new-additions-look-to-bolster-a-hungry-nittany-lions-squad-2022

New Additions Aim to Bolster a Hungry Nittany Lions Squad

Story posted September 29, 2022 in

The excitement has been building all summer for Penn State after a Cinderella-esque run in the Big Ten tournament last season, but the excitement for the new additions looms larger.

The Nittany Lions will feature a trio of freshmen defensemen, all of whom head coach Guy Gadowsky has high hopes for.

“The coaching staff will tell you that we’re absolutely excited about the upgrades on the back end,” Gadowsky said. “All three were highly relied on by their teams and were successful.”

Leading off the incoming defensemen is Carter Schade. Schade is the most exciting prospect of the bunch. As an assistant captain for the Lincoln Stars of the USHL the past two seasons, Schade put up 47 points and posted a plus/minus +23 rating. He also had a career-year on offense last season with 31 points (four goals, 27 assists).

Despite being only 5-foot-11, Schade is notorious for throwing his body around with his wide stature and getting to the dirty areas of the ice. Pair that with his exceptional hockey IQ and quick release, and you have yourself a future top-pair defenseman for the Nittany Lions.

“I think he’s got a very well-rounded game,” captain Paul DeNaples said. “I think he's good offensively [and] good defensively with the puck. [He] skates very well and is an ideal two-way defenseman.”

Dylan Gratton joins the Penn State program following in his older brother’s footsteps. The 6-foot-0 defenseman led the Sioux City Musketeers to their first Clark Cup championship in 20 years as a staple on the blue line.

His 18 points (three goals, 15 assist) and plus/minus rating of +19 were career bests. Gratton’s three assists in the playoffs were a huge factor in the Musketeers’ postseason push as well.

Jarod Crespo caps off the new additions on the back end, bringing with him stable two-way play from the blue line.

Crespo spent the past two seasons with the Green Bay Gamblers in the USHL and was a team captain last season, posting career-high 28 points (eight goals, 20 assists).

Even with the massive shakeup on defense, Gadowsky doesn’t see it as an issue, but more so an opportunity.

“If one of these three defenseman ended up playing a major role and doing really well statistically I don't know if it's a surprise,” Gadowsky said. “We have a belief that all three of them could.”

Joining the young blueliners are two highly-touted transfer forwards in the form of Ashton Calder from North Dakota and Ture Linden from RPI (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute).

Calder comes into Happy Valley with 141 games under his belt, the third-most among active NCAA players. He’s coming off a stellar year with the Fighting Hawks, finishing second on the team in goals (11) and fifth in points (21).

The four-year veteran is one of few transfers that Penn State has acquired in its program's history, and he gives all credit to the atmosphere that surrounds Happy Valley in making his decision.

“The pride that came with being a Penn Stater, I thought it was amazing like I never experienced any other school like this campus,” Calder said. “When I first stepped off the plane I could tell right away like this is special.”

While Calder embraces the challenge every Big Ten team brings, he made sure to mark a particular series in January on his calendar.

“I'm most excited to play Notre Dame,” Calder said.  “When I was in North Dakota, we lost to them in the NCAA Tournament… I want to go back at it again with them.”

Joining Calder on the offensive front is Ture Linden. Linden served as a captain for RPI last season while leading the Engineers and ECAC with 39 points (20 goals, 19 assists).

Even after transferring to the Big Ten from the ECAC, Linden has big expectations for himself leading into this season.

“I made it in college hockey being a two way centerman… My goal is to be good defensively [and] offensively and to win draws and hopefully chip in where I can.” Linden said.

With a healthy mix of young players looking to prove themselves and veterans leading the charge, this Penn State squad has the potential to be something special.

“We’re super excited to have all those guys on our roster and we're sure it's going to be a great year,” assistant captain Connor MacEachern said. “We believe we have the ability to be the best.”

 

Josh Bartosik is a second-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email jsb6137@psu.edu.