Chase McLane has been one of Penn State's most improved players on the ice this season. After just having five points in his inaugural season, the second-year center has gotten off to a hot start point-wise, with three in the first four games. While that is great statistics-wise, McLane is also a player that does the little things right.
"I gotta win little battles, that's my game. Heavy hard and just instead of trying to do fancy stuff I'm just making it simple on with my game and just like it's a lot easier simplified," said the sophomore forward.
In 2020, McLane was selected by the Nashville Predators in the seventh round of the 2020 NHL draft. Head coach Guy Gadowsky says that McLane has adapted to the speed and pace of the game, which has led to McLane's recent success.
"It just seems he's more comfortable with things right now, with the pace of the game," Gadowsky said. "If we are going to be successful, he's a guy that is going to be a big part on both ends of the ice."
The Nittany Lion defense core has been playing really well and McLane's contributions on that end of the ice have been a big part of that. He is a +2 and has three blocked shots.
The Trenton, Michigan native is playing on a line with newcomers Danny Dzhaniyev and Ryan Kirwan. That trio has been one of Penn State's best, combining for 12 points.
"Honestly, it's awesome to see them come in as just freshmen to kind of turn it up already like them getting comfortable really quick," McLane said.
Centers have very important responsibilities. Along with creating chances in the offensive zone, a key aspect of those chances is winning faceoffs. McLane is currently winning 52.1% of his faceoffs (50-46). He said that he wants that success rate to be in the 60% range.
However, McLane still feels like he has not played to the best of his ability yet.
"I think stats aren't everything for me. I need to be better in a lot of areas," McLane said. "I honestly think my play has been pretty average and I think I have a lot more to give in terms of defense and producing offense."
Penn State travels to Nashville to play North Dakota in the Hockey Hall of Fame game. If the Nittany Lions want a legitimate chance at winning this game, they are going to need McLane to lead his line, along with continuing to win important faceoffs.