Penn State Men’s Hockey’s 2021-22 Preview: Offense
It’s almost that time of the year, folks.
Penn State men’s hockey will hit the ice in a couple of weeks to kick off its season against Long Island University on Sunday, October 3. As the first puck drop approaches, it’s time to look ahead at how the Nittany Lions will perform this season. To start this year’s preview, let’s take a look at Penn State’s offense.
While they were far from the worst, the Nittany Lions didn’t have much of an impressive-scoring offense last season with 2.95 goals a game. Even though the team played the fewest games in the Big Ten due to its 34-day COVID-19 hiatus, Penn State ranked fifth in the Big Ten in both cumulative goals (65) and assists (103).
Penn State lost only three players on the offensive front, including one of the program’s all-time best scorers.
All-time leader in points per game and former team captain Alex Limoges graduated and signed with the AHL’s San Diego Gulls. His 51 goals are tied for the third-most all-time in the program, while his 74 assists rank fourth all-time. Limoges’ best season came as a sophomore when he finished the year tied for the national lead with 50 points and leading the Big Ten with 23 goals.
Aarne Talvitie was another notable departure from the forward group. Perhaps one of Penn State’s most dynamic playmakers last year, Talvitie graduated with 18 career goals and 30 career assists and signed a two-year entry-level contract with the New Jersey Devils.
Other departures from the Nittany Lions include Tim Doherty, Sam Sternschein, Max Suave, and Bobby Hampton. Doherty, a graduate transfer from Maine, was one of Penn State’s best players last season, as he finished second on the team in goals (eight) and third on the team in assists (10) and points (18).
The Returning Leaders
The Nittany Lions have a solid group of returning talent on the offensive side of the puck. Juniors Connor McMenamin and Kevin Wall, plus sophomore Christian Sarlo, highlight the returning players.
McMenamin is coming off his best season in a Penn State uniform. The Collegeville native skated in all 22 games for the Nittany Lions while finishing fourth on the team in points (15) and assists (nine).
The newly named alternate captain also has a knack for scoring game-winning goals after leading the team with two last season and registering three in his freshman campaign. Perhaps one of the best leaders both on and off the ice, McMenamin will certainly be one of the most influential forwards on the team this season.
Wall is going to serve as another one of Penn State’s most important players on offense this season. The Hurricanes prospect set career records in every offensive category last season by tallying eight goals and 11 assists to finish second on the team with 19 points.
Sarlo will also be pushed into a key role for the Nittany Lions this year. The sophomore led all freshmen and finished sixth on the team in scoring with five goals and six assists for 11 points last season. The New York native ended his freshman campaign on a high note with a three-game point streak.
Those Who Need To Step Up
There are going to be a lot of question marks surrounding the forward group on this team, as most of them haven’t had the opportunity to showcase their skills in a regular season. Sophomore Chase McLane is coming off a solid freshman campaign, but he’ll likely need to play a key role this season.
The Nashville Predators prospect notched three goals and two assists for five points last season. Despite the low numbers, McLane has proven that he has a lot of talent on the ice. He has a great chance to make a very big impact on the team this winter.
Guy Gadowsky has a very talented incoming class to work with this season. Transfer forward Ben Copeland highlights the incoming group following success at Colorado College, where he racked up 50 points in 97 games.
Perhaps one of the best playmakers in the class, Ben Choen may be able to make an immediate impact on the team this season. The 5’8″ forward spent his last season playing for the USHL’s Youngstown Phantoms and Tri-City Storm. The incoming freshman scored 17 goals and 13 assists in 41 games played between the two clubs.
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About the Author
Take Penn State against the spread, folks.
Take Penn State against the spread, folks.
Penn State’s own herbarium hosts specimens dating back to the days of Evan Pugh.
JoePa was once “furious” about not being able to leave Penn State for sunny California.
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