After a Strong Offseason, Kevin Wall’s Impact Is Already Being Felt

Story posted November 23, 2020 in Sports, CommRadio by Kyle Cannillo

After a sluggish year one, Penn State hockey winger and Carolina Hurricanes sixth-rounder Kevin Wall is looking to make a bigger impact this season than ever before.

It didn’t take long for Wall to do some damage. With two important goals this past weekend versus Minnesota, six out of his nine career points have come against the Golden Gophers. Wall has been nothing but a thorn in Minnesota’s side, earning him the nickname “Gopher Killer.”

However, as the season progresses, Wall believes that his training and development have given him the tools to be a more consistent threat regardless of the opponent. 

“I think it’s important to have confidence in your game and in yourself,” Wall said. “If you stick to what the coaches preach and play as hard as you can, the puck is going to come to you.”

Before repping the blue and white, Wall played in Canada for the Chilliwack Chiefs of the BCHL. There, he scored 31 goals and 64 points in just 49 games before coming to Hockey Valley. It’s safe to say expectations were high for the goal-scoring machine.

After just two goals and seven points a year ago, Wall took it upon himself to take his game to the next level. To do that, he followed in the footsteps of a Penn State hockey legend.

“I’ve been working out with former Penn Stater Nate Sucese,” Wall said. “We train about four days a week and skate for three days a week. Just a ton of hockey workouts. I have also been working with a nutritionist back home, which has made a big difference.”

Wall is a perfect fit in head coach Guy Gadowsky’s “put pucks on net” system. Gadowsky says he is pleased with what he has seen from Wall in the early going.

“I love his development,” Gadowsky said. “He has a lot of skill naturally. When he came to college hockey, he had to get used to the speed. He didn't pout. He worked hard. He took big strides. We are excited about his future."

After Penn State lost 12 starters from its championship team a year ago, Wall has become not only a bigger piece on the ice but also off the ice. In year two, Wall is using this opportunity to “mentor” a large freshman class that was admittedly “nervous” in its first weekend against Minnesota.

“I remember my first game—I was in the same boat as them,” Wall said. “All in all, they did a really good job. They played the system well and have pretty big roles this year. I'm excited to see what they can do the rest of the season.”

Wall says that being comfortable on the ice starts with doing hockey homework off the ice.

“Studying the playbook in your free time and asking questions is big,” Wall said. “I know last year I didn’t ask questions and I regretted it. We all have the same goal, and we all want to be the best team we can be. Knowing that someone has your back makes you feel comfortable.

Penn State is set to take on Wisconsin this Monday and Tuesday, both games starting at 6 p.m. Wisconsin is 2-1-1 with star talents Cole Caufield and Dylan Holloway. Penn State looks to rebound and snag its first win of the season.

 

Kyle Cannillo is a journalism major at Penn State. To contact him, email kcannillo1@gmail.com.