The Nittany Lion mens hockey roster features a wide variety of backgrounds, with 16 holdovers from the previous Icers club program, five who have prior Division I experience at another school and nine who played in the United States Hockey League. They come from 17 different states and Canadian provinces, from as close as Carlisle and from as far away as California, Alaska and British Columbia. Among them are a few whose names Penn State fans will likely see and hear frequently:
Tommy Olczyk 5-10, 185 pounds, Soph., Forward
While just a sophomore, hes already been voted team captain by his teammates. Hockey is in his blood, with his father Eddie a former NHL player and coach and current NBC analyst. He has been more than willing to step in and be one of the faces of the program. He scored 24 goals and added 28 assists with the Icers last season, and spent the summer at the NHL Carolina Hurricanes conditioning camp.
Nate Jensen 6-0, 185 pounds, Jr., Defenseman
Voted an assistant captain, he, like Olczyk, comes from a hockey family. His father, David, also played in the NHL and was a member of the 1984 U.S. Olympic team and his uncle, Paul, was on the 1976 U.S. Olympic team. He scored six goals and assisted on 20 others last season with the Icers in his first year at the school. He transferred from Mercyhurst, where he played 36 games as a freshman, collecting two goals and 14 assists. While playing in high school in Minnesota, he earned the states Hobey Baker Award for character as a senior.
Max Gardiner 6-3, 190 pounds, Soph., Forward
In a season of many firsts, Gardiner has his place in Nittany Lion history even before the first game he is the programs first NHL draft pick. Gardiner was a thirdround selection of the St. Louis Blues in 2010. He is a transfer from perennial power Minnesota, where he had a goal and two assists in 17 games with the Gophers last season. In high school he was a finalist for Minnesotas Mr.Hockey award.His brother, Jake, is a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Taylor Holstrom 5-9, 185 pounds, Jr., Forward
Like Jensen, Holstrom is with the Nittany Lions after playing one season at Mercyhurst. He led the Lakers with 24 assists as a freshman in 2010-11 while adding nine goals and was Atlantic Hockeys Rookie of the Year. Skating with the Icers last season, Holstrom collected 12 goals and 25 assists. Holstrom is a native of Yorba Linda, Calif.
PJ Musico 6-1, 198 pounds, Soph, Goalie
Matthew Skoff 6-1, 186 pounds, Fr., Goalie
Head coach Guy Gadowsky has not announced the starting goalie for tonights game, but these are the likely leaders. Musico, like Holstrom a native of Southern California, posted a 14-1-1 record with the Icers last season. He has seen extensive action in junior hockey, including leading the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League in minutes, saves and shutouts while playing with the Flin Flon Bombers. Skoff is a 21-year-old freshman from McKees Rocks who has spent the last three years playing for the USHLs Sioux City Musketeers. He ranked second in the league in shutouts and sixth in goals-against and save percentage last season.