Penn State Men’s Hockey’s Reese Laubach’s Clutch Scoring Ability A Bright Spot Amid Losses
Penn State men’s hockey freshman Reese Laubach has made a name for himself in Hockey Valley in his short time away from California. The San Jose native and Sharks prospect already has two goals in his pocket after six out-of-conference games.
The center has a strange tendency, though. Both goals he scored were game-tying and set the score to 4-4. Both were gritty, hustle plays in games where team speed just wasn’t up to par. Both were examples of exactly the type of play that wins games. But in both situations, the Nittany Lions couldn’t finish the comeback and ended up with a loss.
“There’s a lack of commitment to the team play but certainly, I think, there were good individual efforts to try to get points,” Gadowsky said of the goals.
There’s no question that Laubach’s ability to convert when it matters most is there. He manages to spark life into the Nittany Lion bench in games that it needed the most help, even if the comeback bids end up falling short. He displays pure grit as he charges the cage and demands the puck end up in the net.
Knotted back up at Pegula.pic.twitter.com/uQIligNz5u— Onward State (@OnwardState) October 21, 2023
“It was nice to get that goal and get that first one on your belt and hopefully build off it,” Laubach said after earning his career-first goal in the Nittany Lions’ loss to AIC.
Build off of it he did. His next score came on the penalty kill, a rare feat that Penn State has only pulled off an average of 1.4 times per season since 2018. He scored it in the same fashion as the first, creating an opportunity out of nothing to dig Penn State out of a deficit.
It’s a brand new game after the shorty from Laubach.— Onward State (@OnwardState) October 28, 2023
After the eventual loss to Alaska Anchorage, fellow freshman Aiden Fink praised Laubach’s play while adding that the Nittany Lions need to play better.
“It was a really nice shot by him. A really nice play on the blue line to poke the pass and go on the two-on-one, so obviously very excited for him,” Fink said. “But we’ve all got to do better.”
The whole locker room is committed to emulating the freshman center’s example and returning to Penn State’s identity before its first conference game against Notre Dame this weekend.
“The goal really isn’t that everybody has to be a little bit better. Everybody has to be a little better for the team,” Gadowsky said. “Just being better for yourself isn’t going to cut it.”
Throughout the season, the coaching staff, team captains, and key players have all echoed the sentiment that leadership can come from anyone on the bench. Laubach’s efforts aren’t going unnoticed, and the team buying into his level of hustle will be key to pulling the squad back together on the hunt for a conference title.
For his part, Laubach knows how much more tense the season will get from here.
“We know the Big Ten is an unreal conference,” Laubach said. “So to get those games under our belt before is a nice thing for sure to get up to speed.”
Moving forward, though, Laubach’s mindset is going to stay the same from game to game.
“You got to go into them all with the same mindset and just give everything,” he said.
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About the Author
Kotelnicki would be James Franklin’s sixth offensive coordinator at Penn State.
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The Blue-White Game returned to its traditional format in 2023.