Men’s Hockey Player Spotlight: Ludvig Larsson
After only three games with his new team, it’s safe to say that graduate transfer Ludvig Larsson has already had a positive impact on the top line of the Nittany Lions.
In Penn State’s opening weekend, the faceoff specialist not only made a difference in the circles but also tallied two assists against then-ranked No. 17 Clarkson, helping Penn State sweep the two-game series last weekend.
By the end of the weekend, Larsson had won 26 of his 36 faceoffs taken, picking up right where he left off last season when he ranked 14th nationally in faceoffs won.
Larsson grew up in Malmö, Sweden, where he played youth and junior level hockey. His American hockey career began in 2014 right outside of Dallas, Texas where he played for the NAHL’s North Star Brahmas. He made the move to collegiate hockey the next year at Merrimack College.
After four years with Merrimack, Larsson chose to spend his final year of eligibility under the NCAA’s graduate transfer rule at Penn State.
The 23-year-old center was highly regarded by his former team for his work in the faceoff dot while being able to provide a decent amount of scoring power, racking up 21 points and a .583 faceoff percentage in his 2017-18 campaign.
When asked about their high faceoff percentage in last weekend’s series, Penn State head coach Guy Gadowski attributed it solely to Larsson.
“The truth is, we actually weren’t great as a team, Ludvig Larsson was excellent. He was our only centerman above 50 percent ,” Gadowski said. “But he was well well well above 50 percent. That’s what brought us up.”
“It’s a battle,” Larsson said. “It’s a one on one battle. You need to be hungry. You have to feel like ‘I’m going to win this [faceoff].”
Larsson has quickly shifted from his defensive role at Merrimack College into a talented first line that combined for 10 points on the weekend, which led the team. Centering the wing duo of juniors Brandon Biro and Nate Sucese, the fifth year Swede brings a big veteran presence to the line.
“I think it helps me being a vet here in college hockey to adjust my playing style to Penn State,” Larsson said. “I don’t feel like I need to adjust it too much because I feel like my playing style fits very well here at Penn State.”
“[Ludvig] is a great compliment to our line,” Biro said. “He’s very fast, very responsible defensively, and he can put the puck in the net and make plays so I think he’s a really complete player.”
Larsson and the top line will look to continue their scoring dominance against a Niagra team that ranked 51st in goals against last season, as the Nittany Lions look to build on their hot start to the hot start.
Whether the team’s heat carries on throughout the season or not, it’s pretty safe to say that Larsson’s heat in the faceoff dot will remain.
Nathan Pullen is a freshman majoring in journalism. To contact him email, him firstname.lastname@example.org.