By Erin Neri, GoPSUsports.com student staff writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - For Penn State hockey freshman Adam Pilewicz, becoming a Nittany Lion was once a faraway dream. This season though, it's been a reality for the Pennsylvania native who has bled blue and white since the day he was born.
With both of Pilewicz's parents Penn State graduates, he can recall becoming quite familiar with campus at a young age, traveling to football games on weekends with his family.
"When coach Gadowsky called me [with an offer to play at Penn State], he gave me the weekend to think about it and I called my parents right away and we all agreed I was insane to not accept it on that phone call," Pilewicz said. "I'd be insane to not go to the place I've always wanted to go to, not too many people can say they're exactly where they want to be, but I can."
Both of the righty shooters' siblings are also Nittany Lions, including his brother Jake, a fifth-year pitcher on the baseball team and his sister Emily, a sophomore education major.
Pursuing hockey, Pilewicz spent a significant time away from home, with Penn State now providing an opportunity for the family to be closer than they have in a while.
"Especially the last two years, I haven't really seen them much at all so now that we're all back together in the same place we can hang out," Pilewicz said.
Prior to coming to Penn State, Pilewicz spent two seasons playing with the Johnstown Tomahawks in the NAHL, skating a total of 108 games. During Pilewicz's 2016-17 season, he appeared in 56 games and anchored the blue line with 27 points and a plus-32 rating, good for second-highest on the squad.
"It's a physical league," Pilewicz said reflecting on his time in the NAHL. "Everyone wants to win there and it's the same thing here."
Pilewicz also wore the "A" for Johnstown during the 2016-17 season, taking on a big leadership role, hoping to carry the skill into his first season as a Nittany Lion, even as a freshman.
"They made it pretty clear it doesn't matter how old you are here, everyone is on the team, so if you're a freshman or if you're a senior it doesn't matter," Pilewicz said. "Whatever you bring to the table is what you bring to the table and if you're a leader, you're a leader."
For Pilewicz, the early part of the season has been working toward emerging in a role on the team, with head coach Guy Gadowsky trying him out on both sides of the puck in practice. Looking to older members of the team for guidance, he's working toward finding where he fits best within the team dynamic, leaning on sophomore defenseman, Kris Myllari.
"Kris Myllari is my mentor and I've learned so much from him," Pilewicz said. "But I could pick out anyone on the team and tell you something they've taught me though."
Pilewicz also spends a lot of time with his fellow freshmen class. Other newcomers have already commented on the closeness of the group and Pilewicz only adds to the notion.
"We do everything together, from eating meals to movie nights," Pilewicz said. "We try to do that at least once a week but whenever we get together it's a good time."