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‘He Plays The Right Way’: Connor McMenamin Breaks Out For Penn State Men’s Hockey

Collegeville, Pennsylvania native Connor McMenamin had a career night last Friday when Penn State men’s hockey took down then-No. 12 Wisconsin in an impressive 5-4 upset.

McMenamin’s five points in the victory were a career-best for the young sophomore. His four assists tied Alex Limoges and Andrew Sturtz’s single–game records, while his five points tied a single-game record for points alongside Sturtz.

The forward credited his linemates, Aarne Talvitie and Kevin Wall, for his success. The trio’s bond on and off the ice clearly played a role in their chemistry this season

“We were put together from the start and we’ve been fortunate enough to stay together,” McMenamin said. “I think where it really stems from is…We’re really, really good friends off the ice, and I think it translates over to the ice. We just know where each other is going to be. The communication factor for our line is always huge.”

Talvitie and Wall have had successful seasons in their own rights, as Talvitie put up his fourth multi-point game of the season against the Badgers. That marks his 13th career multi-point game, and his second career multi-goal game, both of which he earned this season. Last Friday, Talvitie also tied his career-high in single-game points with three, two goals and one assist, for the fourth time in his career.

A Carolina Hurricanes prospect, Wall secured his fifth multi-point game of the season and sixth of his career, getting one goal and one assist on Friday night.

“I was in the right place at the right time a couple times,” McMenamin said. “I got to give all my credit to them.”

To head coach Guy Gadowsky, McMenamin’s five points and four assists are more than the result of a lucky night.

“He gets points because he plays the right way,” Gadowsky said. “If you ask the players on the team and the coaching staff who is the best defensive forward, his name – I promise – will be brought up.”

McMenamin’s performance on the ice garnered him the coveted Thor’s Hammer. Thor’s Hammer is given to the player who showed grit on the ice – in honor of Gary Engelthaler, a student who used to go to games dressed as Thor. Engelthaler had spina bifida, and as a result, had three major surgeries and dealt with countless obstacles.

Engelthaler’s journey inspired the team, and thus Thor’s Hammer is given to the player to best exemplifies Engelthaler’s traits on the ice.

“Not necessarily because of the points, but because of those reasons: mental toughness, perseverance, doing the right thing,” Gadowsky said.

McMenamin will try to build on his recent success just as the Nittany Lions continue to hit their stride. Gadowsky’s group has now won four of its last five games, and its 8-8 record now puts it right back in the middle of the pack in the Big Ten.

The Nittany Lions will face another test when they host Notre Dame at Pegula Ice Arena Thursday.

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About the Author

Acacia Aster Broder

Acacia is a junior from Philadelphia majoring in digital and print journalism with a sports certificate. Although she considers herself a Philadelphian at heart, she is a Toronto and Seattle sports fan. Follow her on Twitter @acaciaaster or Instagram @acaciaastr for hockey takes and mediocre analysis.

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