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Preview: Stack the Pads By Derek Meluzio

Stack the Pads By Derek Meluzio



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Last Build Date: Tue, 27 Sep 2016 19:42:39 UTC

Copyright: Copyright 2016
 



Get to know Nittany Lion goalie Matt Erlichman

Tue, 27 Sep 2016 20:55:58 UTC

2016-09-27T19:42:39Z

The 2016-17 Penn State Nittany Lion campaign is right around the corner. Fall is here and so is hockey season. The weather is getting cooler, leaves are starting to change color, and it is time to talk hockey. To be more specific... it is time to talk about the goalies from Hockey Valley wearing the blue and white.  With... The 2016-17 Penn State Nittany Lion campaign is right around the corner. Fall is here and so is hockey season. The weather is getting cooler, leaves are starting to change color, and it is time to talk hockey. To be more specific... it is time to talk about the goalies from Hockey Valley wearing the blue and white.  With Matt Skoff graduating and Eamon McAdam signing with the New York Islanders, we knew we would see some fresh faces joining sophomore Chris Funkey between the pipes. Matt Erlichman playing with the Ice Lions: photo by Steve HassDerek Meluzio | Special to PennLive  Freshman Peyton Jones arrives from the Lincoln Stars of the USHL. The other "new guy" on the team is junior Matt Erlichman. Erlichman may be new to the Nittany Lion roster, but he certainly isn't new to Hockey Valley. The Bedford, PA native joins the team after having spent two seasons playing for the school's ACHA DII Ice Lions. Matt has taken time out of his very busy schedule to answer a few questions for "Stack the Pads." In this Q&A Matt tells us about his playing career before joining the Nittany Lions, how he spent his off-season, what mask he will be sporting this season, and much more.       Stack the Pads- First of all Matt, can you tell the readers a little bit about your career so far? Where did you play prior to coming to Hockey Valley? Matt- Before coming to PSU I played for many different AA teams in the PAHL.  My first year of U18 hockey I played in Altoona for the Mid-State Mustangs in the PAHL.  For my second year of U18 hockey I played for the Pittsburgh Hornets which are now called the Pittsburgh Pens Elite and they play in the Tier 1 elite league.  After I aged out of U18 I played one year of juniors for the Pittsburgh Vengeance in the NA3HL. Instead of playing my last year of juniors I decided to go to school and play club hockey at PSU. I played for the Ice Lions my freshman and junior year.   Stack the Pads- How did you spend your off-season? Do you have a goalie coach that you utilize for making improvements to your game and staying sharp over the summer? Matt- This off-season I had an engineering internship at Blair Signs in Altoona. Working forty hours a week took up a lot of the ice time available in Altoona. With that said, I was preparing to play another year of club hockey but I knew the varsity team only had two goalies and my goal for this school year was to make that jump.  After work I would go to Dorman's Sport Performance in Altoona and do off ice training with Freddie Dorman. Two or three weeks before school started I got a call from Guy Gadowsky asking me to join the team. At that moment I realized I needed to put in more work.  An old teammate got ice times three days a week and we did drills for about two hours each day to get ready for our seasons coming up. Stack the Pads- Can you tell us about the design on your mask?  Matt- I did not get a design on my mask.  Since I joined the team late I did not design a mask.  My mask is similar to the player's helmets.  All white with a stripe down the middle.  I actually like that look.  It is similar to the helmet I wore while playing club hockey. Stack the Pads- What are your expectations for the upcoming 2016-17 season both individually and as a team? Matt- My expectations for the team are pretty high. The team had a good season last year and I think we can do even better this year.  I expect us to do well in Big Ten play and to make the tournament.  Since I am the third goalie my expectations are to be ready for the team when called on.  I will work hard every day[...]


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2016-17 Penn State Nittany Lion Goalie Tracker

Fri, 09 Sep 2016 20:20:14 UTC

2016-09-10T15:24:40Z

September is here and the World Cup of Hockey exhibition games have now started. Before you know it the 2016-17 hockey season will be in full swing. Nittany Lion hockey fans will soon have lots to cheer about as the International game against Queens is fast approaching. Even before that, the NHL exhibition game between the Sabres and the... Chris Funkey and Eamon McAdam prior to a Nittany Lion game at Pegula Ice Arena in 2015-16: photo by Derek MeluzioDerek Meluzio | Special to PennLive  September is here and the World Cup of Hockey exhibition games have now started. Before you know it the 2016-17 hockey season will be in full swing. Nittany Lion hockey fans will soon have lots to cheer about as the International game against Queens is fast approaching. Even before that, the NHL exhibition game between the Sabres and the Wild will take place at Pegula Ice Arena near the end of September. It is time to start thinking about the current and former players between the pipes in Hockey Valley. Questions surround the program when talking about who the starter in goal will be. Experience between the pipes will not be a strong point but skill and potential certainly are. Who will wear the blue and white this season? Which former players could spend time in the NHL, AHL or ECHL? Find out below in the 2016-17 Penn State Ice Hockey Goalie Tracker. Chris Funkey- #33 is back as the only returning Nittany Lion goalie after senior Matt Skoff graduated and junior Eamon McAdam signed with the New York Islanders.  In 2015-16 Funkey did not see lots of playing time but when he was in the crease he was very effective. He appeared in four games totaling seventy one minutes of action. During that time he registered a 1.69 goals against average and a .933 save%.  What the former New Jersey Hitmen goalie may lack in NCAA experience and size he more then makes up for in work ethic. His practice habits, hard work, and overall attitude are well respected in the locker room by current players and former players alike.  You can't judge a goalie from just four games of NCAA experience, but the pieces are certainly there. Chris just needs to put them together over a full season. He heads into the coming season in great shape and looking sharp already.  Peyton Jones with the Stars: Photo by Brandon Anderson, BA-PhotosDerek Meluzio | Special to PennLive  Time will tell and no one is certain who the starter will be, but one thing is for sure... Chris Funkey will see a lot more playing time this season than he did last year.  Peyton Jones- Jones shined in net for the Lincoln Stars of the USHL for the last few years. The Pennsylvania native played in a total of sixty three games for Lincoln and during the 2015-16 campaign he went 19-11-3. During that season he had a 2.34 goals against average and a .922 save%.  One advantage Jones has is his size. Another advantage he has is his speed. Very few tall goalies can move quickly but Peyton can.  He has no NCAA experience so there may be a bit of an adjustment period for him. That being said, the staff feels he will adapt to the speed of the game right away and be a contributor from the start.  Matt Erlichman- Matt is the newest Nittany Lion goalie joining the team after being a successful member of the school's ACHA DII team. Matt Erlichman with the Ice Lions: photo by Steve HassDerek Meluzio | Special to PennLive  With the Ice Lions, Matt went 8-2-0 in 2015-16 with a 2.29 goals against average, one shutout, and a .936 save %.  Third on the team's goalie depth chart, expect Matt to be more of an asset during practice compared to games but you never know what can happen. Injuries can occur and Gadowsky has been known to thrown a curve ball or two by playing all three goalies during the season. #30 could log a few minutes of action in 2015-16.  Eamon McAdam- McAdam reports to the New York Islanders rookie camp on September 14th. All signs point to him seeing action in[...]


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Get to know York College goalie Jarrett Snare

Fri, 29 Jul 2016 11:07:12 UTC

2016-07-29T10:54:44Z

Right now we are in the heat of summer, but before you know it we will be heading to hockey rinks across the country as fall approaches and so does the 2016-17 hockey season.  Pre-season will be in full swing come September and players will be prepping for the new campaign. For many teams it will be just another... Right now we are in the heat of summer, but before you know it we will be heading to hockey rinks across the country as fall approaches and so does the 2016-17 hockey season.  Pre-season will be in full swing come September and players will be prepping for the new campaign. For many teams it will be just another start to the season. For the York College ice hockey club though, it will be a little bit different. It won't be just another season... it will be their first season.  Starting this September the team will compete in the South division of the Delaware Valley Collegiate Hockey Conference at the ACHA DIII level. They will compete against teams such as Penn State Harrisburg, Gettysburg College, Mount Saint Mary's, Franklin and Marshall and more. Goalie Jarrett Snare will be sporting this awesome setup when he and the rest of the Spartans hit the ice for their inaugural season. Image courtesy of YCP Ice HockeyDerek Meluzio | Special to PennLive  In this Q&A "Stack the Pads" talks to Central Pennsylvania standout goalie Jarrett Snare who will be the player between the pipes for the team during their inaugural season. Jarrett has taken time out of his busy schedule to fill our readers in on his playing career prior to joining York College, what he does in the off-season, what his expectations are, and what gear he will be sporting for the coming season. Stack the Pads- First of all, can you tell our readers a little bit about your career so far? Where did you play and for what teams prior to coming to York College? Jarrett- Well, I started out with the Capital City Vipers because that's where my older brother Dustin Snare played, who was also one of my very first coaches. When I turned seventeen, we did not have enough skaters to make an 18U team, so I played for the Hershey Jr. Bears who needed a goalie. Since both teams were in the DVHL, it wasn't much of a change but we had two successful years with my coach Matt Yingst. This past year, my freshman year in college, was my last season with the team so I was eager to sign up for York College's team. Stack the Pads- How do you spend your off-season? Do you have a goalie coach that you use or have used in the past? What do you do to improve your game or stay in shape? Jarrett- Unfortunately, I haven't done much training this off-season because of work, but I do play adult roller hockey and skate when I can. I have received coaching from Mike Sherman of Goalies Plus on their synthetic ice in years past. ***Editor's Note- Many area goalie lovers might be aware of Mike Sherman and his store Goalies Plus and the training he does for players in Central, PA. He has helped many players not only stop the puck but also look good doing it.*** I also try to run a two or three miles to maintain endurance and do some yoga in order to keep flexible for the season. Stack the Pads- What are your expectations this season both personally and as a team? Jarrett- This season I hope to personally maintain a high save percentage and I am looking forward to playing against some friends that are on the other teams in the league. I just want to have fun and make some great hockey memories with my new teammates. For me, as competitive as I am, I just enjoy playing on a new team. Knowing that it's our first season makes me want to prove our abilities and skill to the league. I hope as a team that we can win at least half of our games this season. As easy as that sounds, it will be quite a challenge since the other teams are more experienced and adapted to this level, but I am confident that we will do our best! Stack the Pads- Now on to the best part...[...]


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College ice hockey on the rise in Central Pennsylvania: Q&A with Spartan Connor McCormack

Wed, 27 Jul 2016 16:39:56 UTC

2016-07-27T17:55:27Z

Area college hockey fans have had a lot to get excited about lately. First off, a few years ago with hard work from Joe Battista and Terry Pegula, Penn State was able to elevate their ice hockey program from an ACHA D1 team to what has now become a premier NCAA D1 team playing in beautiful Pegula Ice Arena. ... Area college hockey fans have had a lot to get excited about lately. First off, a few years ago with hard work from Joe Battista and Terry Pegula, Penn State was able to elevate their ice hockey program from an ACHA D1 team to what has now become a premier NCAA D1 team playing in beautiful Pegula Ice Arena.  We also saw Lebanon Valley College excel at the ACHA D1 level and with hard work from minor league hockey legend Don Parsons and his staff, they now once again will return to NCAA DIII competition playing at historic Hersheypark Arena. York College ice hockey is the newest area school to field a team in the ACHA. Image courtesy of the York College ice hockey club. Derek Meluzio | Special to PennLive  The next school to make a leap to the next level is York College who starting this season will field a team in the South division of the Delaware Valley Collegiate Hockey Conference at the ACHA DIII level. Everything is relative and although obviously not as major of an undertaking as PSU transitioning to the NCAA, many involved in college sports are aware of just how challenging and difficult starting an ice hockey program can be. You certainly want to make sure that the finished product on the ice is successful but way before you can even play your first game there is an unbelievable amount of paperwork, hard work, and sweat and tears that go into not just getting sanctioned by the ACHA, but getting approval and support from the school itself. No one knows that better then Connor McCormick and his staff at the York College ice hockey club. Not only will the former Junior B player from the MJHL be lacing up his skates and playing for the Spartans this season but he is also the club's president and one of it's founding members. In this Q&A with Connor McCormack, "Stack the Pads" takes a look at the newest ACHA DIII team to hit the ice finding out the history of the young program, who is behind the project, what their expectations are, and as many of our readers want to know, in the near future we will learn about the player who will be guarding the crease for the Spartans in 2016-17.      Stack the Pads- Can you give us some background on how you went about getting the program started?  Connor- I approached the athletics department with the proposal of a hockey team and was immediately denied. I knew how great of an opportunity this would be for the college and the community and I was persistent with them until they saw how feasible and beneficial this team would be for the school. Eventually I was given the "OK" to gauge interest in students, present to the student senate, and petition into the ACHA all within two weeks of school ending. I managed to do it with the help of the executive board, my parents, and the parents of the guys playing. Stack the Pads- The players on the ice are key but the people behind the scenes are often times just as important. Who is on the board and who will be behind the bench coaching your first season? Connor- Our board is made of Patrick Guinan as treasurer, Trevor Wash as secretary, Matt Ernst as VP and myself as President. I would like to thank Rick Guinan for stepping up as the head coach for us as well as my dad, Scott McCormick who will also be helping. Stack the Pads- Soon we will be profiling your goalie Jarrett Snare, but at Stack the Pads we know you have five other guys on the ice helping out so we also like learning about position players. Can you tell us a bit about your playing background? Where did you grow up playing and which teams did you play for? Connor- I grew up here in York and st[...]


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Penn State ice hockey goalies: Celebrating the success, looking ahead to the future

Fri, 06 May 2016 19:49:36 UTC

2016-05-06T20:57:10Z

Penn State has only been competing in ice hockey at the NCAA D1 level for four seasons. That being said, those few years have led to quite a bit of success both on and off the ice and especially when it comes to the goaltending position. Actually, think about it for a second. The first three players to appear... Penn State has only been competing in ice hockey at the NCAA D1 level for four seasons. That being said, those few years have led to quite a bit of success both on and off the ice and especially when it comes to the goaltending position. Fans in Hockey Valley will see a lot more of #33 Chris Funkey now that Eamon McAdam has moved on to play in the Islanders organization: photo by Derek MeluzioDerek Meluzio | Special to PennLive  Actually, think about it for a second. The first three players to appear in goal for Penn State during the current NCAA era have all gone on to sign professional contracts. That is three for three. Not too shabby.  The first player to do it was PJ Musico who graduated last season after playing for both Penn State's ACHA team and the NCAA squad for multiple seasons. He started the 2015-16 season with the Greenville Swamp Rabbits of the ECHL and appeared with them in thirteen games going 7-3-1. Later in the season he joined the Quad City Mallards and played in ten regular season games going 6-3-1. Musico also had a brief stint in the AHL with the Chicago Wolves dressing and backing up against the Admirals.  At the conclusion of the 2015-16 Penn State season both Matt Skoff and Eamon McAdam would see action in the pro ranks. In fact, McAdam would become the first ever Nittany Lion goalie to ink an NHL deal.  Matt Skoff made his professional debut with Reading after four very successful seasons at Penn State: photo by Derek MeluzioDerek Meluzio | Special to PennLive  Senior Matt Skoff finished up his last season at Penn State and shortly after signed an ATO with the Reading Royals of the ECHL. Skoffer practiced with Reading for quite a bit and would appear in two games with the Royals going 1-1-0.  Not long after Skoff signed with Reading, junior goalie Eamon McAdam announced that he would forgo his senior season and he signed a three year entry level contract with the New York Islanders. This made Eamon the first Nittany Lion goalie to ink an NHL deal and only the second player ever behind forward Casey Bailey.  Eamon then signed an ATO with the Islander's AHL affiliate the Bridgeport Sound Tigers and joined them for the remainder of the season. With the Sound Tigers involved in a tight race for an AHL playoff spot his playing time was limited but he did earn a start at the end of the season becoming the first goalie in Penn State hockey history to start a game in the American Hockey League. Mark Scally, who played for Penn State in the late 1990's on the ACHA team is the only other goalie to see AHL playing time as he entered a game during the 2000-01 season in relief for the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins. Musico played for both Greenville and Quad City during the 2015-16 ECHL season: photo by Derek MeuzioDerek Meluzio | Special to PennLive  So what does the future hold for Penn State goaltenders? The future to me looks bright. Chris Funkey will return next season. Although he did not see a ton of action this season, he did make the most of the playing time he got and was very effective. He only logged seventy one minutes but during that time he only allowed two goals and had a .933 save% and a 1.69 gaa.  On top of that, Funkey has earned the praise of former team mates Eamon McAdam and Matt Skoff who both feel he is more then up to the challenge for next season. Besides Chris Funkey who else will be holding down the fort in Hockey Valley now that so many guys have moved on recently? For that answer look no further... but look up at Peyton Jones. The Lincoln Stars goalie who will leave t[...]


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Penn State goalies Eamon McAdam and Matt Skoff join the professional ranks

Thu, 24 Mar 2016 20:23:21 UTC

2016-03-24T20:54:45Z

The last few days have been exciting for Penn State ice hockey fans. Multiple Nittany Lions have agreed to professional contracts with teams from the NHL, AHL, and ECHL. Redshirt-senior forward Eric Scheid has signed an ATO with the Portland Pirates of the AHL. To go along with that, senior defenseman Luke Juha has signed an ATO with the Bridgeport... The last few days have been exciting for Penn State ice hockey fans. Multiple Nittany Lions have agreed to professional contracts with teams from the NHL, AHL, and ECHL. Eamon McAdam between plays at Pegula Ice Arena: photo by Derek MeluzioDerek Meluzio | Special to PennLive  Redshirt-senior forward Eric Scheid has signed an ATO with the Portland Pirates of the AHL. To go along with that, senior defenseman Luke Juha has signed an ATO with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers of the AHL. A photo of him practicing with the team has already surfaced on the Sound Tigers Twitter page.  On the goalie side of things there is just as much activity. First, senior goalie Matt Skoff has signed an ATO with the Reading Royals of the ECHL. The "We Bleed Purple" Twitter page has already posted a few photos of Matt with the team as well as the Royals themselves. Skoff completed the 2015-16 NCAA season with an 8-5-3 record and a .902 save% and 3.26 gaa. He concluded his career as a Nittany Lion as the team's all time leader in games played, starts, shutouts, saves, and wins.  Two days later junior goalie Eamon McAdam agreed to a three year entry level contract with the New York Islanders of the National Hockey League and will report to their AHL affiliate the Bridgeport Sound Tigers on an ATO for the remainder of the current season. He is only the second Penn State player (Casey Bailey being the other) to ink an NHL contract.  Matt Skoff stretching at Pegula Ice Arena: photo by Derek MeluzioDerek Meluzio | Special to PennLive  McAdam finished up the 2015-16 season with a 13-8-1 record and a .913 save% and a 2.98 gaa. Eamon also tied for the lead in points scored by a goaltender in the nation with four. He racked up multiple Big Ten awards all season and was even named as a nominee for the Mike Richter Award going to the top goalie in men's college hockey. Speaking of former Penn State goalies in the professional ranks, PJ Musico has had an amazing season in the ECHL during 2015-16. He started the season with the Greenville Swamp Rabbits going 7-3-1 then was traded to the Quad City Mallards and since joining them he has gone 5-1-1. Chris Funkey at Pegula Ice Arena: photo by Derek MeluzioDerek Meluzio | Special to PennLive  Chris Funkey completed his freshman season with Penn State appearing in four separate games. He played a total of seventy one minutes and only allowed two goals giving him a .933 save% and a 1.69 gaa. Obviously seventy one minutes is not enough time to really get a read on a goalie but the numbers don't lie, the time he did spend between the pipes was used effectively. It is a good sign for next season as he is sure to get a substantial increase in games played with the graduation of Skoff and departure of McAdam. Future Penn State goalie Peyton Jones is finishing up an excellent season in the USHL. He has played in thirty games and has a 17-9-1 record with a .925 save % and a 2.24 gaa which also shows promise for the next regime of Nittany Lion goalies that are taking over for the original group of Musico, Skoff, and McAdam. It is rather impressive to think that so far in the short history of NCAA DI hockey at Penn State each of the first three goalies have inked professional contracts, one of them being an NHL deal. That to me says a lot about the scouting and recruiting that goes on in Hockey Valley. Good luck to Skoffer and Eamon as they enter the next phase of their hockey careers.  [...]


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A look at the outstanding college career of Penn State goalie Matt Skoff

Fri, 19 Feb 2016 17:37:41 UTC

2016-02-19T17:46:24Z

As a youth hockey player I remember my first game when I moved up from the bantam level to the midget level. As a goalie I wasn't sure how I would respond to the higher level of play and the faster pace of the game. The players were older, bigger, and they shot a lot harder. The night before... As a youth hockey player I remember my first game when I moved up from the bantam level to the midget level. As a goalie I wasn't sure how I would respond to the higher level of play and the faster pace of the game. The players were older, bigger, and they shot a lot harder. The night before the game I was a nervous wreck. It seemed like a huge weight was on my shoulders.  Matt Skoff during the 2015-16 season: photo by Derek MeluzioDerek Meluzio | Special to PennLive  I was playing for a local youth team in an area league covering central Pennsylvania and Philadelphia. High stakes hockey to me but in the broad scheme of things it was pretty minor. Imagine if you had to experience the same situation but this time you weren't playing for a small local youth team but rather you were playing for the Pennsylvania State University. Instead of being a rookie at the midget hockey level, you were being tossed into the NCAA division I ring. Instead of playing in front of a bunch of parents and a few schoolmates you were playing in front of 1,300 screaming fans with the entire college hockey world watching. That is exactly what Penn State goalie Matt Skoff had to do at the start of the 2012-13 NCAA season. So much attention was on the team and the program. They had received a huge donation from Terry Pegula, they were moving up from ACHA hockey to the NCAA, and a new state of the art arena was being built. There was lots of speculation about the program, how competitive they would be, pressure to perform was high, it was an unbelievably tough situation to play in as a freshman goalie. I remember the game agianst AIC like it was yesterday. I also remember arriving at the rink and seeing that a freshman was starting in goal. It made me realize that the coach must have faith in him and that this kid must be one heck of a character player. Skoffer on the big screen at Pegula Ice Arena: photo by Derek MeluzioDerek Meluzio | Special to PennLive  Matt Skoff responded in amazing fashion that game. The McKees Rocks Pennsylvania native made 26 saves that night in a great game that ultimately ended in a 3-2 overtime loss. Despite the fact that the game ended in a loss it showed the college hockey community that Penn State meant business and that they could hang at the NCAA level. It also introduced the college hockey world to a goalie that would transition from being an unproven rookie to what is now a Penn State legend who will leave behind him a legacy of wins, great performances, and memories that will last for a long time.  Heading into the last home weekend of the season and especially Senior Day, Matt Skoff has racked up an amazing 32 wins in 74 games played. He has a career 2.82 gaa and a career .910 save percentage. Those would be impressive numbers for any NCAA goalie but especially for one who played on a team that despite exceeding many peoples expectations is still in the early stages of it's development. Those first two seasons especially, the team was young, the defense was still learning, and they relied heavily on their goaltender for confidence and stability. The team got that in Matt Skoff.  Matt Skoff at the start of the first NCAA DI game in Penn State history: photo by Derek MeluzioDerek Meluzio | Special to PennLive  I can honestly say in all the games I have seen him play he has always played with poise and confidence. Greenberg, Pegula, Madision Square Garden, you name it he played there and he played well.  Like I said before, I remember that first game against AIC. I remember [...]


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Goalie Matt Healy having memorable senior season at LVC

Tue, 12 Jan 2016 15:01:21 UTC

2016-01-12T17:34:50Z

Lebanon Valley College goalie Matt Healy is having quite the memorable senior season. He and his teammates are currently ranked #12 in the ACHA National Rankings with a record of 17-3-0. Healy himself has a 1.33 GAA, a .929 save%, and a perfect 3-0-0 record with one shutout in 180 minutes of action. Matt's most recent victory came just last... Lebanon Valley College goalie Matt Healy is having quite the memorable senior season. He and his teammates are currently ranked #12 in the ACHA National Rankings with a record of 17-3-0. Healy himself has a 1.33 GAA, a .929 save%, and a perfect 3-0-0 record with one shutout in 180 minutes of action. Warthog/pig on Healy's 2015-16 mask by Hart Designs. Derek Meluzio | Special to PennLive  Matt's most recent victory came just last weekend when LVC kicked off the second half of the season against NCAA DIII opponent Daniel Webster College. He made 22 saves on the night only allowing one goal in a 4-1 victory and was named the #3 Star of the Night. It isn't just this season that Healy is playing well and pulling his weight for coach Don Parsons. In the 2014-15 season he appeared in twelve games (notching one shutout) and was named to the ESCHL All-Academic team.  Prior to that during the 2013-14 season he was a huge part of LVC's success going 12-6-0 in twenty games played with one shutout. Lastly, as a freshman in 2012-13, he went 4-1-1 with a 3.02 GAA and a .910 save%. As he and the rest of the Dutchmen begin the second half of the ACHA season and close out what will be his final collegiate campaign, Matt has once again taken time out of his busy schedule to answer a few questions for "Stack the Pads". LVC Dutchmen logo on Healy's 2015-16 mask by Hart Designs.Derek Meluzio | Special to PennLive  In this senior season edition interview he tells us about how 2015-16 has gone so far but also looks back on some of his favorite memories wearing the blue and white at Hersheypark Arena and in other rinks around the country.    Stack the Pads- The first half of the season has started well for both you personally and the team as a whole. What can you attribute to the great start? Matt- Our team has really come together and worked well as a unit since day one. Everyone worked very hard during the offseason on aspects of their game and it's paid off so far. Stack the Pads- During your playing career at LVC is there one game or one moment that stands out as your favorite? Matt- My favorite moment during my college career has got to be organizing and playing in the military appreciation games the last four years. The atmosphere and support has been phenomenal, and we've been fortunate enough to help out quite a few families that more then deserve it. Stack the Pads- During your playing career at LVC what opposing team's rink did you enjoy playing in the most? What rink did you like the least? Matt- During my playing career at LVC I have been fortunate enough to play in many different rinks across the east coast. My favorite rink besides Hershey Park Arena has to be playing in Rhode Island at their facility. My least favorite rink that I played in during my LVC career was in Lehigh University. The backplate for Healy's 2015-16 mask by Hart Designs. Derek Meluzio | Special to PennLive  Stack the Pads- Can you tell us a bit abot your amazing new mask for your senior season? Who painted it? What was the inspiration behind the design, etc? Matt- This one is painted by Hart Designs in British Columbia. The mask is a mix of my home, and my new home here at LVC. It's got snow and ice marks across the mask, along with my pig (warthog). Across the mask are a ton of small LVC logos blended in with the snow and ice marks, along with a large Dutchmen on the side. On the back are a few family symbol[...]


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Skilled between the pipes and behind a lens, meet Penn State Women's Ice Hockey Club goalie Allyssa Long

Thu, 03 Dec 2015 17:00:03 UTC

2015-12-03T18:18:52Z

Grab a dictionary. Look up the definition of the term "team player". On that page you will find a picture of Allyssa Long. The Penn State WIHC goalie is the perfect example of a person who will do whatever they have to do for the benefit of the group. Now look up the term "fast learner". There she is... Grab a dictionary. Look up the definition of the term "team player". On that page you will find a picture of Allyssa Long. The Penn State WIHC goalie is the perfect example of a person who will do whatever they have to do for the benefit of the group. Allyssa Long in action with the Penn State WIHC: photo by Mary ClarkeDerek Meluzio | Special to PennLive  Now look up the term "fast learner". There she is again. Having only taken up the position of goalie recently, she has already progressed as a player and contributed to the team. If the name Allyssa Long doesn't sound familiar don't be surprised. It might not. In the hockey world she hasn't been playing ever since she was old enough to stand like some players. She wasn't recruited in high school to come play in Hockey Valley. In fact, she has really only been suiting up and playing in goal for the last few years. That being said, it doesn't mean she isn't good at stopping pucks. The very quick learner has progressed in her game and her playing style leaps and bounds the last few seasons. She has gone from a beginer, to a practice goalie, to a full rostered member and contributor to the WIHC team in the blink of an eye. She spent 2013-14 as a practice goalie for the Lady Ice Lions. In 2014-15 she was moved to the full roster and dressed for eleven games and played in one. She made 14 saves in a victory over Slippery Rock last November.  Nothing seems to be able to stop Long in her quest to get better between the pipes. Well, nothing can stop her but something has slowed her down... but only temporarily. Last winter the Emmaus, PA native was involved in a car accident. Since then Allyssa has been involved in lots and lots of therapy. The path from being on the sidelines in the stands to being back on the ice is shortening, and hopefully before you know it you will see her back out there in goal. Long has a passion for hockey. Like I said before, she is a quick learner and a real student of the position. She takes the same approach to her photography. Aside from being skilled in the crease at Pegula Ice Arena she is also very talented behind the lens of a camera. Penn State WIHC goalie Aimee Little in action at Pegula Ice Arena: photo by Allyssa LongDerek Meluzio | Special to PennLive  You may not see her on the ice right now but if you want to catch a glimpse of her teammates in action look no further then some of her amazing galleries. She has taken these photos for the team while she has been sidelined with the injury. She has also taken time out of her busy schedule to be the next Hockey Valley goalie to answer a few questions for "Stack the Pads".    Stack the Pads- First off, can you tell the readers a bit about your career so far? When did you get started playing and which teams did you play for prior to joining the Penn State WIHC? Allyssa- I did not have the traditional start for playing hockey. Always interested in watching hockey and attending Flyers games, I became involved in an adult hockey league and found my passion for the goalie position in the Fall of 2013. Due to my strength in hand eye coordination from years of tennis and soccer, and my limited skating experience, being a goalie seemed to make sense. That January I became a full time student at University Park and immediately joined the Student Hockey League. One evening, while suiting up in the locker room, some of the Lady Ice Lions came in excited to hear that there was a female goalie[...]


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Technique, athleticism, and confidence: Eamon McAdam is on top of his game for the Nittany Lions

Wed, 02 Dec 2015 14:40:19 UTC

2015-12-02T14:42:07Z

Penn State Nittany Lion goalie Eamon McAdam was recently named the Big Ten's #1 Star of the Week for his 30 save performance against Vermont at the Philadelphia College Hockey Faceoff. 9,213 people witnessed McAdam's shutout at the Wells Fargo Center last weekend but many more then that in the college hockey world are taking note to Eamon and... Penn State Nittany Lion goalie Eamon McAdam was recently named the Big Ten's #1 Star of the Week for his 30 save performance against Vermont at the Philadelphia College Hockey Faceoff. 9,213 people witnessed McAdam's shutout at the Wells Fargo Center last weekend but many more then that in the college hockey world are taking note to Eamon and his abilities as the season rolls on. Eamon McAdam sporting his new mask during the home opener: photo by Derek MeluzioDerek Meluzio | Special to PennLive  Penn State keeps winning and keeps moving up the USCHO Poll while McAdam does the same and is now leading nearly every major Big Ten statistical category. His 6-1-0 record is the best start for a Penn State goalie in program history. What is the difference between the Eamon McAdam of today and the Freshman goalie who played well but did not earn a single win during his first season? Plain and simple the difference has been experience but most importantly... confidence. Coach Gadowsky has praised Eamon's play and his demeanor in goal while his teammates echo that sentiment and are playing strong in front of him. McAdam is a New York Islanders Draft Pick so obviously he has the ability. That ability is highlighted by his technique and athleticism. His style is one like a traditional goalie who relies on playing the angles and percentages to make the routine saves but it also goes outside that box and sometimes he uses his reflexes and reactions to make the amazing save. McAdam during warm-ups at Pegula Ice Arena: photo by Derek MeluzioDerek Meluzio | Special to PennLive  That style is very dependant on one key element... confidence. When a goalie does not have confidence many things happen. They are deeper in their crease, they are not as aggressive with tracking the puck in traffic, and sometimes that doesn't put out a strong vibe to their teammates. Those factors can lead to an untimely goal or one that just "squeaks in" and puts the team down early. That could be a way to describe McAdam's Freshman season. The ability was there but the other factors kept the results from coming. Flash forward to 2015 and it is a completely different story for Eamon. Those goals that were going in before aren't going in now. Those narrow defeats are now victories. Those average statistics are now exceptional statistics.    McAdam has once again taken time out of his busy schedule to answer a few questions for "Stack the Pads." In this Q&A he talks about playing in front of his home crowd in Philadelphia, what it means to be a Pennsylvania native playing in Hockey Valley, and more.      Stack the Pads- Getting your first shutout is great. Getting your first shutout near your hometown, family, and friends is even better. How much pressure did you feel going into the game? Were you nervous? Excited? or both? Eamon- I didn't feel any unwanted pressure. A little bit of pressure is assumed with the position but that's something someone who enjoys the position thrives under.   I was very excited about getting to play so close to home though, I had a good amount of family at the game who don't get to see me play often so it was nice to have a good performance in front of all of them. Stack the Pads- Speaking of being a hometown hero... being a Philly boy is a big deal for the College Hockey Faceoff at the Wells Fargo Center but being a Pennsylvania native is also a big[...]


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Former Penn State goalie Mark Scally talks about his time in the NHL and in Hockey Valley

Thu, 12 Nov 2015 16:38:38 UTC

2015-11-12T17:13:07Z

Playing in the NHL is the dream of every youth hockey player. They all play street hockey or pond hockey hoping and dreaming of one day playing in the big leagues at the highest level or maybe even hoisting Lord Stanley's Cup. Last season Casey Bailey became the first Penn State Nittany Lion to appear in a regular season... Playing in the NHL is the dream of every youth hockey player. They all play street hockey or pond hockey hoping and dreaming of one day playing in the big leagues at the highest level or maybe even hoisting Lord Stanley's Cup. Former Icers team psychologist Ruben Echemendia, Joe Battista, Mark Scally, and former Icers players Rob Shaner and Joe Bassett: photo credit unknown. Derek Meluzio | Special to PennLive  Last season Casey Bailey became the first Penn State Nittany Lion to appear in a regular season NHL game. Shortly after that he became the first Penn State player to score an NHL goal.  NCAA Big Ten hockey, lots of great media exposure and the Pegula Ice Arena have made the path to the NHL a possibility for players in Hockey Valley. Casey was the first, and he certainly won't be the last.  Bailey's rise to the NHL is an amazing story. All that being said, and certainly not taking anything away from Casey, this is a goalie blog, and there is another story that you might not know about that needs to be told. "Honoring the past. Roaring into the future" Terry Pegula pays tribute to all of the players who have represented their school on the ice at Penn State. Male, female, modern day NCAA D1 era, varsity era from yesteryear, and the very successful ACHA era are all achknowledged. When you walk around the concourse at PIA you will see a wall that reads, "Penn State Hockey: By The Numbers." It is a complete list of each and every player who has played ice hockey at Penn State. One of the names on that list holds a very special distinction just like Casey Bailey.  Mark Scally was a member of the Penn State Icers ACHA team in the late 1990's. He had an excellent career as an Icer and went on to have a great professional career in the SPHL, UHL, ECHL, AHL and even yes a few games during the NHL  pre-season. In September of 2000 Scally was with the Pittsburgh Penguins on a tryout basis during the NHL pre-season. In a game at Mellon Arena against the Blue Jackets Scally was inserted into the contest and came up huge making 16 saves on 17 shots including up close point blank saves on Espen Knutsen and Matt Davidson. He even earned the win in goal and although not a regular season game it was an official NHL pre-season game and Penn State history had been made. The wall at Pegula Ice Arena listing each and every hockey player from the past at Penn State: photo by Derek MeluzioDerek Meluzio | Special to PennLive  Shortly after that Scally appeared in another NHL pre-season game this time at famous Hersheypark Arena against the eventual Stanley Cup winning Colorado Avalanche. Many area fans here in Central, PA (myself included) attended that game. Scally got the start for Pittsburgh and he played just over thirty minutes in the game. During his time in net that night the Penguins took seven penalties and as you can imagine the Avalanche cashed in on the man advantage a few times. Mark made multiple saves but did allow three power play goals against Milan Hejduk (assist to Joe Sakic), Ray Bourque (assist to Adam Foote), and Adam Deadmarsh. The Pens dropped the game 5-2 in the end but it was still an amazing performance and experience for a player from Hockey Valley. The Icer legend has taken time out of his busy schedule to look back on his experience in the NHL and his time at Penn State.      Stack the Pads- Pegula Ice Arena is amazing. No[...]


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First ever "Around the Crease" Hockey Valley goalie update

Fri, 30 Oct 2015 18:44:36 UTC

2015-10-30T19:44:35Z

Welcome to the first edition of "Around the Crease" on the Stack the Pads goalie blog here at Pennlive.com. Ten years ago when I started this journey I covered all things related to the Hershey Bears of the American Hockey League. Between all of their current and former goalies I had plenty to cover and plenty to talk about.... Welcome to the first edition of "Around the Crease" on the Stack the Pads goalie blog here at Pennlive.com. Ten years ago when I started this journey I covered all things related to the Hershey Bears of the American Hockey League. Between all of their current and former goalies I had plenty to cover and plenty to talk about. Often times I would do these sort of roundup style updates to get everyone up to speed on how the goalies were doing, who was being traded, who was playing where, etc. Eamon McAdam sporting his new mask during the home opener: photo by Derek MeluzioDerek Meluzio | Special to PennLive  At the time (in the early 2000's) there was some excellent coverage of the Bears in quality but not really quantity. I tried to supply a fan perspective and I focused on the goaltenders. Over time lots and lots of great sites and resources for Bears coverage blossomed (which is a good thing) and as the time passed there was less of a need for additional AHL Hershey coverage. At the same time there was an increasing interest in college hockey in Pennsylvania with Penn State announcing that they would be developing an NCAA D1 program along with LVC once again doing well and appearing in the ACHA top 20 poll. When I switched the primary coverage of the blog to cover college hockey in Pennsylvania I had a bit less to work with. Although I had casually been following ice hockey at Penn State ever since attending their youth camp in the 1980's I didn't know enough about the history of the ACHA Icer goalies to be able to do frequent updates. On top of that, the NCAA D1 program was just starting and you had no NCAA alumni to follow in pro hockey.  Now things are different. We have now had multiple goalies come and go through the program, we have had an NCAA guy turn pro and play in the ECHL, we have had a former Icer take over as a head coach in the ECHL, and new players are committing to the program all the time. I feel I have enough of a database of NCAA players and enough knowledge of the founding fathers from the Icer days to be able to keep you the fans informed with all things related to Hockey Valley goalies. Here is the first of what will be many "Around the Crease" Hockey Valley updates: Eamon McAdam:The Penn State Junior is making the scouting staff for the New York Islanders look better and better every day. Any doubters after his Freshman season have changed their tunes and are excited about his play and his future. Eamon is 3-0-0 to start the season and is 8-4-1 in his last thirteen decisions. He has a .916 save% and a 2.33 goals against average so far in 2015. I know the season is young but he showed up to the start of the 2015-16 campaign in excellent shape and on a mission. Things for Eamon began on the road against Canisius and he only gave up one goal while also making 27 saves. After that he was lights out against a very strong Notre Dame squad. He made multiple big saves at key times and late in the game he was the difference. Lastly, he was between the pipes for a very difficult game against AIC. He had to face the Yellow Jackets on the night after Penn State gave them quite a thrashing. As a goalie that can be tough. AIC came out tough and got a few early but Eamon fought past a strange goal early and did what he needed to earn the win. Matt Skoff and Chris Funkey during warm-ups before the home opener: photo by [...]


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Former Penn State player Brian Gratz and the Greenville Swamp Rabbits are off to a great start in the ECHL

Fri, 30 Oct 2015 15:17:21 UTC

2015-10-30T15:35:56Z

Success breeds success. That is certainly true for Greenville Swamp Rabbits head coach Brian Gratz. The Fort Wayne, Indiana native and former Penn State ice hockey player has been a winner with every team he has been involved with. As a Penn State Ice Lion he posted unbelievable numbers and won numerous ACHA DII awards. He was even named... Success breeds success. That is certainly true for Greenville Swamp Rabbits head coach Brian Gratz. The Fort Wayne, Indiana native and former Penn State ice hockey player has been a winner with every team he has been involved with. Greenville coach Brian Gratz during a practice with fellow former Icer PJ Musico: photo by Mykal McEldowney of the Greenville News.Derek Meluzio | Special to PennLive  As a Penn State Ice Lion he posted unbelievable numbers and won numerous ACHA DII awards. He was even named the team's MVP. As an Icer he had a hand in four consecutive National Championships from 2000 to 2003. Once Gratz graduated from Penn State and began coaching his success continued. in 2008 he was named the MAHL Coach of the Year and led the Indiana Ice Miners to the league championship. He followed that up with winning the 2009 EPHL title with the Jersey Rockhoppers.  A return to Hockey Valley in 2009 saw Gratz behind the bench for the Icers as an assistant coach and goalie coach. A return to the professioanl ranks saw more wins and more accolades all leading up to when he was named the head coach of the ECHL's Greenville Swamp Rabbits on July 7, 2015. The 2015-16 ECHL season may be young but Gratz and the rest of the Swamp Rabbits are off to an excellent start with a 3-1-0 record. Brian has taken time out of his very busy schedule to answer a few questions for "Stack the Pads". In this Q&A he talks about the great community support in Greenville, what has contributed to a fast start for the Swamp Rabbits, which rinks over his years as a player and coach are his favorite, and more.   Stack the Pads- The crowd and community really seem to be embracing the name change and rebranding in Greenville. What was the opening weekend like and what do you think has led to the Swamp Rabbits getting off to such a great start? Brian- There was a lot of time and effort put in to our home opener by our front office staff as it was a kind of official unveiling or introduction of the Swamp Rabbits to the city of Greenville. There was a tremendous amount of excitement in the building for that game which is something that I think our team really embraced and fed off of. As far as the strong start, I think it is a combination of having the right mix of player personnel and collective team effort in making sure that we would work hard for a full 60 minutes each night. We are a team that expects to win every night and knows that in order to accomplish that, we must earn it every shift. Stack the Pads- During your playing days as a Penn State Icer does one game or one moment stand out as your favorite? Brian- I was fortunate enough to be a part of the team that won four ACHA National Championships from 2000 to 2003. So obviously there were a lot of great moments and games during that time. Aside from those games, I think I would have to say that  my last home game at the Greenberg Ice Pavilion for our 2004 Senior Night game was pretty special. To have my parents there for a special moment before the game was great. Then getting the shutout win against Robert Morris that game was the icing on the cake. Brian Gratz in action: photo by Matt Shirk via the Daily Collegian 2003Derek Meluzio | Special to PennLive  Stack the Pads- Now on to arenas. During your college days, which rink was your favo[...]


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Greenville Swamp Rabbit goalie PJ Musico enjoying life as a pro in the ECHL

Tue, 20 Oct 2015 13:22:22 UTC

2015-10-20T15:20:59Z

A few years back former goalie Jared DeMichiel had an amazing Senior season at RIT. He was a bit of an unknown heading into his last college campaign but he played amazing, put up great numbers, won a few league awards, and was the feel good story of the NCAA that year. His hard work earned him a professional contract.... A few years back former goalie Jared DeMichiel had an amazing Senior season at RIT. He was a bit of an unknown heading into his last college campaign but he played amazing, put up great numbers, won a few league awards, and was the feel good story of the NCAA that year. His hard work earned him a professional contract. Musico looking on during the THON game last season: photo by Derek MeluzioDerek Meluzio | Special to PennLive  His career included a stint with the Hershey Bears of the American Hockey league, a stint in Elmira of the ECHL, a full season in South Carolina with the Stingrays, and even a brief recall to the Washington Capitals. Today "Demike" is an assiatant coach at St. Lawrence for the men's ice hockey team and will visit Pegula Ice Arena later this month to play the Nittany Lions. Penn State's PJ Musico has been experiencing a very similar situation over the last few months. He entered his last season of college hockey as the third string goalie for the Nittany Lions. He earned playing time and with that playing time came victories. Victories led to success on the ice for the team and success for PJ as an individual as well. During his last season he earned multiple Big Ten Conference accolades and he received the Derek Hines Unsung Hero Award. All of that led to an invitation to the Greenville Swamp Rabbits training camp. Musico performed well during camp and even saw playing time in the pre-season against the Stingrays. His play must have impressed the coaching staff as he was signed to a contract and he made the Swamp Rabbits opening night roster. Musico stretching at the Wells Fargo Center before the Philadelphia College Hockey Faceoff with Vermont: photo by Derek MeluzioDerek Meluzio | Special to PennLive  PJ has once again taken time out of his schedule to answer a few questions for "Stack the Pads". In this Q&A he talks about what it was like to take part in his first professional training camp, how he felt when he signed with Greenville, what his ideas are on a new goalie mask design, and he even gives the Hockey Valley faithful a special thank you message.       Stack the Pads- Can you tell us about your first pro training camp? What was it like playing in your first game? Can you describe your feelings when you found out you had made the roster and was offered a contract? PJ- Well my first pro camp was an awesome experience. Plenty to cover so I'll try to keep it short . After four years at Penn State and being a student athlete it was a strange transition to have nothing other than hockey to worry about. In college your class schedule really dictates how much time you get to spend at the rink. But realizing I have nothing to do but play hockey was a strange transition at first. Musico warming up prior to last year's THON game at Pegula Ice Arena: photo by Derek MeluzioDerek Meluzio | Special to PennLive  When I first arrived in Greenville I was able to skate a couple times prior to the first day of camp. It worked out well since I had to fly across the country once again. We only had 3 goalies for the first half of camp until Allen York was sent down midway through and for the first couple days it was a lot of shots so let's just say I slept pretty well at night .  In my first preseason game another goalie and myself were spl[...]


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Goalie Matt Skoff preparing for his final season between the pipes in Hockey Valley

Thu, 15 Oct 2015 20:00:33 UTC

2015-10-15T20:19:46Z

Three years ago I headed to State College for the first game of the 2012-13 season. It was the first NCAA D1 ice hockey game in Penn State history. The Nittany Lions did not belong to a conference yet, they were an independent team and that night they were playing American International College. I entered the Greenberg Ice Pavillion... Three years ago I headed to State College for the first game of the 2012-13 season. It was the first NCAA D1 ice hockey game in Penn State history. The Nittany Lions did not belong to a conference yet, they were an independent team and that night they were playing American International College. Matt Skoff last season at Pegula Ice Arena: photo by Derek MeluzioDerek Meluzio | Special to PennLive  I entered the Greenberg Ice Pavillion for the historic first game and was greeted by head coach Guy Gadowsky at the main entrance. Starting in goal that night was Freshman Matt Skoff.  Tomorrow night my family will once again make the trip west on route 322 into State College for the first game of the NCAA season. Many things will be different this time though. The team is now a member of the Big Ten conference. They will be playing Notre Dame instead of AIC. The game will take place at Pegula Ice Arena and not at the Greenberg Ice Pavillion.  Despite all those differences, one thing will still be the same. The name on the back of the jersey being worn by the starting goalie will read "SKOFF". Matt Skoff warming up prior to the team's game against Ohio State: photo by Derek MeluzioDerek Meluzio | Special to PennLive  That night three years ago, Matt was a college ice hockey rookie. He had never started an NCAA game before. Tomorrow night he enters the contest as a seasoned veteran. Now he is Penn State's leader in games played at fifty nine. He has packed so many great memories into those fifty nine games while wearing the blue and white. Statistically speaking Skoff is the most successful goalie in the three year history of the NCAA program. He leads the team in games played, saves, and wins. He is a multiple time Big Ten Star of the Week. He was on the Brice Goal Rush All-Tournament Team. He was even named the team's Most Valuable Player in 2013-14.  Over the years Matt has been a frequent contributor to "Stack the Pads." On multiple occasions he has taken time out of his busy schedule to answer questions for the fans. One such very memorable time was when he gave readers a little bit of insight on what it was like to start that historic first game against AIC.  SKOFF #31 has become a familiar sight in Hockey Valley over the years. photo by Derek MeluzioDerek Meluzio | Special to PennLive  Another experience Skoff shared with us was when he attended an NHL prospect camp with the San Jose Sharks.  Not only has Matt opened up to fans about his playing days over the years but his family has shared some of their experiences also. He is yet another prime example of a person who is a great player on the ice as well as a wonderful person off the ice. When this season concludes Matt will move on. After attending three NHL prospect camps over each of the last three summers hopefully a career in pro hockey is in his future. It is hard to think what Penn State hockey will be like without his name on the roster. That being said, the season is far from over, in fact, it is just getting started. There are lots more memories to be made and a lot more wins to be recorded by #31. ------------------------------------ Below is a video of Skoff recording a huge victory over Michigan at the Pegula Ice Arena along with a video of the his[...]


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