The Penn States season was far from ordinary for a variety of reasons.
From a coronavirus shutdown that took the Nittany Lions a month’s worth of games to trying to replace a freshly graduated class that helped define the program, the Guy Gadowskys team had many challenges pending a successful season in the stood away.
However, the team acted and answered many of these challenges and discovered some surprises in the process.
Here are some of the shocking revelations that stood out during the 2020-2021 campaign.
Sarlo fits well with the topline
Penn State brought in a major recruiting course this season, starring acclaimed goalkeeper Liam Souliere and Predators draft pick Chase McLane.
The brightest freshman star, however, was Lynbrook, New York-born Chrisitan Sarlo.
Sarlo scored 11 points in the 21 games he skated this year, but his biggest contribution to the team came about mid-season when he was put in the top line with Alex Limoges and Tim Doherty.
The Limoges and Doherty duo were looking for a third linemate, and the freshmen stepped up and delivered.
After Sarlo was added to the line, the seamless addition of the six-foot freshman helped some of the Nittany Lions’ best goalscorers find their stride.
Despite not coming in as the best recruit in class, Sarlo certainly played the way he was and gave Penn State fans hope for what was to come down the road.
Autio quickly claimed the runway
From the first puck drop, the competition between Souliere and junior Oskar Autio was on to see who would take over the goalkeeper’s starting position for the season, but it seemed like the fight could go on all season due to how talented each net lesser was.
Souliere came to Happy Valley after putting in solid numbers in several Canadian competitions and appeared to be a future star.
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Another week without Penn State has passed, but a number of former Nittany Lions are in the early stages of their professional careers.
Although the future for Souliere is still bright, Autio has stolen the show.
The native of Espoo, Finland, struggled in his first three games, but turned the script over after a 32-save overtime win against Arizona.
He followed up that performance with his first shutout of the season and used that momentum to claim the starting appearance the following weekend.
Despite the difficult start, Autio still managed to end the season with decent figures, including 3.13 goals against average.
The car’s breakthrough year may not have come as a big surprise, but the fact that he quickly presented himself as Souliere’s No. 1 goalkeeper certainly was.
Wall turns out to be excellent
Before Kevin Wall even donned a blue and white jersey, he had already proven that he could play hockey at a high level and was selected by the Carolina Hurricanes with the No. 181 overall pick in the 2019 NHL Draft.
In his freshman campaign, Wall struggled to score, scoring just two goals and five assists in 26 games.
The potential to break out was there for the Penfield, New York, born due to the sheer amount of talent he possessed, but the level at which he broke out in the 2020-21 season was almost impossible to predict.
Wall found the back of the net eight times, helping on 11 more goals to the team’s second place in points with 19.
He also proved that he is not afraid to shoot the puck, as despite not being in the top 50 in the country with goals scored, Wall fired 115 shots at the net, putting him in fifth nationwide. place ended and most of the team was. with 47.
While the sophomore was expected to take a step forward after his freshman season was by no means out of the question, the prosperous second season with blue and white was hardly expected from the Hurricanes prospect, who will likely be Penn States’ next offensive force. year.
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Three Penn State players were honored for their outstanding 2021 seasons.