Andrew Sturtz has some moves when it comes to goal-scoring.
The credit on some, he says, goes to Penn State goalie Chris Funkey.
Sturtz works in practice to perfect a variety of moves, and when the junior goaltender says Sturtz’s latest maneuver is ready, the junior forward pulls it out of his bag of tricks at the next game.
“My secret’s Chris Funkey,” Sturtz said Monday, ahead of the No. 18 Nittany Lions’ home-and-home series with Robert Morris on Friday and Saturday.
Never miss a local story.
There has been a lot lately in Sturtz’s bag of tricks. He scored a pair of goals last weekend at Ohio State, giving him 10 on the season to lead the Big Ten and tie for ninth in the nation. His 22 points ranks second in the conference and is tied for third in Division I.
Sturtz has always been a goal-scorer — he has led the team in goals in each of his previous seasons, and his 50 career scores is already the Penn State record — but he has been getting into the assist column a lot more this season, and he also has come up big at key moments.
The most recent was in Columbus last weekend, scoring with 0.7 seconds left to tie the Buckeyes 5-5. After a scoreless overtime, he was the only player among the three skating from each team to score in the shootout.
Funkey, though not officially, got the assist on the goal.
Sturtz copied a move he saw online from an NHL player. After a little work in practice, Funkey gave the thumbs up last Wednesday.
The previous week, Sturtz had a different maneuver that gained Funkey’s approval — resulting in a shootout goal against Michigan State.
“I switched moves, and they both worked,” Sturtz said. “I give him the credit.”
The two shootout goals don’t actually count in Sturtz’s scoring total for the season — they just decide who gets an extra point in the Big Ten standings — but he’s also pretty good when Penn State is killing penalties. The Nittany Lions have three short-handed goals this season, all by Sturtz to match his totals from each of the previous two seasons.
“He’s just a goal-scorer, man,” coach Guy Gadowsky said. “The guy just scores, from everywhere. I can’t figure it out. He’s a special player.”
Sturtz’s short-handed score against the Buckeyes — during Saturday’s 4-0 win — was almost pure luck. Defenseman Trevor Hamilton was just trying to clear the puck during the Ohio State power play so he could get to the bench. He banked the puck off the glass, not even looking down the ice, and it happened to bounce right to Sturtz.
“Then I saw him one-on-one and I said, ‘Here comes a goal,’” said Hamilton, whose 13 assists leads the team and all Big Ten defensemen. “You’ve got to give him the puck, and he does his magic.
“It’s real easy to play with guys like that.”
Men’s college hockey
Who: Penn State (9-7-2, 4-4-1-1 Big Ten) vs. Robert Morris (5-9-1, 5-7-1 Atlantic Hockey)
Friday: 7:05 p.m., PPG Paints Arena, Pittsburgh
Saturday: 7:05 p.m., Pegula Ice Arena
Radio: WAPY 103.1 FM
Leading scorers: PSU—Andrew Sturtz (10 goals, 12 assists), Trevor Hamilton (2G, 12A), Brandon Biro (5G, 10A), Chase Berger (3G, 12A). RMU—Michael Louria (5G, 11A), Luke Lynch (9G, 6A), Brady Ferguson (6G, 8A), Spencer Dorowicz (6G, 5A)