Men’s Hockey Adds CCHL MVP Andrew Sturtz
Penn State’s fourth Division I season is right around the corner and head coach Guy Gadowsky has finally filled up his 2015-16 roster. Small, speedy winger Andrew Sturtz is set to join this fall, adding a greater scoring element to a team looking to fill the void left by the departed Casey Bailey and Scott Conway.
“A leader both on the ice and in the community,” Gadowsky said. “We expect Andrew to hit the ground running when he arrives on campus. His tenacious, competitive nature combined with an ability to consistently create offense will make him a handful for opposing defensemen.”
Sturtz played for the Carleton Place Canadians of the Central Canada Hockey League for the past two seasons. Before that, he played for clubs in his native Buffalo before moving to Ontario. Two seasons ago, Sturtz led the CCHL in points in the regular season, then added 19 points in 14 playoff games. He was named the CCHL MVP and CJHL (Canadian Junior Hockey League) Player of the Year. The following year, his regular season output dropped from 104 points to 72, but he followed up the lackluster production with a remarkable 22-point outburst in 12 playoff games as an alternate captain.
Sturtz will likely fit in as a top-six winger, since his small frame suggests he won’t be able to throw around his body as much on defensive end. The 5-foot-8, 180-pound skater earned a reputation as a scorer in juniors, and with the 5-foot-7 Denis Smirnov opting to join Penn State in 2016-17 rather than this year, Sturtz will be on the shortlist when Gadowsky looks down the bench when he needs goal-scoring. With the exception of Casey Bailey, Penn State’s offensive success last year came from undersized forwards. The team’s second, third, and fourth-most productive scorers were all 5-foot-10 or shorter. Taylor Holstrom has since graduated, but David Goodwin and Eric Scheid project to play on the top line next year. One thing is certain: Gadowsky likes his small, smart scorers.
After last year’s freshman class of three, the program will bring in eight new players this fall. The snowballing popularity of Penn State hockey will only grow with the addition of yet another elite scorer.