Player Spotlight: Vince Pedrie
Penn State hockey has exploded onto the national scene this season with Guy Gadowsky at the helm reaching as high as number one in the country. Gadowsky brings a powerful offense to the table with lots of speed and lots of shots on goal. Leading the team of course is star forwards Denis Smirnov, David Goodwin, and Andrew Sturtz, but the player that truly embodies this offensive attack best is surprisingly defensemen Vince Pedrie.
Pedrie is currently sixth on the team in total points with 26, one point ahead of Trevor Hamilton for highest scoring defenseman. However, that statistic that truly stands out for Pedrie is shots, leading the team with 156 shots. It is very rare for a defenseman in hockey to lead his team in shots, especially a team that stresses getting pucks to the net. Seemingly every game Nittany Lion fans can see the big defenseman rifling pucks from as far out as the blue line on opposing goalies. Pedrie often relies on his forwards to provide traffic in front of the net, but this does not take away from the power and accuracy in Pedrie’s shots. With all these shots from Pedrie, his goal percentage is naturally pretty low, but his shots most importantly provide opportunities for his forwards on rebounds. Andrew Sturtz specifically is often waiting patiently for rebounds, which is where he has gotten most of his team leading 21 goals.
While Pedrie is an offensive threat, but his position is defenseman so he does do most of his work in front of Penn State goalie Peyton Jones. This is where Pedrie works closely with line mate Eric Autio. The two have worked together ever since they got onto campus and have created a strong chemistry. Autio is clearly the more stay at home defender, which really allows for Pedrie to get into the attack more. This combination will need to be very sharp if Penn State wants to make a deep run in the Big Ten Tournament and potentially the NCAA Tournament. The Lions lost standout defensemen Kevin Kerr for the season, so Pedrie and Autio are now the most experienced players on defense. They need to take care of the puck and really not allow for odd man attacks on Jones.
This weekend Penn State will take on the Michigan Wolverines who are fifth in the Big Ten. Penn State dominated them early in the Big Ten season, sweeping them at home, leading to goal tender Jack LaFontaine smashing his stick, splintering it all over the ice right in front of the roar zone. More recently, Penn State was swept by the Wolverines, even though they significantly out shot Michigan in both games. Senior goalie Zach Nagelvoort played outstanding in the second game, shutting out the Nittany Lions. While the goalies have all split time this year for the Wolverines, it would not be surprising to see Nagelvoort in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament. He has been the best goaltender statistically and seems to have the hot hand in the crease.
On the other hand, Penn State seems bound to break out against the Wolverines offensively. They registered 46 shots on net, four of which came from Pedrie, and two goals in the first period were disallowed. Expect Penn State to come out playing for revenge against Michigan in the first round, not wanting to lose to the same team in three straight games. If Pedrie and the rest of the defense can take care of the puck as well as getting into the attack, Penn State will have great success in the Big Ten Tournament.
Brian McLaughlin is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him please email email@example.com.
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Senior / Broadcast Journalism