Player spotlight: Liam Folkes
Liam Folkes’ meaning to the Penn State Nittany Lions men’s ice hockey team is immeasurable.
The junior from Scarborough, Ontario provides a blend of veteran leadership and youthful
energy for this team, and he has been a huge key to the Nittany Lions’ success early in the
season. After a dominating series victory over the Robert Morris Colonials, Folkes noted how
good it feels to put up such a dominating offensive performance.
“It’s obviously good when you put up 18 goals in a weekend," Folkes said. "We played a really offensive game,
so it’s really nice getting those two wins."
Folkes is accompanied on his stellar line by the likes of winger Alex Limoges and center Evan
Barratt. These two players have helped Folkes in providing the type of offensive showing that a
head coach could only dream of. Folkes has been left relatively speechless considering his line’s
showing thus far in the season.
“I don’t really know what we’re doing differently. We obviously have a lot of chemistry right
now and everything seems to be finding the back of the net, so we’ve got to carry this into
Michigan,” Folkes said.
Folkes has been a key contributor in these early season victories for Penn State, but that is not to
say that his fellow teammates haven’t also helped the cause. Junior forward Nikita Pavlychev has
been among the lesser known offensive threats who have been huge in recent victories, most
recently in the Robert Morris series. Pavlychev totaled seven points over the weekend, on four
goals and three assists. Folkes knows his role is vital to his team’s success but remains quick to
deflect attention to teammates such as Pavlychev.
“It takes the pressure off certain key guys," Folkes said. "Obviously with Pavlychev, no one expected him to be
having the success he’s having right now, so obviously that’s really huge. Having secondary
scoring is really good for the guys who are expected to do the offensive things.”
Playing for head coach Guy Gadowsky appears to be an enjoyable, yet tiresome experience for many
of the Nittany Lions, and by Folkes’ account, he is no different. Gadowsky’s system stresses for
all players to be capable of playing on both ends of the ice, and Folkes has embraced this
strategy with flying colors. Working tirelessly to get himself in this position the past few years, it
seems as though Folkes’ hard work is beginning to pay off.
“I really worked on that [endurance] last season, for my freshman year into my sophomore year,
being more consistent. That’s my main role this year: being the most consistent player I can be,
and obviously me, limo (Alex Limoges) and Barry (Evan Barratt) have had some success with
that so far,” Folkes said.
With Folkes coming off a three-point outing in his last game against Robert Morris, the junior
will look to continue his offensive prowess in Penn State’s upcoming series with Michigan.
Entering Big Ten play will prove to be no easy task, as each game will matter more and more.
The Wolverines should provide a significant test for the Nittany Lions, and players such as
Folkes are quick to notice the challenge at hand.
“It is a little bit different," Folkes said. "Every game matters more now. Obviously, Michigan is a really
good team, but they’re not doing so good in the pairwise, which makes it more crucial for us.
We’re just going to treat it like any other game.”
Hoping to continue their winning ways, Penn State will rely on the trio of Barratt, Limoges and
Folkes to carry them to victory.
Andrew Destin is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email