Hannah Ehresmann is probably one of the few 18-year-old college freshmen to shudder when she hears Taylor Swift’s hugely popular song, “Shake It Off.”
Each time the Penn State women’s hockey goalie let’s a puck fly into her net during a game, the song blares from the Pegula Ice Arena’s loudspeakers.
“We know they play it and it’s kind of frustrating for us,” she said. “Kinda don’t like it outside (of games).”
In her first year in the program, Ehresmann has stepped into a major role.
With 253 saves against 46 goals allowed on the season so far, she has proven her worth to the Nittany Lions (10-7-3), who carry a winning record into the new year for the first time in their third season as a Division I program.
“She’s a hard-working student, hard-working athlete. She has just fit in beautifully from day one and is doing a tremendous job in goal for us,” head coach Josh Brandwene said.
Off for the holiday break, Penn State returns to the ice Jan. 3, starting a two-game series hosting Ohio State at Pegula Ice Arena.
At 5-foot-8, Ehresmann fills the net upon donning her goalie gear. Still, her long, blonde ponytail dangles from under her helmet, falling just above the number 1 on her jersey.
Off the ice, she is soft-spoken, but her teammates describe her as “goofy.”
Though she won’t declare a major until her sophomore year, Ehresmann is leaning toward accounting. As a freshman student-athlete, she reports for mandatory study hall hours, which she said have proven to be immensely helpful.
“Then you have a place you know you can study and get your work in,” she said.
Academics played a major role in her decision to venture from her hometown in Minnetonka, Minn., to Happy Valley. The fact that Penn State is in the Big Ten also helped.
However, the Nittany Lions had a unique edge over other schools for her. Two former Minnetonka High School teammates, sophomores Amy Petersen and Laura Bowman, were already thriving on the team. The bond helped Penn State win the recruiting battle.
“It’s always nice since we’re so far from home to have people you know here to help show you the ropes,” she said.
Their bond was molded after years of friendship on and off the ice. “I don’t think you can get any closer than we already were,” Bowman said.
Ehresmann’s journey to Hockey Valley began with her mother, Jane, who played in a women’s hockey league and encouraged her daughter to play as well.
That interest lasted throughout high school, where Ehresmann was a member of two state high school championship teams. A captain in her senior year, she has brought the same mentality to her college career.
“I just try to work hard every day to get better,” Ehresmann said.