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Freshmen Making an Impact on the Road

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By Maria Canales, Student Staff Writer

SOUTH BEND, Ind. - It was a power play goal that put Penn State (3-1-1) on the board in the first period Friday night at No.3/4 Notre Dame (3-2-1-). Freshman forward Nikita Pavlychev secured the puck off a deflection from sophomore forward Chase Berger and found the back of the net, giving the Nittany Lions a 1-0 lead.

It was an outstanding play by the 6-foot-7 freshman, who has said before he wants to be known for something other than his size and physicality.

During Friday night's matchup, fellow freshman forward Denis Smirnov continued to put in the hard work and got the assist on two Dylan Richard goals in the second period.

The Nittany Lions tied the game with the Fighting Irish, 3-3. 

"We didn't have our best game Friday but we certainly came away from it knowing that we can play with Notre Dame," head coach Guy Gadowsky said.  "That gave us a lot of confidence, including all of our freshmen."

Saturday's game saw further progress by the freshmen class, who took what they saw during Friday's contest and applied it to the second showdown of the weekend.

Following a goal from forward James Robinson, freshman forward Nate Sucese gave the Nittany Lions the 2-1 lead, scoring at the beginning of the third period. Despite the Irish tying the game, the Nittany Lions were confident heading into overtime. 

A goal from sophomore forward Andrew Sturtz, assisted by two freshmen, secured Penn State's 3-2 overtime win. Forward Denis Smirnov and goaltender Peyton Jones were credited with the assists.

Jones, in addition to his assist, had an outstanding weekend between the pipes. The Langhorne, Pennsylvania native made 30 saves Friday, including several clutch saves during overtime. Again facing down a relentless Notre Dame offense on Saturday, Jones made 26 saves.

"[Peyton Jones] played extremely calm, that was a huge save [in overtime]," Gadowsky said following Friday's game. "If you watch him nothing bothers him and I think that is a tremendous quality in a goalie."

The Nittany Lions have grown significantly as a team in just the three road contests so far this season. Now Penn State comes home for five home series before seeing a road matchup again in January.

Freshman Feature: Gober a Determined Forward

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By Maria Canales, Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - When he walked into the Bloomington Thunder locker room for the first time in 2014, freshman forward Blake Gober expected to see a familiar number on the back of his jersey. Growing up wearing the No. 19, Gober was thrown a curve ball when the Thunder assigned him No. 23. 

Gober was playing on the inaugural Thunder team during the 2014-15 season, which was an opportunity he had worked relentlessly for.

"I was never drafted into the USHL and I went to a bunch of camps and never made a team," Gober said.

Gober played during the 2013-14 season for the Chilliwack Chiefs of the British Columbia Hockey League, before the opportunity arose to try out for the newest USHL team. 

The 5-foot-8 forward played more than 100 games for the Thunder throughout the two seasons he spent in Bloomington, Illinois. The Thunder named him an assistant captain during his second campaign. While in Bloomington, Gober found the found the back of the net 22 times and provided 25 assists, making his way on to the score sheet in more than 40 percent of the Thunder's games.

Gober also brings a physical aspect to the ice, having recorded 191 penalty minutes in the USHL.

Since USHL teams initially overlooked him, Gober committed himself to improving on the ice and being an adaptive member of whichever team he is on. He explained that he becomes whatever kind of player the team needs at the time, which is a characteristic that he credits to his success.

"I've changed the way I play over time," Gober said. "I do what is needed for the team."

As part of his evolving style, Gober has looked up to many professional hockey players over the years, taking aspects of their game and molding them to his own. Two of his favorite players are Steve Yzerman and Mike Modano, both known for their consistency and leadership. 

As a child, Gober admired Yzerman, the Detroit Red Wings captain and three-time Stanley Cup Champion, which is why he wore No. 19 throughout youth hockey. He now wears No. 23 for the Nittany Lions. 

Gober, a native of Colleyville, Texas, started watching the Dallas Stars after he started playing hockey, which began with a video game.

"I started because my buddy got a video game on his computer and asked me if I wanted to play hockey," Gober said. "He quit a week later but I stuck with it."

Gober grew up watching Modano play for his hometown Stars. He explained that when the Stars won the Stanley Cup in 1999, Texas saw a surge in young hockey players, including Gober, who laced up his first pair of skates when he was five.

"When I first started, hockey wasn't very big down there," Gober said. "I think there was only one AAA team that traveled all over and played against other teams. Then when I was growing up I was on a team that went to a national championship, it's growing a lot now."

Gober is already making a name for himself in collegiate hockey. He scored an empty net goal in his first appearance for the Nittany Lions, a win over St. Lawrence.

Freshman Feature: Myllari a Well-Rounded Defenseman

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By Maria Canales, Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Hockey parents are no strangers to long hours in the car on the way to hockey practices and games. Freshman defenseman Kris Myllari's parents Roy and Dawn, are no different.

The dedicated pair has been to all three home contests for the Nittany Lions so far this season, including Penn State's win over St. Lawrence last Thursday night.

"They've got a pretty decent drive, so for them to come down was awesome," Myllari said.

The drive from the Ottawa suburb of Kanata, Ontario is no walk in the park. In fact, it takes a little more than seven hours to reach Hockey Valley. 

Myllari's parents have been instrumental in their son's success in hockey. Both Roy and Dawn have been a constant support system for their son, helping him navigate the waters of Junior hockey. Myllari most recently played for the Youngstown Phantoms of the USHL from 2014-16.

Roy, a hockey player himself, played in the Ontario Hockey League and the British Hockey League during the 1980's. He won the 1984 Memorial Cup with the Ottawa 67's.

Myllari's parents have also been very supportive of their son's education, so when the opportunity for Myllari to attend college with a hockey scholarship, the decision was a no-brainer. 

"I thought being able to come to a big school like this I'd get a great education and have the resources to become a better hockey player," Myllari said.

Head coach Guy Gadowsky has always been adamant about making his players better on the and preparing them for the professional world once hockey is over. 

"Coach has established a great culture," Myllari said. "All the guys he brings in, from the seniors to the freshmen, I think they all get along well and there's a culture that doing well in school is a good thing. The guys on this team compete to do well in school, it's not something they blow off." 

Being a well-rounded student-athlete is something not only the hockey program, but also, something all of Penn State Athletics has strived for over the years. Penn State is consistently ranked above the national average when it comes to athlete graduation rates.

Myllari is simply appreciative of the opportunity he has to further his hockey skills alongside his education and isn't something he'll take for granted. 

"I think it's very important," Myllari said. "Even if you're fortunate enough to play 20 years of professional hockey you're still going to need a job afterward, so your education is very important." 

This weekend, the Nittany Lions travel to Mercyhurst to face off Friday night at 7 p.m.

"We're going to stick with our game plan," Myllari said. "But just one game, we're just going to leave it all out on the ice, there's nothing you have to say before. Just go, give it all you've got, empty the tank and see what the scoreboard says at the end." 

Men's Ice Hockey Weekly Check-In

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State men's hockey head coach Guy Gadowsky took time to meet with Brian Tripp to preview the Nittany Lions' first roadtrip of the season, as they prepare to take on Mercyhurst Friday at Erie Insurance Arena. Nittany Lions Kevin Kerr and Dylan Richard also took time to talk about week one in review as well as the upcoming Friday matchup in Erie. 

Check out the updates from each session below. 

Guy Gadowsky

Kerr and Richard

Early Games Provide Learning Opportunity

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By Maria Canales, Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - After a stellar victory Thursday night, the Penn State men's hockey team (1-1) was unable to maintain its momentum and lost to No. 16 St. Lawrence 6-3 Friday night.

Down three goals early in the first period, Penn State had to constantly be on the attack.

"Obviously we're a young team and being a sophomore I try to come in an lead the way in the locker room and make sure we come out every night and play tough," sophomore forward Andrew Sturtz said. "I feel like for the first five to 10 minutes there, we just did not do that. It was tough to come back, we did pour it on for a little bit which was nice to see but obviously we need to better, especially off the start."

Despite the loss, there are several positives head coach Guy Gadowsky pointed out about his team.

A strong performance from the line made up of sophomores Alec Marsh, Chase Berger and Sturtz anchored Friday night's action.

The veteran line is comprised of three skaters known for making plays, which Sturtz credits to their synergy. Sturtz noted that since the three of them all play a similar style, that's what makes them effective on the ice.

"I love playing with those guys," Sturtz said. "They both play the style I play, they want to get pucks deep and we want to work the other team's [defense]."

Sturtz had a goal Friday night, while he and Berger each had an assist. Sturtz's assist was on sophomore Vince Pedrie's lone goal of the night in the second period.

Another high point for the Nittany Lions was the performance of junior defenseman Erik Autio. 

"I actually thought there were some real positives in the power play to be honest with you," Gadowsky said. "We did get a couple and then Erik Autio he made a couple tremendous saves."

Gadowsky was pleased with Autio's ability to make a vital save through traffic in front of the net during the game, but noted that three shots on five power plays is not the dynamic fans have come to know Penn State for.

The silver lining was however, that on the shots the Nittany Lions did get, they were smart plays.

"We had chances, we had shots, we had second opportunities, and that's what we like to see," Gadowsky said.

Despite splitting the series, the Nittany Lions are ready to learn from this weekend and move forward. Early season games, although important, provide the opportunity to lay the groundwork for following contests. 

A single-game showdown next weekend at Mercyhurst provides the Lions an opportunity to get their first road win of the season.
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Welcome back to our live interactive coverage for the 2016-17 Penn State men's hockey season. The Nittany Lions are back in action against No. 16 St. Lawrence to Hockey Valley closing out the two-game series Friday evening at Pegula Ice Arena.

Live Blog Men's Hockey Live Blog - Penn State vs. St. Lawrence (10/7/16)

Freshman Feature: Folkes, From Ontario to Hockey Valley

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By Maria Canales, Student Staff Writer

 UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Growing up in Scarborough, Ontario, freshman forward Liam Folkes and his twin brother Tre split their time between playing hockey and running track and field. The duo had been skating since they were three years old but didn't start organized hockey until they were seven. 

Folkes' father, Carl, competed for Team Canada in the 1988 Olympics in Seoul. He competed in the 4 x 400 meter relay.

The 5-foot-8-inch center explained that his father had a significant influence on his athletic career, both inspiring him to play the sports that he did and by giving him advice when it came to training.

"The work ethic and the commitment you have to put in for both sports is similar," Folkes said. "I think cardio, of course, but in hockey it's a bit different because you can glide, in running if you stop your feet you're obviously not moving."

In high school however, playing two sports became too difficult and the Folkes brothers had to decide which sport to dedicate their time to. They both chose hockey. 

Folkes liked the team aspect of hockey, and credits the camaraderie as being a big influence on picking the sport.

"In running you're pretty much running against yourself and it's all timed and you have to be very focused and I didn't really like that," Folkes said. "I enjoyed being part of a team."

Both Liam and Tre played on the same teams growing up, most recently spending the 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons playing for the Brockville Braves of the Central Canada Hockey League. 

This season, Tre is playing for the Smith Falls Bears of the Central Canada Hockey League. Smith Falls, Ontario is more than a six hour drive from State College, making this the farthest the brothers have even been from one another.

Folkes explained that although it's unusual being this far from family, he speaks with his brother every day, and emphasized how important his family has been during both of their journeys through the sport. 

On the ice for Penn State Folkes wears the No. 26, because his birthday is on Feb. 26.  Wearing that number hasn't always been the case. Prior to playing Junior hockey, he wore No. 48 because his favorite player was Daniel Briere. 

Folkes has already started to make his own mark on Penn State Hockey. During Thursday night's contest against St. Lawrence, Folkes was vital in reading the play the led to a David Thompson goal. Folkes, who heard Thompson tapping his stick in anticipation of the puck, passed and was credited the assist on the goal, which gave the Lions a 2-1 lead in the first period.

"Folkes is a right-hander and for a lefty to make that play would have been a lot easier," head coach Guy Gadowsky said. "He actually had to pull up and look. His vision was excellent. That's a tough play for a righty to see and he saw it and made a great play, good finish. That was a hockey player's play right there."

Penn State Starts Season Strong

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By Maria Canales, Student Staff Writer


UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State men's ice hockey (1-0) defeated No. 16 St. Lawrence (0-1), 4-2 Thursday night at Pegula Ice Arena. The victory against the Saints comes in the Lion's opening contest of the season. 

Penn State went down early as Drew Smolcynski bested freshman goaltender Peyton Jones (Langhorn, Pa.), 7:51 into the first period, and the first start of Jones' career. Just over two minutes later Dylan Richard (Sherwood Park, Alb.) found the back of the net, with assists from debutant Denis Smirnov (Moscow, Russia) and senior David Goodwin (Des Peres, Mo.). 

Richard, who had suffered some injuries last year, was pleased with his goal.

"I thought it was nice, it's been a long time coming for me," Richard said. 

The Lions weren't done lighting the lamp, as a shot from senior David Thompson (Glen Mills, Pa.) made it past Saints goaltender Kyle Hayton at the 13:21 mark. Assists on Thompson's goal came from two freshman, Liam Folkes (Scarborough, Ont.) and Brandon Biro (Sherwood Park, Alb.). The first period ended 2-1 in favor of the Lions, with three freshman having found their way onto the score sheet, tallying the first points of their young careers.

The second period was dominated by two Vince Pedrie (Rochester, Mn.) penalties, tripping at 14:36, and roughing at 17:08. Sturtz scored a shorthanded goal while Pedrie was serving his first two minute penalty, off of a rebound from a Chase Berger (St. Louis, Mo.) shot. The second assist on Sturtz's shorthanded goal came from junior blue liner Eric Autio (Espoo, Finland).

"I was really happy with the composure of Peyton Jones," said head coach Guy Gadowsky. "When they had us on our heels a little bit I thought he looked extremely composed." 

Gadowsky said that the Thor hammer, given to the player who made an impact during the game, was given to Jones after the game. 

Late in the third period St. Lawrence pulled Hayton for a sixth skater. Freshman Blake Gober (Colleyville, Tx.) took advantage of the empty net, sliding home the Lions' fourth and final goal of the night, assisted by Trevor Hamilton (Grosse Pointe Farms, Mi.).

The fans in attendance, in particular those in the Roar Zone, were in a frenzy as the final 13 seconds ticked off the clock.

The Nittany Lions had defeated a ranked opponent, at home, in their first game of the season. A freshman goaltender claimed his first victory in a Lions sweater, and four freshmen contributed positively on the score sheet, notching the first points of their careers.  

"Obviously it was great to get the NCAA games going again," Gadowsky said. "It was a great atmosphere, I thought that we played actually a pretty sound game for the first two periods and then I think St. Lawrence picked it up a notch in the third." 

The Nittany Lions are back at it again Friday night at Pegula Ice Arena, once again facing the St. Lawrence Saints.

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Welcome to our live interactive coverage for the 2016-17 Penn State men's hockey season. The Nittany Lions welcome No. 16 St. Lawrence to Hockey Valley for the first of a two-game series Thursday evening evening kicking off the 2016-17 regular season slate at Pegula Ice Arena.

Live Blog Men's Hockey Live Blog - Penn State vs. St. Lawrence (10/6/16)

Men's Ice Hockey Weekly Check-In

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State men's hockey head coach Guy Gadowsky took time to meet with Brian Tripp to preview the Nittany Lion's official season opener against St. Lawrence, which begins with a two-game series set for Thursday, Oct. 6 and Friday, Oct. 7 in Pegula Ice Area. Nittany Lions David Goodwin, Erik Autio and Peyton Jones also took time to talk 2016-17 with Tripp. 

Check out the updates from each session below. 

Goodwin, Autio, Jones

Guy Gadowsky