Player Spotlight: Nikita Pavlychev
Nikita Pavlychev is a junior forward who, when he is on his game, can be a very lethal player. In fact, from freshman season until now, Pavlychev has shown great improvement. His current line that he plays on, with teammates junior forward Blake Gober and sophomore forward Sam Sternschein, has shown strides, but it could be better.
In each of the past two seasons, Pavlychev has shown dramatic improvement not only for himself and Penn State but perhaps his future NHL career with the Pittsburgh Penguins. In 36 games as a freshman, Pavlychev had six goals and seven assists for a total of 13 points.
As a sophomore, in one less game Pavlychev netted nine goals and contributed five assists for a total of 14 points. However, this time he had a minus-7 rating.
Fast forward to this season, by far his most damaging year. In 28 games, Pavlychev has torched opponents for 23 points, earning 12 goals and 11 assists while being plus-3 thus far. A challenge that Pavlychev has had to overcome this season is playing on multiple lines.
Guy Gadowski has paired Pavlychev with Aarne Talvitie and Alec Marsh. That line has actually been the most productive line this season. Even though the line has played four games together, the trio is .500 with a 2-2 record and has scored six goals along with 10 assists for a total of 16 points. Additionally, that line was a plus-8.
Blake Gober has had to fill in for the injured Aarne Talvitie on the Pavlychev line.
“[Blake Gober] has been doing an exceptional job especially playing defensively,” Pavlychev said. “He has actually surprised me a lot.”
Pavlychev’s most common linemates are Sam Sternschein, along with Talvitie.
This weekend, Penn State travels to Michigan State for a weekend series matchup. Coming off a sweep of the Minnesota Golden Gophers, Penn State looks to continue their surge.
Tom Johnston is a senior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.