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Penn State’s Kevin Wall’s Homecoming Brings Hockey Career Full Circle

A native of Penfield, New York, located just 20 minutes away from the Rochester Institute of Technology, Kevin Wall returned to his home state to lead the Nittany Lions to a dominant 6-1 win over No. 20 RIT last weekend.

“It’s nice going home for a bit but after about two or three days you want to come back and hang out with the guys. It’s nice to get away [with] everyone going to see their families [to] spend some time with them over the holidays,” Wall said.

The senior scored two goals in the series-opening win to go along with an assist in a 3-1 win in game two to complete the sweep over the Tigers, earning himself Big Ten First Star of the Week honors. Wall enters the team’s upcoming series against Michigan State with 11 goals on the season, five short of his career high for goals in a season.

An incredible career that started in Penfield didn’t get off to a perfect start in State College, but Wall worked hard to steadily increase his numbers every season.

“I think freshman year was a little bit of a step back — just not playing every game — and I think that was the best thing for me,” said Wall. “I try to come to the rink every day and do my best and focus on other aspects of my game, not just scoring and stuff like that, but some defensive zone stuff.”

As a freshman, Wall registered just seven points in 26 games. A year ago, the Hurricanes’ draft pick had a career year scoring 16 goals and registering 13 assists. Now in his fourth season in Happy Valley, Wall is on pace to set new career highs while leading the No. 5-ranked Nittany Lions toward the top of the Big Ten standings.

Head coach Guy Gadowsky took some time to praise Wall’s overall development from the start of his Penn State career to now.

“He’s a great story because he’s a guy that really had to fight for every minute of ice time as a freshman, and he didn’t get nearly as many as he would have liked. But he kept working really hard,” Gadowsky said. “His attitude was good, he was positive, he wasn’t pouting, and he wasn’t taking days off. The development of Kevin Wall has been great, and when he focuses on just playing the hard-nosed team game, he’s excellent.”

Wall’s impact on the program and his personal growth has not only caught the eye of his coach but his teammates as well.

“I’ve seen him grow up. We’ve become very close friends throughout the year so it’s been fun to see him succeed and I’m really looking forward to seeing what’s to come,” Connor MacEachern said.

“He’s the best forward on our hockey team right now. What he’s done is incredible. He’s a guy that’s gotten himself in this position so I got a lot of respect for that,” said veteran defenseman and captain Paul DeNaples.

Wall and the Nittany Lions will aim to continue their winning ways in East Lansing against the Michigan State Spartans for a two-game series beginning at 7 p.m. on Friday, January 13.

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About the Author

Devon Craley

Devon is a junior studying sports journalism. He has the genuine misfortune of being a Philadelphia sports fan...IYKYK. Send your hot takes and preferably your freezing cold takes on Twitter to @devon3134. Devon is also your friendly, neighborhood State College movie nerd.

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