Nate Sucese’s Consistency Is Key For Penn State Hockey’s Offense
Junior wing Nate Sucese’s monster weekend in his team’s sweep of Minnesota didn’t surprise Penn State men’s hockey’s fans, coaches, or his teammates.
Sucese scored a goal in Friday night’s 7-2 victory over the Golden Gophers before breaking out and scoring three points as the Nittany Lions capped off a resounding sweep with a 6-2 win Saturday.
Last weekend formed part of a nice stretch of form for the junior. He’s scored a point in six of his past eight appearances, dating back to Penn State’s 4-2 victory over Michigan State last month.
“You have to give [Sucese] a lot of credit there,” head coach Guy Gadowsky said after Saturday’s game. “Nate is the type of player who’s a game-changer with his speed and his skill. He scores goals that not many people in this league can.”
Sucese would’ve registered his second NCAA hat trick on Saturday if it weren’t for a disallowed goal in the first period. He scored twice in the first period of the game, but his second tally was wiped away because Penn State had too many men on the ice when the puck crossed the goal line.
Diehard fans of Gadowsky’s program are used to Sucese producing at such a high level. He’s scored 92 points in 102 games since his first season of college hockey in 2016-17, and is already the fourth-highest point scorer in the Nittany Lions’ admittedly short program history. Only David Goodwin, Chase Berger, and Andrew Sturtz have scored more for Penn State.
Consistency has always been a big part of Sucese’s success, and few players have been able to maintain his level of output.
“The points speak for themselves,” junior Liam Folkes said. “He’s just a very consistent player. Playing with confidence is key to that — I don’t want to speak for him, but I think he’s been confident for the past three years.”
It seems like yesterday that Sucese and Folkes’ freshman class served as the backbone of the team’s Big Ten championship and NCAA tournament run in 2017. Nearly two years later, Sucese seems poised to be considered one of the most prolific forwards in program history.
His speed and skill are obvious, but aren’t the only aspects of his game that have helped him produce.
“Along with some others, he’s at the very top [among forwards in program history],” Gadowsky said. “He has a bit of an attitude that he’s going to succeed, and he always does — he’s a very determined young man. You ask anybody who our most dangerous players are, he’s going to come up every time.”
Gadowsky couldn’t have asked for Sucese to heat up at a better time. The Nittany Lions are firmly on the NCAA tournament bubble in the No. 18 spot in the PairWise rankings and need to keep winning to secure a third-consecutive bid in the Big Dance.
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