Looking back: PSU hockey had another successful season
UNIVERSITY PARK – Another collegiate hockey season is in the books.
And while Penn State fell short of its goal of making the Frozen Four, it was still a very good year for the Nittany Lions.
Let’s take a look back at how the season ended – and what lies ahead.
Penn State fought their final battle of the season in Allentown. The Nittany Lions lost their Frozen Four hopes, falling 5-1 against the 2016-17 National Champion Denver Pioneers.
Denver took control early, opening the scoring at 12:19 in the first period. Liam Finlay collected the puck off the end boards, sending it to Kohen Olischefskig on the right corner of the crease. Four minutes later the Pioneers struck again, Troy Terry fired shot the puck past the right pad of Nittany Lion goaltender Peyton Jones, bring the score to 2-0 at 16:40 in the first.
The second period didn't get much better as Pioneers' Henrik Borgstrom made the score 3-0 at 4:51 in the second period. With 2.2 seconds left in the period, Jarid Lukosevicius redirected a shot from Ian Mitchell, wracking the score up to a 4-0 lead.
Sophomore Liam Folkes saved the Nittany Lions from a shutout, shooting the puck right through the five-hole of Denver's goaltender, Tanner Jaillet at 7:39 into the third period. Lukosevicius earned his second of the game, the final point registered, at 12:22 of the third period.
Penn State closed its season at 18-15-5.
The end of the 2017-2018 season isn't all that bad though. It brings new beginnings, especially for junior Andrew Sturtz, who just signed a two-year entry-level contract with the Ottawa Senators.
Sturtz completed his junior season with a career-high 40 points off 14 goals and 26 assists, being only the third Nittany Lion in program history to earn 40 points.
“We are extremely proud of Sturtzy, he’s an honors student who’s going to graduate with his degree from Penn State and he’s signing an NHL contract,” commented head coach Guy Gadowsky. “He made this program a heck of a lot better and he will always be an integral part of Hockey Valley.”
The Buffalo native leaves Penn State as the all-time career leader in goals scored (54) while also holding the program standard for shorthanded goals (9), game-winning goals (8) and plus/minus finishing his career with a plus-50 rating in 111 games played. Sturtz also ranks second all-time in points (104) and shots on goal (402) while ranking tied for third in assists (50) and fifth in power-play goals with nine.
“This is a childhood dream come true, five or six years ago I didn’t even think I would be playing Division I hockey and then Matt Lindsay found me in Carleton Place and brought me to Penn State,” said Sturtz via press release. “Being a part of this university and hockey program has opened my eyes to something bigger, the hockey program here is certainly going in the right direction and I think I left it better than I found it.”
Earlier this season, the junior became Penn State’s all-time leading goal scorer and just the second Nittany Lion ever to reach 100 career points earning his first postseason Big Ten honorable mention selection in early March.
“I am extremely grateful to have played under Guy Gadowsky and his staff and meet the best friends I could ever ask for, the one thing I will always remember is home games at Pegula, I don’t think anything will compare to that and I’ll always be true to dear old White and Blue it was the best time of my life and I’m excited for the next chapter," said Sturtz via press release.
Sturtz's contract with Ottawa will start after he finishes his studies at Penn State this semester, for the 2018-19 season.