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Penn State Hockey’s Speedy Max Sauvé Just Getting Started

Penn State men’s hockey wing Liam Folkes might as well be looking at a mirror whenever he talks to freshman Max Sauvé.

Both players are right-handed, a bit undersized (Folkes stands at 5’8″ and Sauvé is an inch taller), and have speed to burn. Head coach Guy Gadowsky said the freshman broke Penn State’s internal program record for skating the fastest lap at practice.

Like most of his teammates, Folkes certainly sees that speed in Sauvé’s game, but the similarities between the two don’t stop there.

“When Max first came on campus, he said that his dad told him, ‘You can’t hit what you can’t touch,’ and that’s exactly what my dad told me,” Folkes said. “It’s kind of funny how we’re similar players — I see a lot of myself in his game.”

The Acushnet, MA, native scored his first NCAA goal in his first NCAA game Saturday night. He jammed a rebound past Robert Morris’ goalie and added an assist during the Nittany Lions’ record-breaking 11-6 victory over the Colonials.

You couldn’t ask for a much better debut in terms of production, but outside of his two points, there was a lot to like about Sauvé’s game. A common cliché used about fast players is that their hands need to catch up to their feet, but this isn’t an issue for the freshman.

“He’s obviously fast, but he has really good hands, too,” captain Chase Berger said. “He controls the puck pretty well. Sometimes, you get a guy going and he just kind of throws the puck around, but I thought he made pretty good plays with the puck.”

Sauvé made his Pegula Ice Arena debut in the Nittany Lions’ exhibition matchup with Brock, but didn’t make his regular season debut until November 10 due to an undisclosed injury.

As an undersized player, Sauvé has always worked on his skating ability and feels that it’s one of the stronger aspects of his game. He models his game after NHL stars Johnny Gaudreau and Mat Barzal — two of the most electrifying players in the league. Barzal was named the NHL’s rookie of the year after scoring 85 points for the New York Islanders last season, and Gaudreau won the Hobey Baker Award while playing for Boston College in 2014 before becoming a star for the Flames.

Sauvé was a late addition to Penn State’s 2018 recruiting class after finishing his high school career with Avon Old Farms School in Connecticut. He originally committed to Vermont as a sophomore in high school, but decided to become a Nittany Lion when Guy Gadowsky gave him a call at the eleventh hour.

Avon Old Farms’ hockey history runs deep. John Gardner has been the head hockey coach at the school since 1975, and he’s coached several future NHL players during his career, including Conn Smythe Trophy playoff MVPs Brian Leetch and Jonathan Quick.

Sauvé’s never met the NHL alumni of his school, but he got a sense of its tradition during his time there.

“It was awesome playing for John Gardner,” he said. “He’s been there forever. I know he coached those pros like Leetch and Jonathan Quick, so it was definitely awesome.”

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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: michael.p.mandarino@gmail.com

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