Hockey Player Spotlight: Alec Marsh
Often times, the term “freshman” slapped by a player’s name on the roster sheet can signify a lack of experience and expectations. While that may be the status quo for most teams around the country, the young guns on the Penn State men’s hockey team are breaking through this stereotype and excelling on several fronts, and one of the key reasons for their success is newcomer Alec Marsh.
The 20-year-old forward is one of many freshmen having stellar seasons for the Nittany Lions. Thanks to a hot start of the season, Marsh was named the Big Ten Second Star of the week back on Oct. 20 following a multi-goal effort against Notre Dame. He is currently tied for 18th in the Big Ten in assists with nine and among freshman he is tied for the fifth-most points in the conference with 14.
Coach Guy Gadowski has been impressed enough to often plug Marsh into the team’s first line, where the forward has received considerable minutes throughout the year. Alongside teammates like Captain David Glen and fellow freshman Andrew Sturtz, the trio have used their chemistry to generate consistent success as each has tallied a total of 14 points on the year.
While it is not typical for a team’s top line to contain two freshmen, Gadowski feels like the younger players are fitting in just fine.
“All along they’ve really done a great job of integrating with the team and the upperclassmen continue to give them a ton of credit,” Gadowski said this week on how the freshmen have eased into their roles. “They’ve looked very comfortable to me all along.”
These numbers did not just come about with “beginner’s luck” by any means, but instead are due to Marsh’s years of experience with the USHL. The New Jersey native spent three years in the junior league prior to becoming a Nittany Lion, scoring 74 points in 151 total games with the Cedar Rapids, Sioux Falls and Fargo clubs.
As Marsh looked for universities to venture to, he found a home at Penn State where he could grow as a player. He told GoPSUsports.com Penn State had everything he wanted in a university and it “exceeds expectations.”
Now at the point of the season with predominantly conference play, Marsh has noticed the competitiveness and talent of the Big Ten first hand.
“I guess it’s just a little bit faster and the guys are a little bit bigger and stronger,” said Marsh comparing conference opponents to non-conference play. “[The conference is] A lot more competitive I’d say.”
While new to the intensity of Big Ten hockey, Marsh does not shy away from altercations. He can usually be found in the middle of the heated moments that take place on the ice, as he sits in the top 25 in total penalties and penalty minutes in the conference.
“I’m a pretty emotional guy I guess…I get competitive and I guess it just happens really,” Marsh said.
The team will need Marsh to utilize that fire as the Lions heads down the backstretch of the season, especially against teams with a history of dominance like Wisconsin this weekend.
He may be just a freshman, but the top-line forward that has strived at Penn State thus far has not showed any signs of slowing down, and it looks like the best has yet to come from Marsh and this young Penn State squad.
Ryan Berti is a sophomore majoring in Broadcast Journalism. To contact him, email him at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter: @RBirdman7.