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By Tom Shively, GoPSUsports.com student staff writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa - Games at Pegula Ice Arena are few and far between for the Penn State women's hockey team in the first few weeks of the season. Only one of the first six series is on home ice, so the Nittany Lions are looking to take full advantage of a pair of home games this weekend against Boston University.
"Between the fans and the atmosphere, it's very nice playing at home," junior Irene Kiroplis said. "You're in your own facilities, you're familiar with the place, you have your fans and your fanbase. You have your support staff here that you see on a daily basis."
"Pegula is a top-notch facility," senior Amy Petersen said. "It's a special opportunity every time we get to play here."
"The opportunity to play at home is something we want to take advantage of, head coach Josh Brandwene said. We're in our routine, we're home, we're having our pregame meal here at home. We want to take advantage of the wonderful facility we have here. The game day atmosphere in Pegula Arena is as good as it gets."
Being at home also presents some time for players to settle into their routines more, not having to deal with the time spent traveling while on the road.
"Each person has their routine that they go through from game to game. It varies from person to person," Petersen said. "We try to keep the team stuff consistent while we're together, in our weight room, and then we break off. Some people tape their sticks in the stands, some people sit our here on the bench. Some just hang out in the lounge, maybe eat a snack. We play some soccer."
The home series this week also provided time for some of the players to get together earlier this week for a Canadian Thanksgiving celebration, something the team greatly cherished as a team-building opportunity.
"It was a lot of fun," Kiroplis said. "Me and a couple of the freshmen girls just put a little homemade dinner together and we decided that, since the Canadians don't get to go home for Thanksgiving, we make it a little more special and a little homier. We had a little get-together to be thankful for all we have here at Penn State."
"They're a special group of people," Brandwene said. "It brings a smile to my face that they support each other in that way. It's really cool."
On the ice, the Nittany Lions were able to get their offense going stronger in an 8-1 road victory on Friday at Union College.
"Offense is something we're continuing to work on," Brandwene said. "Puck support, puck movement, especially in the offensive. "We're continuing to develop and get continued offensive support."
Boston University represents a new challenge for the Nittany Lions as the teams split their two meetings last year in Boston.
"We had a great series with them last year up there," Brandwene said. "It's going to be an exciting brand of hockey played by both teams and I think it's going to be very entertaining for the fans."
Puck drop is set for 6:00 p.m. Friday in the series opener. Game two will begin at 2:00 p.m. Saturday.