Eamon McAdam

The United States League’s Waterloo Black Hawks had a great problem this year: Two excellent goalies, but just one crease. Luckily, the draft-eligible tandem of Eamon McAdam and Cal Petersen got along and that battery helped the Hawks finish fourth overall in the league.

“We both had solid years and both got recognized to come to the draft combine and make it onto some of the draft lists, so it worked out well,” McAdam said. “We both wish we could have been the starting guy, but we both learned from the situation and both our games picked up because of it.”

Petersen ended the campaign at No. 4 on Central Scouting’s list of North American goaltenders, while McAdam placed sixth. But McAdam will get the first crack at the next rung of the ladder when he suits up for Penn State next season. Petersen, a Notre Dame commit, will likely stay in Waterloo for 2013-14 and play No. 1 minutes. The Fighting Irish will still have workhorse Steve Summerhays in net next year, but that’s his senior season. Pennsylvania native McAdam on the other hand, joins the shiny new Nittany Lions as the team’s marquee freshman.

“It’s a new program and I can be one of the guys that starts it off and hopefully takes it far,” he said. “Also, it’s only three hours from home and there are a lot of other positives, like the coaching staff.”

McAdam has that new-school goalie build to him at 6-foot-2, 185 pounds and considers himself a big fan of Buffalo’s Ryan Miller due to the Sabre’s technical play and athleticism. The latter attribute is something talent hawks have seized on when appraising the young man.

“High energy, high risk, high reward goaltender,” said one scout. “Great athleticism, but quirky. Attacks the puck, challenges shooters, but he does guess a lot – he’s not going to wait you out. Great kid in person, you can’t shake his confidence.”

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As for a personal synopsis, McAdam believes he can be successful thanks to both mind and body.

“I skate really well for a guy my size and I read plays very well,” he said. “I think that really helps my game. Rebound control and getting my stick on pucks low and controlling them is something I want to work on.”

Along with playing at the All-American Prospects Game in Buffalo in the fall, McAdam was also part of Waterloo’s march to the final of the Junior Club World Cup, a tourney held in Russia featuring teams from across Europe and the Ontario League’s Sudbury Wolves. It was the first time McAdam had travelled outside North America and even though the Hawks lost to Sudbury in the final, it was an experience he enjoyed.

Now the next step will take place in State College, Pa., where the Nittany Lions will face a Division 1 conference schedule for the first time. And as members of the new Big Ten, they’re not going in softly.

“It’s going to be high competition all the time,” McAdam said.

Washington Capitals draft pick Patrick Koudys will bring a big presence to the blueline and experience from his two years at R.P.I. The team also beat new rival Wisconsin this season – a shocker for the Badgers but a nice esteem booster for the nascent Penn Staters.

But Wisconsin won’t be caught napping next year and powerhouses such as Minnesota and Michigan aren’t going to go easy on them either, so Penn State is going to need some big play from McAdam.