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Penn State Men’s Hockey’s Carter Schade To See More Action Without Christian Berger

On Monday, Penn State men’s hockey head coach Guy Gadowsky announced Christian Berger, the team’s captain and a senior defenseman, will miss “at least” the remainder of the regular season with a broken wrist.

He sustained the injury during the third period in Saturday’s 4-2 victory over then-No. 14 Michigan. Gadowsky added the long-term prognosis for Berger is promising, and he will not need surgery.

“It’s tough because he’s a guy that’s never missed the game,” Gadowsky said. “And he’s obviously our captain and such a big part of the culture and everything we’ve done on the ice.”

Berger’s injury is undoubtedly a huge loss to the Nittany Lions’ waning postseason aspirations. The team has its last home series of the season against No. 6 Wisconsin this weekend, followed by a trip to Ohio State to finish the campaign.

The Badgers swept the Nittany Lions in December, scoring 10 goals over the two-game stretch. The Badgers were dealt the same fate by the last-place Buckeyes last week, though. With one high-scoring team coming to town this week and a hot team on the horizon, it’s as big of an all-hands-on-deck situation as could be.

In the meantime, Berger will still be around the team. He skated on Monday, and roles aren’t expected to change leadership-wise off the ice.

Amid Berger’s absence, though, is the expectation sophomore Carter Schade will fill in. Schade, like Berger, is a left-shooting defenseman who plays tough.

Gadowsky referred to Schade as a “really good leader in his own right.”

Although he’s gritty and plays hard, Schade is still developing. He hasn’t had any goals or assists this season, which is partially due to lengthy injury-related absences. Still, this stretch of games is an ideal opportunity for him to grow even more.

Liam Souliere is confident in the sophomore and specifically spoke highly of Schade’s skating abilities and speed.

“He’s a phenomenal skater,” Souliere said. “He’s just so mobile out there on the ice. He’s kind of someone that you can trust to get back up and down the ice. It’s always good to have a skater like that back there, and I’m sure that he’ll take this opportunity to fill in his role and do great.”

Schade, a 5’11,” 185-pound defenseman, has had several pairings and roles this season. He’s sometimes used as an extra skater, while on other occasions he’s been paired with almost every defenseman on the team, including Berger. He didn’t play on Friday, but he played alongside Tanner Palocsik on the second defensive pairing on Saturday.

Although Berger’s injury is a blow, looking ahead with Schade increasingly in the fold is the right approach for Penn State to take.

For now, though, Schade has a great chance to develop. He’s a talented player, and this just might be what he needs to break out and show the program a glimpse into the future — with or without its captain.

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About the Author

Nolan Wick

Nolan is a third-year journalism major from Silver Spring, Maryland, which means he's an avid fan of all D.C. sports teams. If Nolan isn't writing about or watching sports, you can probably find him listening to all sorts of music or traveling. To keep up with Nolan, you can follow him on Twitter @nolan_wick or email him at [email protected].

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