Freshmen Evaluation: Week One
After the first series of the Penn State men’s hockey season, a split with the St. Lawrence Saints, it’s time to take a look out how the freshman class performed. The freshmen make up ten of the 27 members of the team, so they are an integral factor that need to perform well in order for Penn State to have success this year.
Every freshman got significant playing time in the first series of the season. On the offensive side, there were some good plays and even a few goals from the forwards.Nate Sucese, Blake Gober, Denis Smirnov, Brandon Biro, Nikita Pavylchev and Liam Folkes are the newcomers. Sucese scored the final Penn State goal in game two with an assist from Biro to make the game 5-3 in attempt to draw within striking of distance of the Saints. Gober’s goal came in an empty net situation at the end of Penn State’s first game, a 4-2 victory. Along with these goal scorers, Biro, Smirnov and Folkes all registered points in the opening series. The offense has played up to the expectation of a high scoring unit so far this year.
On the defensive side of the ice Kris Myllari played significant minutes, but was part of a unit that gave up nine goals in two games. Myllari has done his best in front of the goal, blocking six shots.The defense is not entirely to blame for the struggles in the first two games, but they do have room to improve as the season is still young.
The final, yet most important, freshman piece of this team is young netminder Peyton Jones. Jones began his season on a good note getting a solid victory stopping 26 of 28 shots against a solid St. Lawrence squad. Jones had a less than stellar performance in his second outing as he was only on the ice for 4:50 after giving up three goals to start the game. Sophomore Chris Funkey came in relief and only allowed one goal, but the damage was done. Jones is a young goalie who needs to get experience and learn from these first two games.
Overall, the freshmen have played well for their first two games against a very tough opponent. The best unit is the offense as they put up the points they were expected to in their first two games. The worst unit was the goaltending as Peyton Jones experienced both ends of the success spectrum in his first two games. Finally, the defense played at an average level, but have not excelled in any performance yet. It is too early to give a definitive grade, but the freshmen have not disappointed so far. The freshmen class looks to improve on a good start to the year on Friday, October 13th against the Mercyhurst Lakers.
Travis Sutton is a freshman majoring in telecommunications. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.