BLOG: Young Duo Provides Chemistry, Spark to Nittany Lions
Oct. 24, 2013
By Jackson Thibodeau, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The on-ice chemistry between freshmen forwards Laura Bowman and Amy Petersen is undeniable. The Minnetonka, Minn., natives first met in preschool and have been connecting pucks with one another since they were just seven years old.
"You could say that we sense each other out there," said Bowman. "We have been playing with each other for so long that we have the same kind of plays and the same hockey sense of knowing where we both will be on the ice."
The tandem brings a remarkable level of chemistry and a standard of winning to Hockey Valley that was forged throughout their tremendously successful high school careers.
At Minnetonka High School, these skaters helped their team capture three consecutive Minnesota AA State Championship titles while earning spots in history as the school's all-time leading scorers.
Bowman led her high school team in scoring for three-straight seasons, garnering 221 career points (130 goals, 91 assists) and earning numerous All-State honors. Feeding several of those passes to Bowman was Petersen, who set a single-season point record her senior year and collected 188 career points (70 goals, 118 assists).
The line mates knew they both wanted to pursue an opportunity to play collegiately, but weren't sure if they necessarily wanted to attend the same school.
It was Petersen who first committed to play for the Blue and White, and just a few short weeks later, Bowman visited Penn State and realized that there was no place she'd rather play hockey.
"They are both here on their own individual merits and their own decision-making process," said head coach Josh Brandwene. "But we are the beneficiaries that they are here together."
The successes and expectations of this duo did not fizzle out upon receiving their high school diplomas, however.
In just six games competing at the collegiate level, they have already let their team and opposing goalies know that they are a dangerous scoring threat. Bowman has registered three goals on the season and Petersen has recorded three assists.
"It is incredible to see the way they play together," said senior assistant captain Jenna Welch. "They obviously have a lot of chemistry from playing together in the past, but the most important thing right now is that they are Penn Staters and they are a huge part of this team."
The line mates and lifelong friends have already connected twice this season on scoring plays. The first came on the opening weekend of the season when Bowman fired one into the back of the net en route to a 4-2 victory over Vermont, which was the team's first win of the season.
Last weekend, the duo displayed the clutch factor that their chemistry can bring.
Late in the third period of Saturday's game against Union, Petersen sent a crossing pass that bounced off the boards to sophomore Jeanette Bateman. Bateman then fired a shot that was deflected, but Bowman was there to secure the puck and send the game-winner into the cage.
"They certainly have great chemistry and that's sort of been a life-long thing for them," Brandwene said. "You can see it in their puck movement and in the odd rushes they are creating...it's a great thing."
Saturday's 2-1 victory over the Dutchwomen was not only the first win at Pegula Ice Arena for the Nittany Lions, but it was the first time that this pair of freshman heard their names announced as starters.
On that starting line with Bowman and Petersen was Welch, whose veteran leadership and experience has helped the freshmen execute on offense.
"Jenna's experience really helps us out," Petersen said. "She really helps us communicate out on the ice and always lets us know where she is so that we can create as a unit."
The Minnesota natives have noticed different styles of play while adjusting to this new level of competition. Having played with mostly the same teammates all throughout youth and high school leagues, there wasn't much variety in terms of the playing style of teammates or competitors. Now, on a team that consists of student-athletes from all across the country, this change is something that they are getting accustomed to together.
"They've done a great job adjusting so far," Welch said. "Honestly, you can't even tell that they're freshmen."
The young tandem will look to continue their early string of offensive successes this weekend as the Nittany Lions host New Hampshire on Saturday at 7 p.m. and again on Sunday at 2 p.m.