Penn State Hockey: Ryan Kirwan is on a Tear Since Being Promoted to the First Line

By Jacob Cheris on November 30, 2021 at 12:09 pm
Penn State freshmen Ryan Kirwan celebrates a goal verses Michigan at Pegula Ice Arena
Penn State Athletics

There were few positives for Penn State after getting swept by No. 2 Michigan. However, one player who stood out in both games. It wasn't Ben Copeland nor Kevin Wall, but their new linemate, Ryan Kirwan. Since Guy Gadowsky promoted Kirwan to the first line, he has six points in his last five games, adding to his season total of 10 points. 

"You just know what [Wall and Copeland] are gonna do. And I mean, they just do a great job making me not feel pressured and just feel welcome," Kirwan said. "They just told me the first game I was gonna play with them, just go out there, have fun, do my thing and don't be nervous at all."

Kirwan and Wall are already starting to form chemistry. He has notched two assists on  each of Wall's last two goals. 

"He's just a smart player. He knows what plays to make. He gets pucks out of the zone quick so we can transition and he block shots too which is huge," Wall said, whose father coached Kirwan back in Syracuse. 

Kirwan hails from DeWitt, New York, and scored the first goal of the new season against LIU. The youngest of four siblings, he comes from a family of athletes. His older brother, Luke, is a product of the United States National Team Development Program, and his sister, Lauren, played Division I hockey at Minnesota State and New Hampshire.

Knowing he would likely follow the paths his older siblings forged, Kirwan committed to Penn State in August 2017, when he was just 15 years old.

"It's a top notch facility, great coaching staff, great people. There's a great culture that's here," Kirwan said. "It's just everything I've ever dreamt of."

Even though the freshman winger is on a point streak, members of the coaching staff have noticed the minute details in Kirwan's play. 

"[Kirwan's] attention to the detail of his game specifically without the puck has been awesome," Gadowsky said. "It's something that's been really surprising. He's been so attentive towards it, and it lets him get ice time."

Penn State returns home after a four-game road trip to host Michigan State. The Spartans are well-known throughout the Big Ten to play tight, defensive hockey. If the Nittany Lions are going to extend their win streak to three games, it is going to be up to Kirwan and the rest of the lineup to play a complete hockey game.