now. We train together over the summers and there is a lot of friendly competition."

With Samuelsson's family, she has a plethora of resources to learn from and she says that she picks the brains of all of her family members when it comes to hockey, especially her father, Ulf. "I've learned everything from him and even my brothers as well," said Samuelsson. "He always gives me pointers and that is really helpful."

So far this season, Samuelsson has been a big part of the Nittany Lion's team. As a freshman she has seen consistent time on the ice in all facets of the game, including time on the second power play unit. Samuelsson has a unique combination of size, skill and speed that Head Coach Josh Brandwene likes. "She's smart, savvy, and very crafty with the puck and at the same time is a really big physical presence for us on the ice," said Brandwene.

Senior Shannon Yoxheimer, one of the team's captains, has played multiple series with Samuelsson as her linemate and shares Brandwene's sentiment that she is a special player. "She's a good line mate," said Yoxheimer. "She's very strong on the ice. She has good speed, a great shot and I think the biggest thing is that she sees the passing lanes really well so it's really nice to play with someone who sees the ice that well and is able to move the puck to the right spots.

There is no doubt that Samuelsson's upbringing into a hockey family has definitely contributed to her excelling with the sport at a high level, but Brandwene also believes that Samuelsson should get a ton of credit for the way that she has produced in her hockey career. "I think the hard work and what she continues to accomplish is a credit to her," said Brandwene. "I think the benefit that she has had is just being surrounded by such a bright hockey family. You can see that in her hockey IQ and her understanding of the game. So it's a combination of being surrounded by a hockey family and her hard work."

Samuelsson's hard work has put her in a position to play an intricate role in the Nittany Lions' success for years to come. If her first games in a Penn State uniform and the praise of her peers are any indication, she certainly has a bright future in Happy Valley. Penn State continues its season with a matchup against Lindenwood this Friday and Saturday. Puck drop is set for 7 p.m. (CDT) both nights.

 

By Jack Milewski, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Every season is a process made up of multiple outcomes. The outcomes during this time are usually based on the effort put into the process. The two work hand in hand as driving factors for every team. While outcomes are usually what fans focus on, sometimes the process is a better indication of where a team is at in terms of quality of play.

Over the weekend, Penn State lost two tough games to the University of Connecticut Huskies. The first game was a fantastic showing by the team, as they dominated play for large portions of the night and peppered the UConn netminders with shots. However, the outcome at the end of the night did not favor the Nittany Lions. Still, head coach Josh Brandwene is all about growth and the process of improvement from his team.

"They had a great game, pucks just didn't fall into the back of the net," said Brandwene. "We focused on process and I thought our process was very good."

In sports, the best team does not always win the game and one could certainly look to the game Saturday as one of those cases.

Sunday proved to be a more lucrative game for the Nittany Lions, at least in terms of scoring. The team netted three goals, one by Amy Petersen, one by Jordan Pardoski and one by standout freshman Hannah England. The women's hockey team used one of their biggest assets, speed, to their advantage in the game and swarmed the UConn Huskies for a majority of the afternoon.

"I think there was very good consistency in our footwork today and I also think there was tremendous consistency in where we needed to poses the puck in the offensive zone, I'm very happy with the growth in both of those areas," said Brandwene.

The Nittany Lions had the lead for most of the game but ended up falling to the Huskies 4-3 in what was another hard fought game. Again, though the outcome may not dictate it, the process showed that the Nittany Lions played strong hockey for both games in the series, something that was not lost on Coach Brandwene.

"They played really well both days. They strung together two really good games back to back," said Brandwene.

The season is a process, and a process that has just started for this Nittany Lions team. However, already early on, they have faced tough opponents, won some hard fought games and also faced their fair share of adversity. All of these things are key components in team growth, which is and will remain a key focal point for this team. With 26 games remaining, the Penn State women's hockey team has more than enough time left to continue the process of growth, which will in turn produce the desired outcome.

"Every team faces adversity during the year," said Brandwene. "No team goes through a hockey season without facing adversity. This is an incredibly resilient bunch and they will deal with the adversity and move forward from it."

The Nittany Lions will look to continue their season long process on the road against conference foe Lindenwood. The last time the Nittany Lions squared off against the Lions, the Nittany Lions won their first College Hockey America postseason series in program history. The team will look to continue their winning ways with puck drop of the first game slated for Friday, October 30 at 7pm. 

@GOPSUSPORTS

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