Former Bengal Eric Scheid leads new Division 1 program at Penn State with 15 points
Eric Scheid welcomed the chance to become part of the inaugural hockey program at Penn State University this fall.
Scheid, a 2010 Blaine High School graduate, laced up his skates for three different programs in four seasons including parts of two seasons with the United States Hockey League’s Lincoln Stars and the 2011-12 season at Alaska-Anchorage.
Leaning on those experiences, Scheid says the new experience has been a great one, despite Penn State’s 4-15-1 record.
“Love the campus, love the school and the Big Ten [Conference] atmosphere is great,” he said, while not only christening the new program but the brand new, 5,782-seat Pegula Ice Arena, also known as Hockey Valley.
“Being part of the new program, the whole thing has been a big deal so far and the fans are really rallying being us,” Scheid said of the atmosphere for hockey around University Park, Pa.
Scheid, the Nittany Lions’ leading score with 15 points and 10 goals, scored his first goal with the team in a 4-1 season opening win Oct. 11 against Army.
“It wasn’t pretty but it was good to get that first [goal] out of the way,” he said.
The first game at Pegula was seen by 6,370 fans.
“Most of us were running pretty high and the way the fans were going, it was an exciting atmosphere,” Scheid said.
Knowing the growing pains
Penn State was welcomed into the Big 10 Conference with a pair of losses (3-2 and 5-2) to top-ranked Minnesota Jan. 12-13.
Despite the losses, Scheid said his team did its part to shock the heavily favored Gophers.
“It was a fun atmosphere for us to play in and for many it was their first chance to face a caliber of team like Minnesota,” Scheid said. “Being a new opponent, we shocked them a little bit but they definitely came out ready to go the next night.”
Of the 10 goals he’s scored so far, Scheid pointed to late-game winner in a 3-2 win against Robert Morris Dec. 27.
The game was played in front of many Penn State alumni at CONSOL Energy Center in Pittsburgh, Pa., and Scheid got what he described as a lucky bounce to complete a third-period comeback, scoring with 1:40 left in regulation on his seventh shot of the contest.
Road to Penn State
Given his personal success and gains made at every spot along the way, Scheid was confident heading into his first season in the Big 10 Conference.
“I had a pretty successful freshman season as Alaska and another successful year back at Lincoln so I had an idea that [scoring] was going to be my role coming in to [Penn State],” he said. “I knew I had to step-up and use my experience to help my new team.”
That past experience includes 95 points (57 assists) in 120 career regular season games with the Lincoln Stars.
In 2010-11 he ranked fifth on the team in scoring with 36 points (21 assists) before returning for the 2012-13 season. Last season he ranked fifth in the league in plus-minus rating with a plus-37 rating, 16th in the league in assists (36) and 21st in points (59). He was fourth on the team with 23 goals.
Sandwiched between time in the USHL was the 2011-12 season at Alaska-Anchorage.
His only season with the Seawolves yielded a freshmen-high six goals and 15 points. Scheid’s nine assists ranked third on the team, but the fit wasn’t right for Scheid as the team struggled in the WCHA cellar.
Coming into the current season, Scheid didn’t know exactly how strong the new program would be against some of the best teams in the nation.
“I wasn’t ready for how competitive we’d be against everyone,” he said.
Despite losing 11 of 12 games overall, seven were by one goal against seven top-17 ranked teams.
That includes a 3-2 loss to No. 2 ranked Boston College at a sold-out arena in University Park Jan. 25. Scheid tied his career high points total with a second-period goal. “We’ve been competitive against everyone we’ve faced,” he said. “It’s really exciting to see the team develop the way we have.”
“My heart is in hockey and it was a matter of where I would end up, either Division I or somewhere else,” he said. “I was looking at a number of schools but in the end, both of my parents talked highly of the Big 10 atmosphere and the new rink at Penn State really made it an easy decision.” Being part of something new from the start while getting a top-notch education was a big motivation for Scheid.
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