Penn State Hockey Officially Welcomes Nine Members Of 2020 Recruiting Class
Penn State hockey and head coach Guy Gadowsky officially announced the addition of nine new members to the program on Thursday afternoon.
Gadowsky’s recruiting haul in the 2020 cycle features six forwards, two defensemen, and a new goalie. Eight of the newest Nittany Lions are freshmen, and the program also added a graduate transfer in Maine forward Tim Doherty.
From freshmen with Nittany Lion and NHL bloodlines to a new goaltender of the future, here’s a roundup of Penn State’s newest crop of recruits:
Tim Doherty, forward
The biggest-ticket acquisition to Penn State hockey’s recruiting class was Tim Doherty — a graduate transfer who led Maine in scoring last season.
Doherty scored 37 points (14 goals, 23 assists) in 34 appearances for the Black Bears. He was also excellent in the faceoff dot by winning 54.4% of his draws last season, and he’ll wrap up his college hockey career for Guy Gadowsky’s side after scoring 77 points in 101 appearances with Maine.
Only one of Penn State’s top seven scorers from the 2019-20 season will be back in Happy Valley next season, so Doherty’s addition from the transfer market was a bit of a necessity for the team.
“Tim will bring some veteran leadership to our group this year,” head coach Guy Gadowsky said in a release. “He should be able to play in a lot of situations right away and help with some of the scoring we lost.”
Christian Berger, defenseman
Incoming freshman blueliner Christian Berger’s name might look a bit familiar, and that’s because his older brother, Chase, is one of the greatest players to lace them up at Pegula Ice Arena.
Chase Berger was a two-year captain who never missed a game for the Nittany Lions over his four-season career. His younger brother, Christian, is joining Penn State after a strong career in the USHL. He scored eight goals and 19 points for the Madison Capitols in 2018-19 before tacking on five goals and 17 assists for the Omaha Lancers this past season.
Christian will also be the third member of the Berger family to play for Guy Gadowsky. In addition to Chase, Jack Berger spent his college career at Princeton before Gadowsky made his move to Hockey Valley.
“Christian has a very complete game,” Gadowsky said in a release. “He excels in both ends of the ice and is a D who moves pucks very effectively and is tough to play against.”
Jimmy Dowd, defenseman
Like a few players throughout Penn State hockey’s history, right-shot defenseman Jimmy Dowd has NHL bloodlines.
His father, Jim, spent parts of 19 seasons in the pros, and he picked up a Stanley Cup ring with the New Jersey Devils in the shortened 1994-95 season. His son is a 5’9″, 161-pound defenseman from Point Pleasant Beach in New Jersey who spent the last two seasons of his career with the USHL’s Chicago Steel.
The younger Dowd wore an “A” as an alternate captain for the Steel last year, and he posted 30 points (five goals, 25 assists) in 98 appearances for the team over the past two seasons. Despite those lower numbers, Dowd definitely checks a lot of the boxes for a puck-moving defenseman thanks to his passing abilities and high hockey IQ.
“Penn State is everything I’ve ever dreamed of,” Dowd said in a release. “It is the full package with top tier athletics along with excellent academics.”
Liam Souliere, goaltender
Goaltender Liam Souliere was actually set to join the Nittany Lions last season, but he deferred his offer by a year after Peyton Jones returned for his senior year.
Now, Souliere will have the opportunity to compete right away to be Penn State’s starting goaltender. He and rising junior Oskar Autio will battle for starts in between the pipes, and Souliere’s status as a blue-chip prospect could help him win the No. 1 job despite Autio’s experience.
Souliere, who checks in at 5’11” and 180 pounds, had a shortened 2019-20 season due to injury. He posted a 9-6-0 record with a 3.37 goals-against average and .917 save percentage with the BCHL’s Victoria Grizzlies after shining throughout the 2018-19 season. The netminder went 26-8-0 and put up excellent goals-against average and save percentage marks of 2.13 and .930, respectively, for the CCHL’s Brockville Braves.
“Liam is a goaltender who has been one of the best everywhere he plays,” Gadowsky said in a release. “He is quick and handles rebounds very well.”
Jared Westcott, forward
The Sioux Falls Stampede have produced quite a few Penn State prospects, and Jared Westcott has the potential to become the latest Stampede alumnus to excel at the collegiate level.
Westcott was consistently one of Sioux Falls’ top performers throughout his two-season junior career. He helped the Stampede win the 2018-19 Clark Cup, which is awarded to the USHL’s champion, by scoring 20 goals and 25 assists in 66 appearances throughout the regular season and playoffs. He added 16 goals and 18 assists over 44 games in the 2019-20 season.
Rising junior defenseman Paul DeNaples, perhaps the steadiest blueliner on Penn State’s roster, is also an alumnus of the Sioux Fall Stampede.
“Ever since I was a kid, I always wanted to attend Penn State and play hockey,” Westcott said in a release. “The culture around Penn State is so amazing, and I’m so excited to be able to live out this dream!”
Xander Lamppa, forward
Last season, Xander Lamppa led the USHL’s Waterloo Black Hawks with 45 points (15 goals, 30 assists) in 49 games played. His production was a drastic improvement from the 2018-19 season, as he nearly doubled his totals in goals, assists, and points.
Lamppa is a 6’1″, 205-pound forward from Rochester, Minnesota. The wing left high school after two seasons to pursue a career in junior hockey with the NAHL’s Austin Bruins. He committed to Penn State on February 27.
“Xander is a big power forward who makes plays,” Gadowsky said in a release. “He is very creative for a kid his size and should be able to get bigger and stronger during his time here.”
Christian Sarlo, forward
Like some of his new classmates, incoming freshman Christian Sarlo broke out in the 2019-20 USHL season.
Sarlo served as an alternate captain for the Lincoln Stars, and he led the team in goal-scoring with 21 tallies throughout the year. The left-shot forward from Lynbrook, New York finished second among Lincoln skaters with 44 points last season after posting 25 points (12 goals, 13 assists) in 50 games in 2018-19.
Unlike many college hockey freshmen, Sarlo is 18 years old — a fact that makes him more of a “true freshman” than some of his teammates.
“Penn State is a tremendous school. With the facilities, coaching staff, style of play, and atmosphere Penn State offers, it was an easy choice,” Sarlo said in a release. “Something special is going on at Penn State, and I can’t wait to be a part of it.”
Chase McLane, forward
At 6’2″ and 183 pounds, right-shot forward Chase McLane definitely fits the bill of a power forward.
He spent the last three seasons of his hockey career in the USHL with the Tri-City Storm. McLane was injured for part of the 2019-20 season, but he was productive in the games he played by scoring 16 points (five goals, 11 assists) in 18 appearances. The Trenton, Michigan product’s career high scoring output in the USHL was a 22-point effort in the 2018-19 season, and he finished his junior career with 13 goals and 35 assists in exactly 100 games played.
“I chose Penn State because it felt like the right fit,” McLane said in a release. “The campus is beautiful, and it has everything I wanted in a school.”
Tyler Paquette, forward
Tyler Paquette continues the theme of Penn State’s sizeable recruiting class by checking in at 6’3″ and 200 pounds.
Paquette uses his size to play physically and drive the net, but he is also a strong skater who moves up and down the ice very well. The right-shot wing from Collegeville, Pennsylvania posted 44 points (20 goals, 24 assists) in 147 appearances with the USHL’s Des Moines Buccaneers and Green Bay Gamblers. It’s hard not to imagine him filling a role as a penalty-kill specialist and as a net-front menace in Hockey Valley.
“Tyler is a big power forward who skates very well,” Gadowsky said in a release. “By going hard to the net and playing physical, he should have a seamless transition to Big Ten college hockey.”
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