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Penn State Men’s Hockey Showing Improved Depth Through First Four Games

Penn State men’s hockey is off to a hot start with a 4-0 record that includes sweeps over Canisius and Mercyhurst.

To most fans that follow the team closely, this probably comes as no surprise. After the heartbreaking end to the team’s Big Ten Tournament run in Minnesota last season, the Nittany Lions only lost three players: Adam Pilewicz, Clayton Phillips, and Oskar Autio. Those are three great players who left big shoes to fill, but that’s a very small number compared to previous years. Now, Penn State is equipped with the depth it needs to run the table in the Big Ten.

This season, head coach Guy Gadowsky is carrying a roster of 28 players, which is the biggest roster he’s led in his career. For reference, the Nittany Lions rostered only 24 players last year. Gadowsky believes the team is much better off this season in terms of depth and quality than at this time last season.

“We have 27 healthy players right now, and that’s well over the number that we had last year at our best,” he said in his Monday press conference. “In terms of numbers [we have better depth], but we also feel that the quality of our players has improved in every position as well.”

Those 27 players exclude a very talented Chase McLane, the Nashville Predators prospect who is still recovering from his lower-body injury sustained last season. Once he’s healthy and back on the ice, which seems to be very soon, Penn State will be firing on all cylinders and improving its depth even more.

Junior defenseman Christian Berger also spoke about how Penn State’s returners have improved from last season.

“A lot of guys have gotten older, more experienced — more confident, stronger, bigger,” he said. “I think we’re just building off that, and we have a lot of experience together.”

Berger also went on to mention that Penn State’s newcomers have helped the team add a whole new layer of depth that it didn’t have before. Ture Linden, who transferred from RPI last spring, currently leads the team in points with eight so far this season by way of two goals and six assists. Transfer Ashton Calder has also found the back of the net with three goals this season.

Even though the idea of carrying a bigger roster seems like only a good thing for Gadowsky, it does present its fair share of challenges. With a roster so big, it’s difficult to get every player in the lineup, which some players might take the wrong way. For that reason, Gadowsky remains cautious that the larger roster could possibly do more harm than good.

“It’s a concern,” he said. “It absolutely is. I don’t think it’s one you can take lightly because it’s not a problem until it is. And if it is, it can be a really big one. I was a little unsure how to deal with it, and I’ve asked a lot of questions.”

As of right now, it doesn’t seem to be a problem, as Gadowsky said the players have been handling it very well. He also spoke to each class and asked their thoughts, which he said yielded positive results.

“In every season, there’s peaks and valleys,” he said. “I’m curious and concerned of what happens when things aren’t going so smoothly with that new dynamic for us.”

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About the Author

Frankie Marzano

Frankie is a senior accounting and economics major from Long Island, NY. You can probably recognize him as the typical Italian-American with slicked back black hair. He is an avid fan of the New York Rangers and Mets, along with every Penn State Athletics team. Follow him on Twitter @frankiemarzano for obnoxious amounts of Rangers and Penn State content or email him at [email protected]

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