Penn State men’s hockey will have the services of at least two key pieces yet again in 2021 as defenseman Clayton Phillips and forward Adam Pilewicz both announced on Friday their intentions to return to State College.
“Penn State has given me everything I could have imagined and more,” Pilewicz wrote on Twitter. “I’ll be back in the Blue and White next season and couldn’t be more excited.”
While Pilewicz was not much of stat-sheet stuffer in 2020, the forward finds himself as one of the most respected players in Penn State locker room and major culture-driver for the Nittany Lions at every turn. Pilewicz played in 12 games last season.
“[Pilewicz] is the ultimate team player,” forward Connor McMenamin said earlier this year. “Just the best person you could want on your team, in the locker room and on the ice.”
As for Phillips, the once Minnesota Gopher transfer will return for a third year as a special team guru for the Nittany Lions and what will likely pan out to be half of Penn State’s top defensive pairing come the 2021-22 season. Phillips managed seven points will making appearances in 20 games during this past season.
“Penn State has been such an incredible place to play,” Phillips wrote in an announcement on Twitter. “I truly could not be more excited to be coming back to Hockey Valley for another season this Fall.”
The duo’s return comes in contrast to the departures of forwards Aarne Talvitie and captain Alex Limoges, both of whom signed professional deals. Limoges signed a professional tryout with the AHL’s San Diego Gulls while Talvitie inked a two-way deal with the New Jersey Devils.
Penn State coach Guy Gadowsky has not addressed the media since the conclusion of the Nittany Lions’ strange pandemic-altered season but is expected to do so once the dust on the college hockey season at-large settles on April 10th.