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PSU Women’s Ice Hockey to open 2010-11 campaign

Panthers begin new era in Hanaway Rink

            PLYMOUTH, N.H. – A new era begins for the Plymouth State University women’s ice hockey program this season as the Panthers play their home games in the beautiful new Hanaway Rink.

            The Panthers will actually begin the season on the road, opening up this Saturday, Nov. 6, at 4:00 p.m. with an Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Women’s East Conference game at the University of Southern Maine.  PSU will return home for an ECAC East weekend on Nov. 12-13, hosting Norwich University on Friday at 7:00 p.m. and Saint Michael’s College Saturday at 4:00 p.m.

  Head Coach Darcy Corson

            The new home for the Panthers is Hanaway Rink, the centerpiece of the new on-campus PSU Ice Arena and Savage Welcome Center.  A capacity crowd is expected for the opening game against Norwich in the 860-seat arena, including 400 free tickets for PSU students.

            A highlight to this year’s schedule is the participation in the Castleton Invitational Tournament in Vermont in January 2011.  PSU will meet Potsdam State in an opening round on Jan. 7, with Castleton meeting Buffalo State in the other game; the consolation and championship games are Jan. 8.

            The top eight teams in the ECAC East will advance to the conference tournament the first week in March, with the champion receiving an automatic berth into the NCAA Division III Tournament.

            The Panthers are now in their fifth season as a varsity sport and fourth year in the ECAC Women’s East Conference.

2010-11 PSU Women’s Ice Hockey Outlook

            Head Coach Darcy Corson is now in her second season with the Panthers, and she is determined to turn the program around.  She put an emphasis on recruiting last winter, and that has resulted in as many as 20 newcomers to this year’s team.  Coach Corson is excited about the progress of the program.

            “We have a whole heck of a lot more depth than we’ve had in the past,” says Corson.  “We have kids who are more skilled and have more hockey sense, kids who have played at a higher level and played in winning programs.”

             The Panthers also have more than a half dozen returning veterans who will help lead the way, according to Corson, which will be necessary since the team is so young.

            “Right now we have a young group that is very enthusiastic,” says Corson, “and who have brought a new energy to the program.  We’re also very excited to play in our new arena, and have our fans be able to join us.  There’s a lot of excitement around the program.”

            Corson says the team should be improved defensively, with an entirely new unit of blue-liners and a new starting goalie.  Freshman Ali Ponte (Richmond Hill, Ontario) has taken over as the No. 1 goalie and looks to make an impact.  Junior Nicole Provencher (Guilford, Conn.) returns as a solid reserve and is joined by two other freshmen, Nicole Crandle (Bristol, Conn.) and Brianna Jackson (Danvers, Mass.), to give PSU depth between the pipes.

            “Ali gives us a solid No. 1, and the others have all been working hard and are not far behind,” says Corson.

            With no returning defensemen, PSU will look to the newcomers to keep opponents at bay.  Freshmen Brittany Oliver (Bobcaygeon, Ontario), Tasha Wyatt (Minturn, Colo.), and Stephanie Newmark (Reading, Mass.) have been most impressive in preseason and should lead the way. Classmates Jessica Matson (East Hartland, Conn.), Carrie Baruch (Coventry, R.I.) and Claire Ficaro (Manchester, N.H.) will also be in the mix along the Panther blue line.

            Juniors Bri Davis (Framingham, Mass.) and Tina Worley (Anchorage, Alaska) were the team’s two leading scorers last season and they are expected to be solid offensive contributors again this year.  Davis could be joined by freshmen Rebecca Fogg (White River Junction, Vt.) and Allison Collins (Murrieta, Calif.) to form what Corson hopes will be a potent top line.

            Other freshmen who Corson says should see playing time and contribute to the offense include Kelsey Maguire (Swampscott, Mass.), Meghan Cassidy (Somerville, N.J.), Ali Myers (Sammamish, Wash.), Katie Landry (Agawam, Mass.) and Jane Baruch (Coventry, R.I.)

            “We’ve been working hard, and we’re expecting to put an improved product on the ice,” says Corson.  “We’re looking forward to showcasing the new players and the new team, and we’re aiming for the most competitive season in the program’s history.” 

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