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Penn State Hockey Defenseman James Gobetz Steps Up In Kevin Kerr’s Absence

Penn State men’s hockey defenseman James Gobetz has stepped up and played extremely well in a larger role alongside senior stalwart Trevor Hamilton throughout the 2017-18 season.

Gobetz was thrust into this role after junior defenseman Kevin Kerr broke his wrist at the start of December during a victory against Ohio State. With Kerr set to return to action this weekend against No. 20 Michigan, Gobetz’s role will likely be reduced. That said, the St. James, NY native deserves praise for his strong play in Kerr’s absence.

“I thought last game [5-1 defeat of No. 6 Ohio State] was his best game,” head coach Guy Gadowsky said. “I thought he was excellent. That pass he made to Jimmy Pucks was big-time and he was competing every day. With the injuries we’ve had [on defense], someone has to step up, and I think lately, Gobetz has been excellent.”

Although the Buckeyes’ fifth goal of the game on January 13 came after Gobetz pinched at his own blue line late in the third period, Gadowsky and the coaching staff did not want the sophomore to dwell on his mistake. While no one clad in the blue & white likes to concede goals, Gadowsky liked Gobetz’s effort in the dying seconds of a game that was all but over.

“I thought James Gobetz was one of the few bright spots we had,” Gadowsky said after Saturday’s game. “He played hard, he competed, and he made nice plays. I don’t have a problem with [Ohio State’s last-second goal] at all. Obviously, you don’t want to see it go in, but I liked that he continued to try right to the very end.”

Gobetz has taken his game to another level on the team’s second defensive pairing with Trevor Hamilton. Penn State’s No. 6 has enjoyed his time alongside Hamilton and has quietly emerged as a solid, all-around defenseman.

“James is awesome,” Hamilton said of his defensive partner. “He’s a great player. I think he was our best player on Saturday night. He sees the ice so well, he moves the puck very quickly, and he’s got a knack for scoring as well. It hasn’t shown yet, but he does have a good knack for scoring. Eventually, it’ll take off here and he’ll get a couple of goals.”

The sophomore had just as much praise for his partner and credits Hamilton for the success he’s had as part of that tandem.

“Trevor’s helped me a lot,” Gobetz said. “He’s a great D-partner, he puts up points, he moves the puck out of our end pretty easily, and he’s really solid defensively. He helps me out a lot and I’m really happy to play with him.”

You can get a glimpse of Gobetz’s game this weekend when the No. 12 Nittany Lions take on No. 20 Michigan at Yost Ice Arena in Ann Arbor. Game one of the weekend series begins at 8 p.m. Friday night and will be telecast on the Big Ten Network.

About the Author

Mikey Mandarino

Mikey is a junior majoring in journalism and Onward State's Assistant Sports Editor. He is from Bedminster, NJ and is extremely obnoxious about all the best things his home state has to offer, including the music of Bruce Springsteen and the best diners in the world. If you're dying to see more hockey content on your timeline, you can follow Mikey on Twitter @mikey_mandarino. Send all hate mail/death threats to [email protected]

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