Penn State Hockey: The New Recruits

By Jacob Cheris on August 18, 2021 at 10:00 am
Mar 14, 2021; South Bend, Indiana, USA; Penn State's Chase McLane (11) celebrates after scoring against Notre Dame at the Compton Family Ice Arena. Mandatory Credit: Michael Caterina/South Bend Tribune-USA TODAY NETWORK
© South Bend Tribune-USA TODAY NETWORK

Penn State is gearing up for another big season, where expectations are always high. Once it was announced that the Nittany Lions were missing the NCAA tournament, head coach Guy Gadowsky went to work finding fresh blood. Here is a quick overview of the new faces heading into the brand new campaign. 

Carson Dyck, F, 6'0, 180lbs

Dyck spent the past four seasons in the Alberta Junior Hockey League with the Okotoks Oilers. The Lethbridge, Alberta native racked up 66 points in 110 games. He did not break the 10-goal threshold during his time with the Oilers. He instead put up 51 assists, indicating that he is a pass-first player. 

Dyck served as an alternate captain for Okotoks this past season, but he and the rest of the team played only eight games, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Danny Dzhaniyev, LW, 5'4, 145lbs

Dzhaniyev has lots of weapons up his sleeve, despite his small size. The Brooklyn native played in the United States Hockey League (USHL) with the Dubuque Fighting Saints. That was the same program that Johnny Gaudreau of the Calgary Flames attended. He was another undersized player, sitting at just 5'9. Dzhaniyev scored 36 points in 49 games with the Saints, including this dazzling goal.

The left-winger also played for the U.S. National Team Development Program, on the U17 and U18 squad. 

Ben Copeland, f, 6'1, 185lbs

This was a huge acquisition for Gadowskys' squad. Hailing from Edina, Minnesota, Copeland spent the last three seasons at Colorado College of the NCHC. He was one of the top forwards once he entered the transfer portal. He was second in points on a struggling Prowlers team that was at the bottom of the NCHC in 20-21. 

Penn State is a young team and Copeland will bring experience to that locker room. The rising senior won't be the flashiest player, but he will get pucks on net. He shot the puck 171 times in all three seasons with Colorado. That style of play will mesh immediately with Gadowsky. 

Simon Mack, D, 5'10, 178lbs

The only defensemen that Gadowsky was able to snag this year. Mack spent the past two seasons in the USHL, playing for the Des Monies Buccaneers. He committed to Penn State on February 1, 2017, and signed on November 19, 2019.

Prior to playing in the USHL, the Brockville, Ontario native played two seasons with Brockville Braves of the CCHL. He had 62 points in 99 games with the Braves. During the 2018-19 season, where he had a career-high 37 assists, he was awarded the CCHL top prospect award and was a second-team All-Star. 

Ryan Kirwan, LW, 6'2, 188lbs

A natural and consistent goal-scorer, Kirwan was drafted 14th overall by the Madison Capitols in the 2018 USHL draft. In the 2019-20 season, he led Madison in goals (25) and was second in points (41). He was named to the USHL All-Rookie Team that same season. Prior to being drafted, he scored 58 goals with the Little Caesars U16 team and eventually won the Michigan State Championship. 

Kirwan hails from DeWitt, New York, and has always wanted to come to Penn State.

"Ever since I was a kid, I dreamt of attending Penn State. The facilities are the best in college hockey and no rink gets louder than Pegula Ice Arena. The coaching staff is top-notch, and it was an easy decision for me to make."

Ben Schoen, c, 5'8, 150lbs

Schoen is the fourth player in this class coming from the USHL. The 19-year-old spent the second half of last season with the Tri-City Storm, appearing in 24 games. Prior to being traded to Tri-City, he had spent the previous three years with the Youngstown Phantoms. The Maumee, Ohio native had 30 points in 41 games in the 2021 season. Similar to Kirwan, Schoen also was a member of the Little Caesars program. He racked up 78 points for the U15 squad. 

This is a very strong group with a lot of upside. With holes to fill, these players should fit in very nicely into Gadowsky's lineup. Each player will play a big role to make Penn State a successful team.