MHKY: Freshmen Make an Immediate Impact
On Sunday, the Penn State Men’s hockey team won a dominating 8-0 game against Queens University of Canada. It was a game where head coach Guy Gadowsky could gauge how much of an impact the young guns would have in a new college hockey atmosphere. The freshmen of the team showed up big-time in the exhibition game Sunday afternoon, demonstrating the type of speed and hockey intelligence Gadowsky is looking for.
“All in all I think we received some good information,“ Gadowsky said. “I think a lot of freshmen that we were looking at contributed and played well. It was good to see goals by Folkes, Smirnov and Biro.”
The group of freshmen has been one of the most anticipated classes to play in a blue and white sweater. The Nittany Lions introduced ten freshmen to Pegula Ice Arena, where three scored goals and five secured at least one point.
The first two goals of the game came from freshmen, Denis Smirnov and Liam Folkes. Newcomer Brandon Biro assisted on the second goal, brilliantly passing the puck across the crease for a deflection from Folkes’ stick.
The two opening goals allowed the experienced players to feed off of that momentum. Dylan Richard assisted captain David Goodwin, crashing the net with the puck and giving Goodwin the opportunity to shove the puck between Kevin Bailie’s legs. Sophomore Andrew Sturtz then proved his puck handling as he did last season where he scored 18 goals on the season. Sturtz pulled a skillful move on Bailie, lifting the puck into the top corner of the net going top-shelf. However, what led to the breakaway opportunity for Sturtz was a smart play in the neutral zone from the 6-foot-7 freshman Nikita Pavlychev. Vince Pedrie scored the Nittany Lions first power play of the game to give Penn State a 5-0 lead going into the third period.
Smirnov secured his second goal of the game on Penn State’s second power play goal of the game early in the third. The young gun showed his strength and fired a tough wrist shot past Bailie.
Penn State capitalized on the power play twice in the third period for Sturtz’s second goal of the exhibition on game and Biro’s first goal on college ice. Penn State finished 4-10 on the power play and were able to shoot the puck on net 30 times with an extra man out of the 50 total shots. The offensive success, especially power play success, came in part from the newcomers’ positive impact on the ice.
Not only did the freshmen play well on the offensive end, they also impressed on the defensive end. Goalie Peyton Jones played between the pipes for the first half of the game and stopped all 14 shots he faced.
“I thought obviously Peyton Jones started very strong, he looked very composed,” Gadowski said. “He had a huge save on the power play for us.”
The 6-foot-4 goaltender impressed Gadowsky to such an extent, he will have the start in Penn State’s season opener on Thursday against No. 16 St. Lawrence.
Gadowsky knows the team’s regular season opener will be a much more difficult task than the exhibition game and his freshmen are going to have to be just as poised as they were Sunday afternoon. The last time the two teams met, the Saints came out with the win and this time the Nittany Lions are looking to reclaim victory on home ice.
Alissa Devine is a Junior majoring in Broadcast Journalism. To contact her, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Contributors
Sophomore / Broadcast Journalism
Alissa Devine is a senior from Fairfield, New Jersey, majoring in broadcast journalism with a minor is business liberal arts. She is involved with play by play and beat writing for several Penn State sports, especially hockey. She is also a member of the talk show, The Sin Bin for Com Radio. Alissa’s love for sports and hockey has driven her to pursue a career in sports broadcasting.