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Penn State Hockey: Pavlychev Brings Unique Size To Ice

by on November 18, 2016 12:00 PM

The best way to say this is fairly simple: Nikita Pavlychev is large human.

Technically, he's 6-foot-9 without his skates. That's good enough to make him the second tallest player on the Penn State basketball team. Problem for Pat Chambers is that Pavlychev doesn't play basketball, he plays hockey. So add in a few inches of steel and a hockey stick and best of luck getting past him on the ice.

“Even when you think you can get around him, it’s just no,” forward Ricky DeRosa said with laugh. “His stick, he’s got the puck somehow.”

And that's hardly a bad thing for Penn State. Surprisingly the Russian native Pavlychev is a forward, not a defenseman, so his size can be seen skating down the ice with the puck on his stick, ripping high velocity shots at the net. As you might expect that comes with some challenges. Being that big isn't exactly a walk -- or a skate -- in the park. 

“There’s always going to be challenges,” Pavlychev said earlier this week. “There’s always going to be problems with coordination, but I’ve gotten so much [more] used to it now.”

So far though the tallest of Penn State's 10 freshmen seems to be doing just fine for himself with two goals and three assists though 11 games. Even more important, he's using his size to his advantage at both ends of the ice.

“I don’t think anyone knew that I was going be that tall, even though I was a little taller than the rest of the kids on my teams,” Pavlychev said with a laugh through his thick Russian accent. “I just had a year where I grew three or four inches.”

"And then boom, 6-foot-9." Captain David Goodwin interjected with a smile.

“It was just so much easier to play with, someone like you,” Pavlychev said. “I’m pretty sure if the two of us stand on the blue line, we’d probably cover the whole entire thing.”

Whatever the case might be, it appears to be working. The Nittany Lions are 9-1-1 on the year and are set to face Arizona State this weekend for a two-game series. The Sun Devils and Nittany Lions are the two newest programs in Division I hockey. While Penn State is a significant distance ahead of its southwestern counterparts, both teams bring a storied history of club play to the ice on Friday and Saturday night. None of the current players were a part of that series, but there is history nonetheless.

A history that will quite literally take new heights when Pavlychev hits the ice.

Ben Jones covers Penn State football and basketball for He's on Twitter as @Ben_Jones88.
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