Penn State Hockey Season Preview
Alissa Devine, Jack Milewski and John Petrolias tell you everything you need to know about the upcoming season in Hockey Valley.
The Penn State hockey team has improved gradually season by season. The program is continuing to expand , entering its fifth year at the Div. I level. In just its third season as a Div. I school, the team posted a winning record, 18-15-4, surprising hockey fans all over the country.
Last season the team again exceeded expectations. A strong freshmen class led the Nittany Lion attack, and the team finished with a 21-13-4 record despite a lack of depth on the roster.
Now the team has a full allotment of players, including 16 forwards. In addition, the incoming freshmen forwards include a few of the most touted players to join the program yet.
Many say that this is the first year Penn State will boast a complete hockey team. Last season they lacked depth, while in prior seasons the teams consisted of many club players who did not have the talent that this group of players does.
Penn State hockey has been labeled a prolific scoring team under coach Guy Gadowsky. Last season, Penn State was tied for No. 6 nationally in scoring but just No. 48 in goals allowed. Gadowsky believes that an improved offense this season can aid certain defensive miscues.
The last couple years, Penn State has rotated goaltenders throughout the season. So far it is unknown whether Chris Funkey or Peyton Jones will be the sole starter to begin the season. Funkey has been called a great teammate, and a very mentally tough player while Jones is a talented freshman who the staff believes will eventually be a starter.
The Lions return top scorer David Goodwin, while seniors Ricky DeRosa, Dylan Richard and Zach Saar have had terrific careers. James Robinson only played one game last year after a great freshman season. He was named an alternate captain for the season.
Sophomores Alec Marsh, Matt Mendelson and Chase Berger were outstanding as freshmen a year ago, while Andrew Sturtz scored a freshman-record 18 goals. Sturtz is the highest-regarded scorer, but Chase Berger also recorded 13 goals himself last year. Mendelson struggled early on last season but Penn State fans can expect substantial improvement from him. Marsh was also a solid player who made those around him better, adding seven goals and 14 assists.
David Thompson returns for his last season and will anchor the defense, while Vince Pedrie, Kevin Kerr, and Darien Hamilton will look to build on stellar freshman campaigns.
Coach Guy Gadowsky’s most recent recruiting class is hyped up to be even better than last year’s freshmen. Blake Gober is an exceptional leader who should contribute from day one, while the youngest player to ever join the program, Brandon Biro, has immense raw talent.
Nikita Pavlychev from Russia will play center for the Lions. The 6’7 Russian has already been drafted by the Pittsburgh Pengiuns and has the repertoire of a future NHL player. His skill, for his size and intelligence are rare, and he should be a dangerous player for Penn State.
Another forward, Liam Folkes, brings blazing speed to the ice. In the CCHL 2015 season he average more than a point per game and was named his team’s MVP.
Nate Sucese and Denis Smirnov, are quite similar players to Andrew Sturtz. While neither is nearly as physical as Sturtz, Sucese is a solid all-around player while Smirnov brings much skill to the table.
Kris Myllari and James Gobetz are a pair of talented defensemen who should make an increased impact as the season progresses.
The freshman class in Hockey Valley is an extremely talented and should immediately provide a significant boost to an upward trending team.
Last season 12 Penn State players scored at least ten goals, and this season should also be a balanced scoring total.
Sturtz is expected to be the leading scorer while DeRosa, Saar, and Richard should all be major contributors again. Berger and Marsh are complete players who should see increased roles this season as well.
The freshman will be an exciting group to watch. Based on the success of last season’s newcomers, there is plenty of reason for optimism about this one, which could be even stronger. Penn State is adequately equipped to finally compete with the rest of the Big Ten. Coach Gadowsky finally has the talent and the depth to put together a great season in Hockey Valley.
Will Desautelle is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him email email@example.com.