Looking Back On Andrew Sturtz’s First 100 Penn State Games
Penn State men’s hockey forward Andrew Sturtz reached the 100-game milestone during last weekend’s series against No. 18 Wisconsin, becoming the second Nittany Lion to play in his 100th career game this season.
Having missed just 4 games in his career, junior Andrew Sturtz becomes the 14th player in program history to reach 100 games tonight at Wisconsin. He is the third fastest all-time behind Chase Berger and all-time games played leader David Goodwin! #WeAre #AndyValley pic.twitter.com/kmrKkPyFju
— Penn State Men’s Hockey (@PennStateMHKY) January 27, 2018
The Buffalo native has missed just four games over the course of the past three seasons and has emerged as the team’s leading scorer this season. Sturtz is the consummate Penn State hockey player; his combination of personality, high-end skill in the offensive zone, and physicality has helped him grow into one of the team’s leaders and a fan favorite off the ice. He’s spent most of his time playing on center Chase Berger’s right wing, creating a dynamic that is nearly unparalleled in college hockey.
“Sturtzy’s a lot more flashy, I think, and I would say Chase a lot more calculated,” Gadowsky said of the duo. “They both yield great results. I don’t know why it works between them, but it always has. Sometimes you can’t explain synergy. Sometimes, as a coaching staff, we have guesses about which guys will play really well together and sometimes it just happens. That’s what happened between Chase and Sturtzy.”
Sturtz has scored a program-record 51 goals and added 44 assists in his first two and a half seasons at Penn State, growing steadily as both a goal-scorer and a playmaker. The man that transformed “Hockey Valley” into “Andy Valley” during his time on campus has embraced the opportunity to be a Nittany Lion and takes plenty of pride in reaching the 100-game mark.
“It means a lot,” he said. “Playing 100 games in the NCAA was something I didn’t think I’d do when I was growing up as a young hockey player. When I got to college hockey, my goal was just to get in the lineup, so to do that 100 times has been very special to me.”
As a freshman, Sturtz missed just one game and quickly established himself as the team’s leading goal scorer with 18 in 37 games played. He planted himself at the top of the team’s goal-scoring charts once again last season, tying Casey Bailey’s single-season record with 22 goals as the Nittany Lions won the Big Ten for the first time in program history. The right wing has added an element of playmaking to his arsenal this season: He currently leads the Nittany Lions in assists with 20 in 27 games.
Sturtz’s name is marked all over Penn State’s all-time record book. He ranks in the top ten of nearly every offensive record in program and single-season history for the Nittany Lions. His impact on the team extends far beyond his play on the ice, though. He’s become a leader and mentor for younger players on the roster as he’s grown during his time at Penn State.
“He sets a great example,” sophomore forward Denis Smirnov said. “Not only for me, but for the whole team. On the ice, off the ice, he’s a funny guy, always tries to cheer you up and help you. He sets an example of how to play and how to play hard. Even if he scores three points, he’ll still play hard.”
Sturtz and the No. 17 Nittany Lions are back in action this weekend with a Big Ten series against No. 2 Notre Dame. The teams will play under white-out conditions at 6:30 p.m. Friday at Pegula.