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Chase McLane’s Return Adding More Depth To Penn State Men’s Hockey’s Offense

Penn State men’s hockey forward Chase McLane suffered a torn ACL in a 3-0 loss to Notre Dame on February 5 of last season. In the Nittany Lions’ last series against then-No. 1 Minnesota in Minneapolis, McLane finally made his return after many months of rehab.

McLane didn’t contribute much in his first game back, only tallying two shots on goal. What’s more memorable was his hit on Minnesota forward Logan Cooley, which sent an entire panel of glass shattering into thousands of pieces and unfortunately raining down on players and fans. Fortunately, nobody seemed to be seriously injured from the incident.

Take a look at this hit. Then, take another look. Replay it as many times as you want.

Some players score hat tricks when they return from injuries. Others perhaps do nothing at all. But few have broken the glass in their season debut.

In all seriousness, McLane’s return to the lineup is massive for Penn State, as it boosts the quality of play on the ice as well as the team’s morale. It’s always great to see a player return from a massive injury like a torn ACL, and McLane said it feels “unreal” to be back in the lineup.

“It just feels great, feels great to be back. All the hard work paid off, and I’m just happy to be back,” McLane said.

McLane’s rehab process had several steps. Initially, McLane did exercises to help regain his movement, and after five months he was able to skate again, which McLane said was “scary” at first.

Four months later at the nine-month mark, McLane said he could finally play again. Now, McLane feels “stronger than ever.”

“It was kind of a hidden blessing, I would say,” McLane said.

McLane’s return is a welcomed addition to an already-lethal Penn State offense. The Nittany Lions rank second in the Big Ten in goals scored per game, assists per game, and points per game.

Prior to last year’s season-ending injury, McLane was putting up great numbers for the Nittany Lions. The Michigan native had 13 points (three goals and 10 assists) in 30 games played.

McLane isn’t just a valuable asset for Penn State, but also for the Nashville Predators, who selected McLane with the No. 209 pick in the seventh round of the 2020 NHL Entry Draft. His presence is vital to Penn State, as he is the only NHL prospect on the team besides Kevin Wall, who was previously drafted by the Carolina Hurricanes.

Fellow forward Connor MacEachern, who scored two goals in game one against Minnesota, is also happy to have McLane back in the lineup.

“He’s a big part of our team,” MacEachern said. “He brings a different type of play that not many guys can bring in.”

Now with McLane back in the lineup, Penn State has another tall task this weekend. Penn State is set to face off against No. 17 Michigan State in a home series with games on Friday and Saturday scheduled for 7 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., respectively.

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About the Author

Nolan Wick

Nolan is a sophomore majoring in journalism. From the Maryland side of the D.C. suburbs, Nolan likes using Old Bay and is a diehard Washington sports fan, which isn't fun these days. If you want to keep in touch with Nolan, follow him on Instagram @_nolanwick or on Twitter @nolan_wick.

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