Although the year ended in disappointment, there was much to celebrate for the Penn State men’s hockey team this season. The Nittany Lions made the NCAA tournament for the third time ever and set the record for the most lopsided shutout in tournament history once they got there. The Lions were minutes away from their first-ever Frozen Four appearance, before ultimately falling short in an overtime heartbreaker against Michigan. Now with the year fully in the rearview mirror, Penn State hockey announced awards for the 2022-2023 season earlier this week.
Penn State hockey announces awards for the 2022-2023 season
On Thursday, Penn State released its team awards for last season. This year’s players and coaching staff voted on all the awards. Additionally, the team gave a player the Iron Lion award for top performance in the weight room.
The team MVP went to leading scorer Kevin Wall. The senior forward had a career-high season in every category, finishing with 17 goals and 14 assists. After his performance this season, he sits in the top 10 for all-time goal scorers at Penn State. He still has a year of eligibility left due to the COVID season, but his future remains undecided at this time. Wall is a draft pick of the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes.
For the second straight year, Paul DeNaples was named defenseman of the year. The fifth-year senior and two-time captain finishes his career in the blue and white with the best plus/minus in program history at +58. Since arriving on campus in 2018, he played in 172 games for the Nittany Lions, not missing a single contest.
The Freshman of the Year award went to defenseman Jared Crespo. The New Jersey native recorded 10 points this season to go along with 46 blocks. Junior defenseman Christian Berger was named the Players’ Player as the individual who best exemplifies work ethic and commitment to Penn State hockey’s on-ice objectives. He was also named the top student-athlete on the team. The Iron Lion Award for best performance in the weight room went to junior Xander Lampa, and the Culture Award went to sophomore Carson Dyck for inspiring a positive culture on and off the ice.
With most of this season’s award winners still eligible to come back and play for the Nittany Lions, the future looks bright in Hockey Valley. The 2023-2024 campaign will kick off in early October, with the team’s sights set on making it to its first Frozen Four.
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