Having assembled an exceptional body of work, emerging as one of the most accomplished skaters in the nascent history of Penn State women’s ice hockey, Laura Bowman was an offensive catalyst determined to propel the program to greater heights. Undoubtedly one of the most accomplished players to have donned the Penn State colors, Bowman’s consistency allowed the program to boast one of its first true superstars, highlighted by reaching the century club in career points.
One of four players on the Nittany Lions roster raised in Minnetonka, Minnesota, Bowman was also among 10 players on the roster that grew up in the State of Hockey. Linemate Amy Petersen holds a unique connection to Bowman in the fact that both were teammates on Minnetonka High School, capturing four consecutive Lake Conference titles while capturing three Minnesota High School AA championships, respectively.
Posting double-digits in goals scored during each of her seasons with the Nittany Lions, it stands as one of Bowman’s finest achievements. Complementing this productivity is the fact that every season consisted of at least one power play goal and one game-winning goal, finishing her proud career with 14 scored on the power play and 10 game-winners, respectively.
Heading into her senior season, Bowman definitely had a strong run of momentum. Following an impressive 2015-16 season, highlighted by 25 points and a team-best 427 faceoff wins, she also appeared in her 100th career game. Fittingly, this season, Bowman would gain the biggest milestones of her season. From the outset, she was recognized as team captain, testament to her solid work ethic both on and off the ice, simultaneously providing a strong point of pride.
“Being the Penn State captain was an amazing honor. I am grateful that I was given the opportunity to serve the team and program in such an important manner.”
Perhaps even more impressive is the incredibly long list of academic achievements, highlighted by recognition as a Penn State Distinguished Scholar twice, an honor that Petersen also received. Recognized as an All-Big Ten Academic Team in 2015-16, she also holds the distinction of Schreyer Honors College Scholar. Also recognized as a Big Ten Distinguished Scholar, following her sophomore and junior seasons, her achievements reflected a gold standard.
In her first three seasons with the Nittany Lions, she was named to the All-CHA Academic Team. In addition, her first season also resulted in nods to the All-CHA Rookie Team in 2013-14 and recognition as the CHA Student Athlete of the Year, respectively.
Truly embodying what it means to be a student-athlete, academic success bears as much significance as athletic achievement. Being able to gain such recognition stands as one of the defining hallmarks of such a distinguished career for Bowman,
“I went to Penn State to have one of the best academic and athletic experiences. Penn State has offered me so much on both ends. The teachers especially, they are always considerate of my conflicts due to traveling and are never unfair about their expectations from me in making up what I missed in class. I pride myself on my academics and it is great to see that paying off.”
Starting with a goal on opening night against the eventual Frozen Four champion Clarkson Golden Knights, Bowman would log points in five of the first six games in her senior season. Adding to such an accomplishment was the fact that she recorded points in 12 of the first 14 games. For her efforts, she was recognized as the CHA Player of the Month for October 2016.
With regards to the first six games, signifying both a strong start and the greatness to come for Bowman, she would assemble three multi-point performances during this riveting run, highlighted by a superlative four-point output against the Union Dutchwomen in an October 17 road game.
Along with Amy Petersen, they would both record hat tricks in the convincing 8-1 win against Union. While such a rare occurrence is one worth celebrating, Bowman acknowledges that there was another moment in the season that provided a worthy highlight; one which signified a full team effort.
“Although something like that doesn’t happen very often and it was a unique experience it definitely wasn’t one of my favorite moments. One of my top moments would have to be when came back from at 4 goal deficit in the third period to tie RIT late in the season. Everyone was so motivated during that game, it was like losing wasn’t an option for anyone that night.”
Bowman’s captaincy would take on greater luster with a series of significant scoring milestones. This season, Bowman would attain the treasured milestone of 100 career points, while also reaching the 60-goal plateau.
The landmark 100th point took place on home ice as the Nittany Lions hosted conference rivals Mercyhurst on January 28, 2017. Recording a pair of assists on a first period goal by Katie McMillan, followed by a third period helper on Amy Petersen’s game-winning goal, adding much more profound meaning to such a monumental milestone.
Fittingly, the 60-goal plateau would take place in the following game. With Penn State on the road against Lindenwood for a February 10 affair, Bowman would score twice in the first period, including the game-winning tally. Fittingly, it was Petersen who would record the game-winner, reciprocating the effort on January 28.
Of note, Bowman’s last collegiate goal would take place in the state of Pennsylvania, but not on home ice. A February 17 in suburban Pittsburgh against the Robert Morris Colonials saw Bowman record an even strength goal at the 15:36 mark of the first period, with assists credited to Bella Sutton and Amy Petersen. In the third, a goal by Meike Meilleur would stand as the game-winning tally in a 3-2 final.
With the final series of the regular season taking place on home ice from February 24-25 against the Syracuse Orange, it provided the setting for Bowman’s final point. Gaining an assist in the opening game, it brought her Nittany Lions career full circle as she earned the helper on a shorthanded third period goal by Petersen, her 14th of the campaign. Said assist also provided her with the 32nd point of her season, topping her impressive 31-point performance during the 2014-15 campaign.
Reaching new career highs with 32 points and 18 goals, new program records, Bowman’s 14 assists were one shy of her best-ever, having attained 15 in her sophomore season. In addition, she paced all skaters on her team with 166 shots on goal, while continuing to establish herself as a faceoff specialist with an astounding 410 faceoff wins.
For her efforts, her senior season culminated with a nod to the 2017 First Team CHA All-Stars, becoming the first Penn State player to reach such heights. In addition, she garnered a pair of team honors including Team MVP plus the Top Two-Way Player Award. In discussing this historic achievement, Bowman remains humble, quickly acknowledging that any individual milestones are attributed to a total team effort, including a successful collaboration throughout the season with Petersen, a linemate and cherished friend who garnered Second Team CHA All-Star status and the team’s Top Forward Award.
“I did not realize I was the first player to receive this award, but again I am honored. I definitely have my teammates to thank for that. One in particular would be Amy Petersen who was my linemate for the entire season. I would not have gotten nearly as many goals or assists without her on the ice with me.”
“All quotes obtained first hand unless otherwise indicated”
Photo credit: Penn State Athletics