Sitting at 6-foot-2, 185 pounds, new Penn State forward Dylan Lugris fit right into the Penn State hockey culture once he stepped onto the ice. The Buffalo-native says that he is still adjusting to becoming a student athlete, however.
Lugris was a member of the Jersey Hitmen of the NCDC for two seasons. He served as captain for the first half of this season before enrolling at Penn State. He was second on the Hitmen with 36 points (13 goals, 23 assists) in 25 games. The winger was practicing with his former club when he got a text from his advisor.
"So I ended up going on the ice and after I got off the ice I got a missed call from State College. I was like, 'Oh boy I better go call this one back'. So I went and called back and they let me know, that I could come in at Christmas. And I think I said yes before they could finish [their] sentence, so I was super excited about it."
Once he was officially a Nittany Lion, he quickly established relationships with coaches and his new teammates.
"I'm hoping to bring a lot of offense and try to learn from the guys around me the best I can and bring a positive attitude," Lugris said. "I talked to coach [Gadowsky] about it and we both kind of saw eye-to-eye on how this team is coached, and the rules that we go by, and that's something that I wanted to buy into and agreed with 100%."
"He's an unbelievable person. He's a great leader. He's an excellent student. He's just a really good teammate, a really good guy," Gadowsky said.
Leadership qualities, a positive attitude, and a reliable 200-foot player is what Gadowksy, and the rest of the coaching staff saw in their newest forward.
"Obviously he's been a captain everywhere, which speaks a lot more to not only to him as a hockey player, but as a person and a student athlete," Gadowsky said. "So in that sense, as a person, he seemed to be a great fit."
And Penn State was a great fit for Lugris.
"The hockey and the academic part of the school is just absolutely unbelievable," Lugris said. "I think they're second to none."
The freshman made his Nittany Lion debut in the 5-3 victory against Army West Point. He was the extra skater, but he started the game on a line with Connor MacEachern and Connor McMenamin. It did not take long for him to make his mark.
Just four minutes into the second period, with Penn State leading 2-1, the Nittany Lions had an odd-man rush with McMenamin leading the way. He passed it across to an open Lugris and he sniped one into the back of the net to extend Penn State's lead.
On the ice, Lugris says that he tries to model his game after Colorado Avalanche superstar, Nathan MacKinnon. However, he also says that he plays like Dallas Stars veteran Joe Pavelski.
"I try to make as many plays as possible and get in front of the net, make some tips, play as hard as I can, and play 200 feet," Lugris said.
Penn State takes on No. 13 Notre Dame this Thursday for its first home series of the new year. Lugris is going to have to elevate his game even more if the Nittany Lions want to come away with a win.