PSU Hockey Player Spotlight: Kevin Kerr
Arriving on campus in August, freshman defenseman Kevin Kerr didn’t know what to expect out of Penn State, but he knew he had chosen a program moving in the right direction. “I want the very best college experience possible,” he said, choosing Guy Gadowsky, the Pegula Ice Arena, and the academics of Penn State, all while being close to home was a very easy decision to make.”
Kerr hails from Bensalem, Pennsylvania, a small town just outside of Philadelphia, approximately three hours away from State College. Kerr started playing hockey at four years old and played at Holy Ghost Prep for three years. He was a member of the United States Junior Olympic team in 2012, and he spent two seasons with the Tri-City Storm of the USHL before taking his talents to University Park.
He has quickly found his groove as a Nittany Lion, playing in 29 games and tallying a goal and 10 assists. More importantly, he has chipped in 35 blocks on the defensive end, helping to limit opposing teams to only 2.9 goals per game.
“There’s always a learning curve getting into college hockey, I’ve become real comfortable in the last couple of weeks.” Kerr has had to adjust to the college game, but he attributes a lot of his development to fellow defenseman and senior Luke Juha. “Luke is an awesome player, he makes everyone around him better.”
Kerr has also refined his focus to make the most of his skill set, attempting to succeed in all facets of the game. “I’m someone that prides myself not just on the numbers but on the little things as well…breaking down, regrouping well, and making smart decisions in all three zones.” He’s shown his versatility especially in recent contests, racking up an assist on a Juha goal in Penn State’s last win over Ohio State.
Unfortunately, the Nittany Lions were only able to split with the Buckeyes last week, which puts their NCAA Tournament hopes in peril. Penn State currently sits tied with Nebraska-Omaha at 14th in the PairWise rankings. The top 16 teams in the rankings make the tournament, but that number is almost always skewed since champions of smaller conferences who might not be in the rankings receive automatic bids.
When asked about tournament prospects, Kerr responded with poise and composure not often seen from freshmen but speaking volumes for his focus. “Playing in the moment is crucial…we just have to play every game as hard as we can.” He’s right in that Penn State can’t look too far ahead since four regular season games still remain along with the Big Ten Tournament in Minnesota in a couple of weeks.
Kerr and the Nittany Lions currently sit third in the Big Ten, seven points behind Minnesota and six behind Michigan. They hope to get back on the right foot this weekend at Wisconsin before heading over for a big series in Ann Arbor against Michigan, the No. 6 team in the country according to the PairWise.
Tom Shively is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @t_shives.