Aarne Talvitie Could Become Penn State Hockey’s Next Great Goal Scorer

Straight out of Espoo, Finland’s second largest city, Penn State hockey’s Aarne Talvitie has already shown a hunger for goal-scoring, sharing many qualities with former Nittany Lion Andrew Sturtz.

Both players can shoot the puck with the best of them. Sturtz became Penn State’s all-time leader in goals by scoring 54 in three seasons in Hockey Valley. Talvitie finished last season with a whopping 34 goals for his hometown Espoo Blues’ junior-A team.

The Finn has shown off that goal-scoring ability on multiple fronts. He impressed at the New Jersey Devils’ development camp in July before scoring four goals in five games as Finland’s captain at the World Junior Summer Showcase.

Most of Talvitie’s goals are the product of his powerful wrist shot, something his teammates at Penn State have already noticed.

“He can definitely shoot the puck,” junior center Nikita Pavlychev said. “He has a missile of a shot.”

Aarne Talvitie’s power play goal against Team USA (White) at the 2018 World Junior Summer Showcase is a perfect example of his “missile” of a wrist shot.

Like Sturtz, Talvitie is not an easy player to face off against. However, the freshman has even more of a physical advantage; he’s listed as 5’10” and 198 pounds — two inches taller and more than 10 pounds heavier than Sturtz last year.

Sophomore defenseman Cole Hults regularly lines up against Talvitie in practice, something he doesn’t always enjoy.

“He’s a freak of nature,” Hults said. “He’s a beast in the weight room and takes very good care of his body. I’m excited to see him play against other players, because having 5’10”, 200 pounds of straight muscle coming down against you as a defender is not fun.”

No. 20 will be worn by a Finnish player for the fifth consecutive season, as Talvitie took the number over from the recently-graduated Erik Autio.

Despite having the skills and physique, Talvitie still has a lot to learn about becoming a well-rounded hockey player. The Finn will have the hurdle of quickly picking up the North American style of play, but Penn State captain Chase Berger has noticed Talvitie’s physical tools and seems to appreciate his willingness to work hard and learn.

“[Aarne’s] a machine,” Berger said. “He’s a thick guy. He skates well, he makes plays, but I think the thing I like the most is he’s open to learning. He works hard, he puts his nose down, so I’m really excited to see what he can do.”

Penn State center Evan Barratt has also played against Talvitie, but unlike Hults, he competed against him on the international stage at the World Junior Summer Showcase.

“I played against Aarne numerous times [with the United States’ junior program],” Barratt said. “He’s an unbelievable centerman. I mean, look at him. He’s massive, he’s a bowling ball. He’ll be just fine [in college].”

Talvitie spent his first exhibition game as a Nittany Lion on Chase Berger’s right wing, the spot Andrew Sturtz occupied for most of his three-season college career.

From head coach Guy Gadowsky’s point of view, Talvitie isn’t just a weapon around goal, a physical specimen, or merely a nice guy. Gadowsky sees something even more special, calling his new center a “throwback” because of his willingness to go to the dirty areas and play physically in every part of the ice.

“I think the educated hockey fans in the Centre County region are going to love this guy,” Gadowsky said. “He’s a throwback. He’s extremely powerful, he loves the defensive part of the game, he’s a goal scorer, he loves to play on the wall. For a guy that scores as much as he does, it’s amazing how excited he gets to play in the dirty areas and penalty killing.”

Only time will tell whether Talvitie will live up to his enormous potential, but it appears things could be looking up at Pegula. Perhaps those goal-lamps will light up as if Sturtz was still skating around Pegula — maybe even more this time around.

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About the Author

Mikey Mandarino

In the most upsetting turn of events, Mikey graduated from Penn State with a digital & print journalism degree in the spring of 2020. He covered Penn State football and served as an editor for Onward State from 2018 until his graduation. Mikey is from Bedminster, New Jersey, so naturally, he spends lots of time yelling about all the best things his home state has to offer. Mikey also loves to play golf, but he sucks at it because golf is really hard. If you, for some reason, feel compelled to see what Mikey has to say on the internet, follow him on Twitter @Mikey_Mandarino. You can also get in touch with Mikey via his big-boy email address: [email protected]

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