Consistent, Clutch, And Underrated: Penn State Hockey’s Eric Scheid
It’s no secret that Penn State’s first line has established itself as one of the best in the nation. Casey Bailey, Taylor Holstrom, and David Goodwin’s explosive chemistry has accounted for much of the team’s recent success. Goalies P.J. Musico, Eamon McAdam, and Matthew Skoff have all played crucial roles as well.
A lot of narratives end here, but this is not the whole story. It simply wouldn’t be enough. Successful hockey teams have depth and No. 19 Penn State is much more than its first line, no matter how great it is. Second-line forward Eric Scheid gives the Nittany Lions essential depth. Just ask Casey Bailey.
Bailey, currently ranked No. 14 in points in the nation, said he doesn’t think Eric Scheid “gets as much recognition as he deserves.”
“When he’s in the lineup he’s always making something happen,” Bailey said. “He’s got a lot of offensive skill, he’s fun to watch, and he’s got great hands and great vision.”
[pullquote]”When he’s in the lineup he’s always making something happen,” Bailey said. “He’s got a lot of offensive skill, he’s fun to watch, and he’s got great hands and great vision.”[/pullquote]
In conference rankings, the second-line Scheid is currently tied with Holstrom at 9 points. With Casey Bailey averaging 1.27 points per game this season, it makes sense that his linemate Holstrom has a whopping 21 assists.
As coach Guy Gadowsky stated, Bailey “loves to shoot the puck” and center Holstrom loves to feed it to him. The way the players on this line compliment each other so well actually enhances Scheid’s clutch factor. His line is a bit younger, with freshman Scott Conway at center and sophomore Dylan Richard at left-wing. With 13 goals and nine assists overall this season, Scheid has served as a versatile player for the line.
Despite the six games he missed with a concussion sustained Nov. 21, Scheid has been a consistent offensive force. While he has tallied at least one point in all but five games, the timing of his points has proved more impressive than the number might indicate. He initiated both comebacks in the Northern Michigan series, with two points and three assists.
It’s always impossble to play “what if” in the game of hockey, but it’s just as ridiculous to deny Scheid’s presence on the ice during these matches. Scheid assisted both the game-tying goal and game-winner in last Friday’s win over Wisconsin, and netted two of his own on Saturday. It seems as though he’s whatever the team needs him to be, a trait as coveted as it is elusive.
His determination has been consistent throughout Penn State’s transition from a club team to a nationally-ranked Division I hockey program. As a redshirt sophomore in last year’s brutal 8-26-2 season, Scheid played in all 36 games. He tied for the season lead in points for the Lions with 20 (11 goals, nine assists). Even with six weeks on the bench, Scheid has already topped last years achievements, with 22 points to his name so far.
“I’m already past where I was last year and I’m not even close to leading the team in scoring,” Scheid said, acknowledging the importance of depth. He attributes recent success to the off-season, where he said he “made some great improvements.”
“I feel like a good, hard summer of training really helped me, and going to the (Minnesota) Wild development camp and learning a lot about what it takes to get to the next level, that helped me develop and progress into this year,” he added.
More recently, Penn State hockey swept a Big Ten opponent for the first time in program history. In the 4-1 victory over Wisconsin on Saturday, Scheid contributed both a beautiful forecheck to set up Richard’s goal and an unbelievable pass to Erik Autio for Penn State’s final goal.
“When he’s moving his feet, he really does play at a different speed than everybody on the ice and he’s absolutely huge,” Gadowsky said of Scheid after the game. “You can’t win the Big Ten with one line.”
As No. 19 Penn State takes on Michigan State this weekend, keep an eye on number 19.
Photo: Bobby Chen/Onward State