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Ben Schoen Leads Bright Future For Penn State Men’s Hockey

If you plan on following Penn State men’s hockey for the next few years, you’ll need to know Ben Schoen.

Schoen, along with the rest of the Nittany Lions’ freshman class, has come into Happy Valley and made an immediate impact. Together, Penn State’s freshmen have combined for 67 points on 22 goals and 45 assists. This season, Schoen sparked the freshmen’s success with six goals and nine assists. Even with just a couple of series remaining this year, these numbers hint at a bright future for the program. 

This weekend, the Nittany Lions take on the No. 5 Minnesota Gophers at Pegula Ice Arena for their final home series of the season. In their previous November matchups, the teams split a series in a couple of competitive games. Now, with Penn State attempting to build momentum for the upcoming Big Ten Tournament and Senior Night on tap for Saturday, the stakes are raised.

“[I am] super appreciative for all the seniors and all they’ve done,” Schoen said on Tuesday. “It’s going to be an emotional night, but we want to grab a couple of big wins for them.” 

As a few collegiate hockey careers come to an end, recruiting is key to helping Penn State fill those shoes. Fortunately, the Nittany Lions have a young team rife with potential that can build alongside incoming recruits.

As the recruiting trail picks up, Penn State figures to sell prospects on its “Hockey Valley” atmosphere — the same phenomenon that grabbed Schoen’s attention way back when.

“My first visit was something special,” Schoen recalled. “You can’t really understand the atmosphere until you come to a game live.”

Schoen, along with many other recruits, is able to experience the benefits of a true Division I hockey program. On gamedays, the stands are packed with a fourth-ranked average of nearly 6,000 fans — 103% of the arena’s capacity.

“It is the most fun and best place to play college hockey,” Schoen said. “It’s hard to go another route.” 

Despite being an underclassman, Schoen has offered immediate production. A couple key moments include a two-goal performance in Penn State’s January win over Wisconsin and the game-tying goal and shootout winner against Ohio State. Schoen credited his success to some of the older guys in the program helping him build confidence throughout the ups and downs of the season.

Early in Schoen’s youth career, he had the opportunity to play for Kris Draper, a 17-year NHL veteran. Draper played his entire career for the Detroit Red Wings and won four Stanley Cup championships. Schoen was surrounded by Draper’s teammates and received opportunities to play in Detroit’s Little Caesars Arena.

Before playing at Penn State, Schoen played in the United States Hockey League for the Youngstown Phantoms and the Tri-City Storm. He’d go on to register 78 points in 125 contests to garner the attention that eventually led to his college offer.

Schoen mentioned that this first year at Penn State has exceeded his expectations. Unsure of what to expect in terms of playing time, he is grateful for the opportunity awarded by head coach Guy Gadowsky, who’s not surprised by Schoen’s production in the slightest.

“He will fit right in with his hockey sense and playmaking ability,” Gadowsky said prior to the season.

Moving forward, Schoen’s future clearly seems bright. With nearly a full season’s worth of experience under his belt, Schoen will try to keep the momentum flowing as Penn State aims to end its season on a high note.

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About the Author

Theo Koch

Theo is a sophomore at Penn State majoring in marketing. He is from Colorado Springs, Colorado. Both of his parents attended Penn State, so he was born into this. He enjoys watching all sports, outdoor activities, and spending time with family and friends. Feel free to reach out to [email protected] with any comments, questions, or concerns.

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