With just a little over a week before the start of the regular season for Penn State hockey, we will take a look at the forwards that are new to the team. The Lions lost Andrew Sturtz and James Robinson from last season’s squad. Sturtz scored 40 points and is the all-time goal leader at Penn State. His offense will be missed. Robinson was a leader on the team and the former captain did a lot during his time in Hockey Valley but scoring was not his specialty.
The team returns ten of the top twelve scorers from last season and will add three players that will contribute to the scoring punch this season.
The Three Newcomers
Ludvig Larsson- A graduate transfer from Merrimack, Larsson brings a veteran presence to the Penn State team. He turned 23 on Tuesday and after playing for three seasons in the Hockey East, the Swede hopes to win a championship while working toward a masters degree in International Affairs. He scored 13 goals and had 8 assists for a Merrimack team that ranked 51st overall in scoring last season. That translates to over twenty goals in the style that Guy Gadowsky plays. His ability on face-offs is also a benefit, his 58.3% win percentage on the draw was good for 14th-best in the country last season. Larsson is 6’0 and 190 pounds, not as small as some of the recent forwards that joined the team. He has the body and the intentions to play more than just good offense, calling himself a two-way forward. With only three forwards on the team that stand over 6’0 tall, he will be needed on both sides of the ice.
Aarnie Talvitie- From Espoo, Finland, Talvite will be a freshman but will turn 21 on February 11. He brings similar skills to the team as Larsson, while not as tall at 5’10, he is a solid 200 pounds. The New Jersey Devils selected him in the sixth round of the 2017 NHL draft. He has averaged a point scored per game for most of his career. In 2017, he scored 34 goals and had 24 assists while playing in Finland. He is expected to be an immediate contributor on one of the top lines.
Max Suave- He adds one of the cooler-sounding names to join the team since Chris Funkey arrived a few seasons ago. You can expect a play on words when the 5’9, 165-pounder makes a headline-worthy play. From Massachusetts, he averaged a point per game over the past couple of seasons, known as a play-maker in the mold of Andrew Sturtz. While a smaller player, he is confident, and has a certain kind of debonair, poised quality about the way he plays the game. It’s hard to put the right word on it. His game is sophisticated and charming, while at the same time gentlemanly and gallant. Okay, you caught me. I did more research on wordplay involving his name than I did his playing career.
Suave was not a top prospect because he is probably not going to get much bigger and he turned twenty in September. That won’t matter when he joins the team. Only production matters, and he brings a long history of that with him. He will have to fight to get into the lineup with so many veterans returning but a player his size, with his, I don’t know, elegant, almost dignified style of play, should be up to the challenge.
The Lions will bring back enough scoring to remain near the top of the national standings. In past years the team has relied on one scorer to lead the way for the most part. This team is built to get production from every player, every line.
Here is the production coming back:
Brandon Biro- 9 goals, 22 assists
Alex Limoges- 7 goals, 14 assists
Chase Berger- 11 goals, 16 assists
Nikita Pavlychev- 9 goals, 5 assists
Nate Sucese- 14 goals, 15 assists
Evan Barratt- 11 goals, 7 assists
Blake Gober- 2 goals, 1 assist
Denis Smirnov- 15 goals, 12 assists
Liam Folkes- 13 goals, 10 assists
Sam Sternschein- 5 goals, 5 assists
Alec Marsh- 2 goals, 7 assists