Penn State men’s hockey announced four new additions, including two freshmen and a transfer, to its 2019-20 roster on Wednesday afternoon.
Forward Connor MacEachern and defenseman Kenny Johnson will join the Nittany Lions as part of their incoming freshman class, and the team will also add forward Bobby Hampton as a transfer from Northeastern University. Goaltender Will Holtforster will also come up to the varsity squad after spending the past three years on Penn State’s club-level Ice Lions.
Connor MacEachern is a 5’10”, 175-pound forward from Brooklin, Ontario. He was initially committed to Robert Morris, but he changed his plans and committed to Guy Gadowsky’s program in June. MacEachern scored 26 goals and 30 assists for the USHL’s Youngstown Phantoms last season, which was good enough to finish third on the team. He put up those numbers in his first season playing in the USHL.
“Connor is a smart player who loves to shoot the puck,” Gadowsky said in a release. “He brings a lot of energy and his style of play will really fit our offense.”
Meanwhile, Kenny Johnson brings NHL bloodlines to Penn State’s 2019-20 roster. He’s the younger brother of Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Jack Johnson, who’s entering his 14th season in the NHL. The younger Johnson will bring plenty of size (6’4″, 230 pounds) to the team’s blue line, and he split last season between the British Columbia Hockey League’s Penticton Vees and Victoria Grizzlies.
“When it comes to hockey, Penn State is on another level. It’s a young program, but has already established itself as a team to watch out for,” Johnson said in a release. “The coaches are genuine people who believe in their players and want the best for them, and I want to be a part of winning championships for this program.”
Guy Gadowsky has dipped into the transfer market again to add forward Bobby Hampton to his squad. Hampton won’t play for Penn State during the 2019-20 season due to the NCAA’s transfer rules. The right-shot forward from Middletown, New Jersey spent the past two seasons playing for Northeastern, where he scored five goals and added two assists in 47 appearances.
“Bobby is a good skater who plays hard,” Gadowsky said. “We believe the year off will allow him to adjust to Penn State and our style of play.”
Will Holtforster will make the step up from the club level to Penn State’s D-I program as the team’s third goaltender this season. Holtforster went 10-2-0 and posted a 2.40 goals-against average and .923 save percentage for the club-level Penn State Ice Lions last season.
Blue-chip prospect Liam Souliere was initially slated to fill the third goaltender spot left vacant by Chris Funkey’s graduation, but he chose to delay his Penn state arrival until next season. Peyton Jones will be back for his fourth season as a Nittany Lion, and sophomore Oskar Autio is expected to serve as his backup throughout the season.
“Will is a great person and great teammate who will be joining us as our third goaltender,” Gadowsky said. “His character and love for Penn State will be an excellent addition to our program.”
Before today’s announcement, Penn State’s incoming recruiting class featured four players. Kevin Wall — a sixth-round selection of the Carolina Hurricanes in the 2019 NHL Draft — headlines the class that also includes forward Connor McMenamin, forward Tyler Gratton, and defenseman Mason Snell.
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