By Warren Kozireski —
Penn State senior forward began the 2019-20 campaign with several boxes yet to be checked as he nears the completion of his collegiate career, but with seven games remaining in the regular season, he is getting closer to finishing off his bucket list.
Set a program record for points in a career (132 and counting), check.
Set a program record for career goals (60 and counting), check.
Next on the list is career shots-on-goal; he needed only 21 more to tie Chase Berger at 477 with seven games remaining, plus any playoff contests.
And the Fairport native is within hailing distance of the program record for career assists (84) needing 12 more to tie.
The 5’9”, 175 lb. is leading the Nittany Lions in scoring in points (30), assists (20), shots (96) and was tied for the team lead with four power play goals in helping them into first place in the Big Ten just ahead of Michigan State.
But as with most athletes, the individual accomplishments pale in comparison to what they strive for as a team. Penn State was ranked 8th in the nation—sixth in the PairWise. In this case, the next boxes to check are the regular season Big Ten title, the conference playoff championship and the NCAA tournament are three more boxes awaiting pen marks.
“It’s been a good ride these four years,” Sucese said after the Michigan series. “I wanted to come here and make an impact and I think I’ve done that now being the leading scorer in history and winning a Big Ten championship my first year.
“I think it’s been piling on from my development with the Jr. Sabres to The Gunnery and on to Dubuque (USHL) and now here. Just taking it year-by-year and really hone in on my strength and my skills in the summer and coming in ready to play in the fall.”
Sucese never played high school hockey and instead spent two seasons with the Jr. Sabres before heading to prep school at The Gunnery. He committed to Penn State in summer of 2014 before spending two more full campaigns in Dubuque prior to heading to Hockey Valley. He more than doubled his point total from 27 to 59 giving him momentum and confidence heading into his freshman year.
The Communication Arts and Sciences major was invited to the Boston Bruins development camp—his second NHL invite after Nashville had him following his freshman year in 2017.
“The ultimate goal is to get an NHL entry level (contract) and we’ll see what happens at the end of the year, but I am aspiring to play pro hockey.”
But not so fast. It’s a four-year blur, but first there are more memories and boxes to check over the final few months.
“The Big Ten tournament and setting the goal record in Minnesota before Christmas was a pretty cool accomplishment and beating Union 10-3 (3/25/17- highest scoring NCAA playoff game in 27 years at the time) setting a record was a pretty memorable moment for the program for sure.”
And he would change nothing about his path.
“I didn’t want to be an hour away down the Thruway, but I wanted my parents to be able to come to almost every game and they’ve done that so far for four years.”