Freshmen Evaluation: Week Nine
After a stellar series this weekend, Penn State men’s hockey has done what no one expected. In five short years, Penn State went from a Division I club team to the No. 1 team in all the land of NCAA hockey, sitting high atop a hill in the arena that Pegula built on the corner of Curtin and University. As the news broke at Monday’s presser, Ricky DeRosa beamed with happiness, recognizing that all of the program’s hard work had finally paid off.
However, this week’s ascension to the top was a team effort with the help of some great freshman play once again. The team hung 10 goals on Spartan netminder Ed Minney, while recording 97 shots over the weekend. One freshman who stood out this weekend in the offensive zone was Vince Pedrie.
Pedrie was all over the ice this weekend, recording four points on a goal and three assists. His lone goal came Friday night as he flicked a wrist shot on net from the point to give Penn State the lead in the first. Pedrie also recorded a +6 rating for the weekend as he was keeping puck movement fluid and giving his forwards the puck in open space. His stick assisted Andrew Sturtz Saturday night giving him the puck off a rebounded point shot from Erik Autio.
Pedrie has played well all year and it shows as he gets more playing time than most of his freshmen teammates. He’s finally getting the spotlight he deserves with a standout performance. Vince Pedrie will need a big series once again in order to get past a tough opponent in Ohio State this weekend.
The player who got mid-season third star honors last week played up to his potential this week. Kris Myllari was menace to the Spartan offense this weekend. Coach Guy Gadowsky singled out Myllari this week as one of the players who was vital in the series victory due to his presence in front of the Penn State goal. Myllari blocked seven shots over the weekend for Nittany Lions, limiting shots on goal for Peyton Jones and bailing out the Nittany Lions when the puck was turned over.
During Saturday night’s game, Michigan State was held scoreless in the third period, minus a goal in junk time at the end of the game, allowing Penn State to tally four late goals to give them the lead. The aggressive play from Myllari and the Penn State defense stonewalled the MSU offense for a significant portion of the third period. Kris Myllari helped lead the Penn State defense in solid performances both games this weekend. He will need to lay his body out on the line again against the aggressive OSU offense that is averaging 4.2 goals per game this season.
The series this weekend is crucial if Penn State is to keep their top ranking. Ohio State is one of the toughest teams they have faced to date, with a constant turnstile of top tier goalies and an offense that can put a team away early if the Lions let them. The first puck drop is Friday at 7 p.m. in Pegula Ice Arena.
Travis Sutton is a freshman majoring in telecommunications. To contact him, email him at email@example.com.