Getting To Know Penn State Hockey Freshman Kevin Wall
Penn State men’s hockey’s spine will be made up of an experienced, strong core of veterans, but a host of talented newcomers have joined the team this year. Freshman right wing Kevin Wall is one of the headliners of Penn State’s incoming class.
Wall is a 6’1″, 190-pound forward who hails from Penfield, New York. Before joining Penn State, Wall spent the 2018-19 season in the British Columbia Hockey League with the Chilliwack Chiefs. He scored 31 goals and 64 points in 49 games played last season, and his performances were good enough to get him selected by the Carolina Hurricanes in the sixth round of the 2019 NHL Draft.
Wall described himself as a power-forward who “relies” on his shot. Although he said he doesn’t “have all the skill in the world,” he does think his vision is one of his strongest assets, and he also makes up for what he thinks he lacks in skill with size and strength.
He also said he tries to model his game and work ethic after Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn — two of the NHL’s premier forwards who can put the puck in the back of the net and impose their will physically on opponents when needed.
The freshman made his Penn State debut in exhibition action against the University of Ottawa on Sunday. He got a chance to skate on a line with senior Denis Smirnov and sophomore Aarne Talvitie during the Nittany Lions’ 5-0 exhibition victory at Pegula Ice Arena.
Wall got robbed by a beautiful glove save on one particular chance he had right in front of the net, but beyond that, he played fairly well.
“I thought all the freshmen played well,” head coach Guy Gadowsky said. “I think [Wall] would probably want that one in front of the net back. He’s a goal scorer, and that’s one he’d expect himself to bury. But in other aspects of the game, he looked really comfortable physically against a big, strong team of older guys. That didn’t seem to bother him one bit, so in that sense, his transition will be fine.”
Like many players, Wall said that adjusting to the pace of college hockey, which is notoriously faster-paced compared to other hockey leagues, will be one of his biggest adjustments as he begins his Penn State career. If a player like budding star Evan Barratt — who struggled at the start of his college hockey career — is any indication, however, that transition is more than possible.
Wall could make his Penn State regular season debut when the Nittany Lions open their season against Sacred Heart at 7 p.m. Friday at Pegula Ice Arena.
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