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Penn State Weekly Check In

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By Erin Neri, student staff writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - After an exciting and successful weekend, Penn State men's hockey returns to Pegula Ice Arena looking to extend its 10-game unbeaten streak this weekend.

For the No. 13 Nittany Lions, the matchup brings yet another exciting opportunity to build on growing momentum, taking on one of the top-ranked teams in the country in No. 6 Ohio State.

"Friday certainly is exciting, a top team in the nation coming to our barn is just a great opportunity," Penn State head coach Guy Gadowsky said. "They're playing really well and we're playing well so it should be a high quality, intense hockey game." 

The two teams last met in Columbus when the Blue and White took the series in dramatic fashion. It was junior Andrew Sturtz who scored the game-tying goal with merely moments left on the clock in the third period of game one. The Nittany Lions then went on snag the extra point with a shootout win, along with three points the next night in a 4-0 victory.

Even with the impressive early December outings, Penn State is in no way preparing any differently because of how the last series ended.

"It's going to be another hard game and another hard weekend for us," freshman Evan Barratt said. "We know we played them hard and got two wins against them earlier in the year and now it's a whole new weekend. We don't look at that, we look at what's coming up here."

Ohio State is working on a streak of their own, completing three sweeps against the last three teams they have faced, including both Michigan State and Minnesota, two teams the Nittany Lions have split with in their first meetings of the season.

Not surprisingly though, Penn State is sticking to its program philosophy, focusing on improving internally to emerge successful during this upcoming series.

"We know they are a really good team, we've seen them play well against a lot of other good teams," senior captain Erik Autio said. "But I think we're still focused on our game and that's how we'll beat them this weekend."

Heading into the back stretch of the season, things can heat up quickly with the potential for postseason approaching.

Penn State currently sits just below Ohio State in Big Ten rankings at No. 3, with Notre Dame leading the conference. Although Penn State has made a point to note they don't pay much attention to any sort of rankings, it is well-known just how important the outcome of this series can be once March rolls around. 

"The nature of the Big Ten and playing Big Ten teams, there's just something about it, there's a different energy in the crowd and there's a different energy on the ice - don't know why, but there just is," senior captain James Robinson said. "Let alone Ohio State, they're a team we like to beat and a team I don't like to get beaten by, so I'm sure it's going to be an amped up weekend."

Folkes Lifts Penn State Past Wisconsin

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - For Penn State hockey fans, Saturday night seemed like an awfully familiar ending. Meeting Wisconsin for the first time since last year's historic Big Ten Championship victory, the Nittany Lions once again came through with the win.

Much like the last time out though, it was sophomore forward Liam Folkes who secured the outcome.

Under different circumstances of course, for Folkes there wasn't much to it and for Penn State head coach Guy Gadowsky, it's easy - he's just a clutch kid.

Before even arriving at the shootout, Penn State had to weather its share of adversity. From playing without its top defenseman to a game-winning overtime goal that would eventually be called off, the feeling of familiarity extended further than Folkes in the final minutes of the night.

"I think that locker room prides itself on being a mentally tough team and I think they showed it," Gadowsky said. "That's a tough thing to do. We had to regroup a few times and obviously thinking that the game was over, or overtime was over, with three-and-a-half minutes to go, having to come back and play hard - I do, I give them a lot of credit."

Penn State encountered its first challenge of the night after senior defenseman Trevor Hamilton was sent off for a five-minute major and a game misconduct fewer than 20 seconds in.

Despite the less than ideal start, the Nittany Lions fought off the Wisconsin power play, quickly answering with none other than Folkes, who slipped the puck past Wisconsin's Kyle Hayton on the Penn State power play for his seventh goal of the season.

It was Gadowsky who did not leave the podium postgame without giving credit to Penn State's five defensemen who stepped up in Hamilton's absence.

"All five of them especially, that's a big effort, especially so early," Gadowsky said. "It's not like they just did it for a period, basically it was 59-and-a-half minutes. Huge effort. All of them were put in positions that they aren't normally used too. All played with new people. I think you have to give them a lot of credit."

Although the Badgers answered to tie the score, freshman forward Sam Sternschein netted the go-ahead, as the puck pinged the crossbar before going in to give Penn State the advantage.

Less than a minute into the third period, junior forward Andrew Sturtz slid the puck past Hayton just far enough for junior forward Chase Berger to finish it off to give the Nittany Lions the 3-1 lead.

Penn State maintained composure as the Badgers cut it to one with 16:17 left in regulation, but found itself headed to overtime after Wisconsin placed the equalizer past the shoulder of sophomore goalie Peyton Jones with 1:52 remaining in the third period.

The Nittany Lions came just short of ending it in overtime as Penn State's game-winner was waved off, forcing the shootout with the 3-3 tie going in the books to extend a now 10-game unbeaten streak.

It was Folkes of course who was called upon to secure the extra point. Gadowsky of course, noted postgame that the memory of last year's ending against the Badgers was on his mind.

"There's a couple of reasons, but that's one of them," Gadowsky said with a smile. "The biggest reason is he's clutch. It wasn't just Wisconsin, he would have gone no matter who we were playing, but that's part of it."

For Folkes though, recreating his heroics wasn't top of mind as he took to the ice.

"I wanted to shoot it but then I went down, faked the shot and he never bit," Folkes said. "Then obviously, I went around him and it worked out."

Seated alongside Folkes in the postgame media room was Sturtz, who found no reason for lasting disappointment in the disallowed overtime goal. 

"It's obviously tough, but good teams find a way to win and that's what we did here tonight," Sturtz said. "I think we're making a lot of strides in becoming a good team and I think it's happening at the right time."

For Gadowsky, it was Penn State's ability to navigate the challenges that has him taking the most from week one back from a nearly month-long break.

"I think it was a really gutsy tie," Gadowsky said. "Obviously they came back, so it could have been a win but I'm happy with the point, especially how it started."

James Robinson: Reliable and Resilient

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By Andy Kuros, student staff writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - It's not often a player is unanimously voted to be a team captain after hardly seeing the ice the season before.

This was the case for Penn State forward James Robinson, who saw his sophomore season cut short after he suffered a season-ending injury in the season opener.

"I'm not going to lie, it was tough," Robinson said.

After a productive freshman campaign where he appeared in 32 games registering eight points with a plus-three rating, the setback represented a huge blow to not only Robinson, but the team.

Although he faced obstacles and hardships throughout his recovery, Robinson was determined to bounce back, crediting numerous others for helping him overcome his injury and allowing him to make a comeback.

"I had great support from the school and all my teammates, which made it a lot easier," Robinson said.

Despite the loss of his sophomore season, Robinson was still voted by teammates to serve as a Nittany Lion alternate captain as a junior. The selection of course, was a testament to his incredible work ethic and resiliency.

Fellow teammate and forward Andrew Sturtz, who was a freshman at the time, praised Robinson for the way he dealt with his injury.

"When he got sidelined, we saw how good of a leader he was," Sturtz said. "He handled himself very well and his attitude never changed. That says a lot about him as a player and a person."

For Sturtz, it was the way Robinson rebounded from injury that proved to his teammates the type of leadership qualities he has.

Following a solid season his junior year, Robinson once again got picked by his teammates to lead the team, this time as a Penn State hockey captain.

"It's an incredible honor and I'm extremely humbled," Robinson stated.

Now a senior with his injury in the rear-view mirror, Robinson is stronger than ever. He has already matched a career high in assists and is on his way to setting a new personal best in goals scored.

Robinson notched three goals in a 7-5 win over Mercyhurst earlier this year, marking just the fifth hat trick in school history.

Despite having his best season yet, his contributions to the team on game day go far beyond the stat sheet.  

Head Coach Guy Gadowsky talked about a few of the intangibles Robinson brings to the ice.

"He's our identity," Gadowsky said. "The way he plays is how we want the rest of our team to play. His attributes suit our team perfectly."

Gadowsky pointed to Robinson's hard-nosed and physical play as the epitome of Penn State hockey.

"He crashes the net and forechecks extremely hard," Gadowsky said. "He wants to set an example for the rest of the team."

"I just want to demonstrate what Penn State hockey is all about." Robinson said.

Sturtz, who has played with Robinson for three years and has been his line mate for the majority of this season, raved about skating alongside him.

"He's a great guy to play with," Sturtz said. "He loves to go to the front of the net and play with a hard-nosed style."

When asked about how he best contributes throughout games, Robinson mentioned his tough-minded play.

"I like to think my work ethic gives guys confidence and energy," Robinson said.

Even with his great performance of late, Robinson may be an even better leader and role model.


The fourth-year Nittany Lion takes pride in his role as captain, making it a point to do whatever he can to help the team.

"I want to be a good teammate," Robinson said. "I try to build relationships with everyone. I'm not overly vocal, but instead I like to lead by example."

Robinson, better known as "Jimmy Pucks," by his teammates and coaches is honored to lead the team.  

"Being captain is very important to me, especially for such a great program like Penn State,"  Robinson said.  

For Gadowsky, he has nothing but respect for Robinson's leadership style.

"I really respect how Jimmy leads," Gadowsky said. "When he talks, people listen to what he has to say. He's a very good team representative."

For Sturtz, his leadership extends in other areas outside the ice.

"He does a great job leading in the classroom, weight room and of course on the ice," Sturtz said.

Robinson's leadership was on display in Penn State's 5-2 win over Robert Morris, in Penn State's final series before a nearly month-long break.

Following a questionable call that didn't go Penn State's way, Robinson calmly took initiative in trying to get an explanation from the referees.

"I was looking to get clarification on the call. I wanted to relay the call to the team," Robinson explained. "An open line of communication with the referees is important."

For Gadowsky, Robinson's methods for handling himself with officials is key.

"He does a really good job in communicating with referees," Gadowsky said. "I have received multiple compliments from referees about his great conduct and leadership. Robinson is very well respected by coaches and referees."

Robinson's leadership is of course paramount, providing a veteran presence for what is a bit of a younger team. With less than five seniors on the roster, Penn State must rely on its underclassman, making Robinson's reliability and guidance toward younger Nittany Lions crucial.

"His leadership is really important for us because we only have four seniors," Gadowsky said. "He knows the in's and out's of the team and shows the younger guys how to play the game the right way."

With a strong-willed nature and a trustworthy voice of guidance, Robinson's resilient character doesn't even tell the whole story.

Every good team needs an even better leader. A leader who is reliable and hardworking, inspires confidence in his teammates and is well respected both in the locker room and on the ice.

For Penn State, it has all it needs in its senior captain and the Nittany Lions are without a doubt they are lucky to have him. 

Behind the Mask with Penn State's Goalies

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By Erin Neri, student staff writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - A goalkeeper's helmet is far more than just a piece of safety equipment worn during each game. Instead, a goalkeeper's helmet represents individuality and all the things they hold close, acting as a personal canvas.

The Process
For Penn State men's hockey's three goalies, the process of designing a helmet took each one of them in a different direction but each one started in the same place with the same person. The team's equipment manager, Adam Sheehan, is tasked with initiating the process, handling the logistics while giving them suggestions and ideas or helping with sketches. 

"I tell [Sheehan] what I want to do and he gives me his ideas back, so it's not all me or all him," sophomore goalie Peyton Jones said.

Another key figure in the early parts of the design stage, is typically painter Jason Livery, head of Head Strong Grafx. A custom painter for 28 years, Livery traveled all over the world before creating his own custom goalie helmet painting business.

"Once we get the ideas from the goaltender my designer creates a pre-paint rendering of what all the elements will look like on the mask," Livery said. "Once they approve it, I paint it based on that rendering. I might change it and add is some elements of my own style but for the most part it will be pretty close to the rendering."

The often intricate masks fans see each goalie sporting this season are special to all of them, but each for unique and individual reasons. For some, the first of a few helmets, but for others it's either the only or the last helmet they'll ever have for the rest of their career in Hockey Valley.

Fortunately for Nittany Lion fans, this is only Jones' first gameday helmet, which means he'll get one more with two more seasons in net. Not only was this Jones' first helmet of his Penn State career, but the first helmet he has ever had a hand in creating for himself.

"I went online right away looking at different things different goalies did," Jones said. "This was my first real helmet I designed and it was pretty special to me because it was a school that I dreamed of going to."

For senior goalie Matt Erlichman, his helmet is his first as well as his last. The Pennsylvania native joined the team his junior year after playing two years with Penn State's ACHA Division II Ice Lions. 

Joining the team late, his mask junior year looked similar to those around him, but for his senior year when asked if he wanted a custom helmet, it was a no-brainer. 

"[Sheehan] asked me if I wanted a helmet and I said, 'Yeah, I'd love a helmet, I never had actually had a helmet designed,'" Erlichman said. "I just started throwing some things together, looking at different helmets." 

Junior goalie Chris Funkey was on the opposite end of the spectrum from his teammates, with his current helmet being the last of his college career. With a passion Penn State evident on all three masks,   Funkey knew he had a few adjustments he wanted to make headed into the process off designing his current helmet to make it better than his last.

"I didn't want to do as much for myself for the helmet as I wanted to do for the university," Funkey said. "So I definitely wanted to make sure I fashioned in some important things."

In addition to the multiple Penn State logos on his helmet, Funkey wanted to do something to make his last helmet even more special. On the chin, Funkey's helmet is painted with temperature magic FX paint which shifts color in temperatures less than 65 degrees, revealing hidden snowflakes and an image of the historic Nittany Lion Shrine.

Funkey is among a group of very goalkeepers in all of college hockey and even the NHL with temperature magic FX paint technology on his helmet.


Inspiration Behind the Mask
Many young goaltenders grow up watching hockey, dreaming of the day they will have their own custom helmet like the pros they watch on TV or from the stands.

While some look to professional goalies for inspiration, some find it in their own locker room. For Funkey, his helmet is modeled after former Penn State goalie and his own former mentor, Matthew Skoff (2012-16).

"[Skoff] had the toque version of the helmet where it looks like a winter hat and I thought that was really cool," Funkey said. "I wanted to get that to honor him being one of the first Division I Penn State goalies for four years."

Penn State's two other goalkeepers though, decided to look a little farther outside of Hockey Valley for inspiration.

Every young goalie has a role model at the professional level they watch and try to emulate, not only in their style of play, but also in their mask design. Jones looks to one of the best in the world who happens to be a five-time NHL all-star and an Olympic gold medalist.

"My favorite goalie is Carey Price of the Montreal Canadiens and on a lot of his helmets he puts the laces of the jersey," Jones said. "So on my helmet, that's one thing I wanted to incorporate." 

On the front part of the chin is where Jones chose to put the jersey laces on his helmet. 

Things were no different for Erlichman, who looked to the same goalies he had been admiring for years when it came time to design his helmet.

"I always loved [Sergei] Bobrovsky's because he was my favorite goalie in the NHL and Tuukka Rask just because all his helmets are awesome," Erlichman said. "I based the helmet off those two." 

Erlichman drew inspiration from the classic brick wall design from Bobrovsky's old-style helmets, adding a bit of a twist. What looks like drops of spray paint all over the brick wall were added to shake up the traditional design.

Favorite Feature
All three goalies utilize their own mask to tell their own individual story, including things they hold close, opting to showcase these elements on the back plate of their helmets. While the elements might not be on full display all the time, they are always close.

Funkey's back plate showcases a Penn State tradition very dear to many students on campus, THON. With Funkey's busy hockey schedule, being a part of the 46-hour dance marathon can be a challenge. With THON weekend typically taking place in the middle of the season, it is not always a guarantee he can attend.

Fortunately, last year, the Illinois native was given the opportunity to attend THON with some of his teammates, an experience he will never forget.

"We were there for the last 15 or 16 hours and it was honestly a really life changing experience," Funkey said. "I just couldn't think of a better way or a better thing to represent the school than by putting the four diamonds of THON on the back of my helmet."

Jones' back plate honors two friends and teammates, Eric "Ebo" Eberling and Alexander "Zander" Thomas, who he lost his senior year of high school.

"My two buddies are on the back who are the most special to me," Jones said. "I put that on the back of my helmet to have them with me every time that I play." 

Accompanying the numbers of his friends is a quote that reads, "Life is not measured by the years you live, but the lives you touch."

For Erlichman, playing on the varsity hockey team was a goal he was hoping to reach before his time was up in Hockey Valley. Finally achieving his dream, it's been a surreal experience and he knew he wanted to make his team and school the focal point of his back plate.

"I wanted something more Penn State than just a logo, and I went with the Lion Shrine," Erlichman said.

Accompanying a hand-drawn version of the Lion Shrine is also Erlichman's nickname "Lichsy" which former teammate Vince Pedrie gave him just weeks into his junior season. 

"I got that nickname from the team a few weeks into the season when I walked into the locker room and Vince Pedrie looks at me and goes, 'Has anyone ever called you Lichsy?" Erlichman said. "I was throw off completely because it doesn't really come from my name."

 Needless to say the nickname has stuck around since, representing a special memory Erlichman will always carry with him on and off the ice.

The Reaction
After spending weeks on the design process followed by months of painting and waiting, the moment a goalie sees their mask for the first time is truly a magical one. All those long practices and conditioning sessions somehow seem worth it when a goalie gets to hold their mask for the first time. 

Even though almost every one of the team saw Erlichman's helmet before he had the chance to, it didn't take anything away from a moment he had been waiting for his whole career 

"I was blown away how great it came out, I couldn't ask anything better," Erlichman said. "I am so happy I got a helmet and I'm going to keep it forever."

Even though this is Erlichman's first and only mask Penn State, it will be one he can always keep to cherish a part of his college career.

Having been through the process before, Funkey was familiar with the moment having worked hard and waited for so long for. This time though, there was the bittersweet twist of this being his last mask, but he found solace in the fact that he got everything he wanted on his final helmet. 

"My jaw dropped, I couldn't get over how well it came out," Funkey said. "I was like a little kid on Christmas morning honestly, it was so cool."

Jones has experienced success in the relatively short time he has been in goal for the Nittany Lions and his current helmet has stayed with him through the journey. The sophomore will have a new helmet to start out his junior year which will also be his last in his college career.

Although getting his current helmet was very special to him, Jones is already planning for his next one. Just don't expect to get any insight into what will be on it. 

"I do actually have some stuff but it's a surprise I want to keep for when I get the helmet," Jones said.

Smirnov Leads Penn State past Robert Morris

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By Andy Kuros, student staff writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - No.18 Penn State extended its unbeaten streak to eight games following a 7-4 victory against Robert Morris in front of a crowded Pegula Ice Arena.

Sophomore forward Denis Smirnov, who scored a goal in Friday night's 5-2 win, capped off a great weekend with two more goals and two assists in the second game of the series to match a career-high mark.

After he was sidelined for the last few weeks, Smirnov, who is second on the team in goals scored, is picking up right where he left off. For Penn State head coach Guy Gadowsky, he's an important addition back into the lineup.

"He adds a lot of offensive creativity to us, that's for sure," Gadowsky said. "His vision and creativity is really difficult to replace and it's fun to watch."

When asked about his recent success, Smirnov gave credit to his line mates, sophomore forwards Nate Sucese and Brandon Biro.

"Playing with those guys is fun," Smirnov said. "They're a little faster than me, so I always try to keep up with them."

The line played a crucial role in the potent Nittany Lion offensive attack Saturday. Skating together, they found the back of the net a combined four times to lead Penn State offensively.

Sucese scored two goals to go along with an assist, while Biro registered an assist of his own.

Despite the line's renewed success since reuniting, the unit of Smirnov, Sucese and Biro hasn't seen much time on the ice together this season.

"Not one of those units is the way it was at the start of the year," Gadowsky mentioned.

As a result, Smirnov noted the importance of hard work, keying in on the amount of practice the unit has spent dedicated to building chemistry to gel as a unit.

"We know what we have to work on," Smirnoff said. "We get out there as a line and work on some things together."

Come this week, it's seemingly paying off.

The Nittany Lions, who returned home after playing the first game of the series at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh, registered 44 shots in tying a season high mark with seven goals.

For Gadowsky, he's pleased with his team's offensive performance headed into a nearly month-long break before returning to Big Ten play in early January.

"I thought we moved the puck really well," Gadowsky said. "When we got to the (attacking) zone, I thought we did a good job.

Freshman Feature: Stevens Shows Promise

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By Erin Neri, Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - A native of Plymouth, Minnesota, Penn State hockey freshman Alex Stevens comes from a part of the country where hockey is seemingly in everyone's blood. Often growing up both living and breathing the sport things were no different for Stevens.

"I starting playing actual hockey when I was five," Stevens said. "I probably had my first pair of skates by three."

In between playing pee-wee hockey and finding his way to Penn State, Stevens skated a total of 120 games in the USHL with three different teams. The defenseman registered a total of 48 points, on 12 goals and 36 assists.

Stevens ended his three seasons in the league with the Dubuque Fighting Saints. While only on the team for about two months, he helped lead the team in a run in the playoffs, making it all the way to the Clark Cup Eastern Conference Finals.

"It was kind of a blur," Stevens said. "Once we hit the playoffs we were just a great team, kind of like here, everyone was close, everyone worked hard. Playoffs were a fun time." 

Growing up not far from the University of Minnesota, playing Big Ten hockey had always been a dream of his.

Although growing up watching the Gophers play, a team he'll get an opportunity to play against in Hockey Valley in late February, Stevens knew as soon as he stepped on campus, he'd be pulling on the blue and white for the next four years.

"It was a dream school for me once I saw the facilities," Stevens said. "Not just because of our awesome rink at Pegula but the student academic facilities are top-notch too."

Stevens saw his first time on the ice against Arizona State and Michigan State, having registered seven shots to date.

"My mentality is just wanting to get better every game, every shift," Stevens said. "The coaches preached to me to move pucks as quickly as I can, so that's what I've been trying to do."

The freshman also put his shot to the test in the overtime shootout against the Spartans in game two of the series. Stevens shot third behind junior Andrew Sturtz and sophomore Brandon Biro.  

While the choice to put Stevens in the shootout lineup was clearly a first, Penn State head coach Guy Gadowsky shed some light on his decision, telling the media at recent availability that Stevens has the highest scoring percentage on the team when they simulate shootouts in practice.

"He's got a bomb and he's got a really good shot," Gadowsky said. "That was a no-brainer to play him."

While the freshman still only has three games under his belt, both Stevens and the coaching staff remain confident that even while missing the first part of the season, he will improve and gain synergy with his teammates with more ice time. 

"It's hard to judge him right now fairly because those are his first three games and everybody else has played numerous," Gadowsky said. "I think when you take that into consideration he's done many things very well and I do think there's a certain aspect of his game that he'll have to tighten up if he's going to be successful."

Penn State Weekly Check In

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State's weekly check in returns this week, catching up with Nittany Lion head coach Guy Gadowsky, as well as Andrew Sturtz and Trevor Hamilton. Check in this week as the Nittany Lions look back on a successful road trip at Ohio State, while also looking ahead to a trip to PPG Paints Arena before returning home to Pegula Ice Arena for a home-and-home against Robert Morris this weekend. 


Sturtz, Hamilton

Success on the Third Line

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By Erin Neri, student staff writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - During his weekly meeting with the media this week, Penn State men's hockey head coach Guy Gadowsky stressed consistency in both the offensive and defensive zones. Coming off two strong series against Arizona State and Michigan State, the team has been making practical strides toward their goal.

"Consistency is what our goal is, that's what we're after," Gadowsky said. "I do still think we're very aggressive deep, both offensively and defensively but I'd like us to be a lot more consistent in certain areas."

The Nittany Lions have been experiencing consistent success is their third line though, adjusted to feature sophomores Nate Sucese and Brandon Biro with the addition of freshman Sam Sternschein, who filled in for sophomore Denis Smirnov on the right wing.

Even with the line experiencing some shakeups, keeping the pair of Sucese and Biro intact was a no-brainer for the coaching staff.

"They've played together in the past and they've showed synergy," Gadowsky said. "They are two guys that do a lot of extra work."

Although the two line mates work well together on the ice, their bond goes far beyond the ice. They're roommates this year after rooming together last year, and both constantly collaborating on how to improve their game. 

"He's my best friend on the team, we rarely spend any time apart," Biro said. "We pretty much talk hockey all the time." 

Individually, Biro score in back-to-back against the Sun Devils along with three assists to earn himself the Big Ten Third Star of the Week honor last week. The Canadian native also extended career-high three-game point and assist streaks in game one against the Spartans. 

Sucese achieved his own success alongside Biro, with two assists and a goal in game one against ASU as well as an assist.

Complimenting an already efficient pairing, Sternschein made a smooth transition on to the line, playing like he had been there since the beginning of October. His efforts have not gone unnoticed by his counterparts on the left and in the center of the offense either.

"He's awesome, especially coming in for his first couple of games," Biro said. "He's a super fast player, he always seems to get open and he's getting more confident every game. "It's been really easy to play with him."

Sternschein registered his first career goal and an assist in game one against Arizona State, along with an assist in game two. In game one back in Pegula against Michigan State, the New York native put two in the back of the net in the first and second period. 

"Sammy Sternschein absolutely did what he had to do to make a case that he should be in the lineup every night," Gadowsky said. "Now it's just a matter of slotting him in and finding synergy with him and someone else."

With Smirnov's return into the lineup, Sternschein will have to readjust back to a different role on the team off of the third line. He is confident though in the success he has found so far in the season and that he can still contribute consistency to the team.

"I'm just going to do what I can, play my game, work hard every night and if I'm in the lineup that's awesome that's what I want," Sternschein said. "The rest is up to the coaches."

Penn State Weekly Check In

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Penn State weekly check in is back, catching up with head coach Guy Gadowsky and Nittany Lions Sam Sternschein and Kevin Kerr ahead of this weekend's trip to Ohio State.


Sternschein, Kerr

Penn State Weekly Check In

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Following a pair of road wins at Arizona State last weekend, Penn State men's hockey returns to Pegula Ice Area to host Big Ten opponent Michigan State in a weekend series.

Back from the road, the Nittany Lions will look to continue building on the momentum from the successful road trip, also currently slated 2-4 in conference play ahead of the series against the Spartans.

From Thanksgiving plans to what's next, check in with head coach Guy Gadowsky and sophomore forward Brandon Biro ahead of this weekend's action in Pegula.




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