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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

Lions Use Exhibition as Starting Point for Season

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By Maria Canales, Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Penn State men's hockey team took down Queen's (Ontario) in an exhibition game Sunday at Pegula Ice Arena. The Nittany Lions put on a tremendous offensive display, defeating the Gaels, 8-0.

Six different Nittany Lions got on the board Sunday afternoon, including three freshmen. Denis Smirnov scored two goals, while Liam Folkes and Brandon Biro had one a piece. To round out the scoring, sophomore forward Andrew Sturtz scored twice, while senior forward David Goodwin and sophomore defenseman Vince Pedrie, each scored once.

Head coach Guy Gadowsky was pleased with how the freshman class performed against Queen's.  

"All in all I think we received some good information," Gadowsky said. "I think lot of freshmen that we were looking at contributed and they played well. It was good to see goals by Folkes, Smirnov and Biro."

This freshman group has been one of the most anticipated classes to play for the Nittany Lions. Based on their performance Sunday, it's safe to say this group will be fun to watch this season.  

The exhibition game was also a prime time for Penn State to test out its power play unit. Queen's racked up 13 penalties during the contest, giving Gadowsky an opportunity to test out not one, but three different power play units. 

"You hope that special teams are going to get some action so you can look at them," Gadowsky said. "I don't think they necessarily needed 10 power plays but I thought they looked good. We rotated three different units and I thought all three were able to move the puck around pretty well."

Gadowsky said last season that special teams was an area he would like to develop consistency with and getting the power play unit a little bit of practice before the season certainly helps.

Additionally, the performance from both goaltenders was extremely promising. Freshman Peyton Jones got the nod to start Sunday and played until halfway through the second period before sophomore Chris Funkey took over between the pipes.

Jones made nine saves alone during the first period, making five more during the second. Funkey turned away five shots, with neither goaltender allowing a single goal.

"I thought obviously Peyton Jones started very strong, he looked very composed," Gadowsky said. "[He had a] huge save on a power play for us.

Goaltenders have always been an area of focus for fans, since last season Gadowsky split time using two goalies. Gadowsky said he is expecting to start Jones in net on Thursday against St. Lawrence, but didn't comment on who he plans to consistently use as a starter this season. 

With an exhibition game under their belts, the Nittany Lions earned a little boost of confidence heading into the regular season. St. Lawrence, who Penn State faced last season, has always been a tough non-conference opponent.

The last time the two teams met, the Saints came out on top. This time around the Nittany Lions are looking for redemption, but know it won't come easily.

"They're going to be a great test," Gadowsky said. "...We're going to need a really good week, it's a short week of practice but I think it's going to be obviously a much, much different game."

Freshman Feature: Pavlychev Using Experience as Motivation

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By Maria Canales, Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - While summer generally isn't considered a prime season for hockey, the National Hockey League calendar allots a few weeks during the off season for teams to develop young players and teach them their systems. Five current Penn State men's hockey players took part in NHL development camps this summer including freshman forward Nikita Pavlychev.

Pavlychev was drafted in the seventh round, No. 197 overall, of the 2015 NHL Draft by the Pittsburgh Penguins and participated in the team's 2015 and 2016 development camps. 

"I could never have imagined getting drafted by my favorite team," Pavlychev said. "It's a special feeling." 

Pavlychev acknowledged how rare it is for a young player to de drafted, let alone by the team he has been watching since before he could tie his own skates.

While Pavlychev has been given the opportunity to attend two development camps since being drafted, he explained how he went into both camps with different mindsets.

"The first [development camp] I felt like I had a lot more pressure on me," Pavlychev said. "I was scared and didn't know really what to expect."

At his second camp with the Penguins this past summer, Pavlychev said it was nice coming back to a familiar setting and that he was eager to show the coaching staff how much he had improved during the 2015-16 season with the Des Moines Buccaneers of the USHL.

"I felt a lot more confident and I knew exactly what to expect," Pavlychev said about his second development camp. "It went a lot smoother because it just felt better out there and I didn't have to be too worried about [my performance]."

During development camps, players work with the coaching staff, trainers, and strength and conditioning coaches to get a sense of what it's like to be part of an NHL team. The experience that Pavlychev had during both summers has encouraged the young player to push the limits of his abilities during his time at Penn State.

"It makes you look up to something and set a goal for yourself to make the team and work a lot harder," Pavlychev said.

While Pavlychev's goals are to contribute to the Nittany Lions in whatever capacity is asked of him this season by head coach Guy Gadowsky, he does eye a national championship in the program's future. Hoping one day to make the Penguins' NHL roster, he knows that the efforts he puts into the Penn State program now, could manifest into skating onto the ice in a Pittsburgh sweater one day. 

Pavlychev's most obvious asset to his game is his size. Standing 6-feet-7-inches tall, Pavlychev has used the last few seasons to develop his abilities in the offensive zone and the physical aspects of his game.

"With time I was getting good and getting better [at using my size]," Pavlychev said. "I try to be physical and make plays at the same time. I want to be the guy on the ice who can do things other than hit."

For now, Pavlychev is eager to start the regular season with his fellow student-athletes and is prepared to don the Blue and White for the upcoming season.


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