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Penn State Hockey: Biro And Sucese Linked At The Mind And Chasing History

by on October 18, 2018 5:20 PM

Brandon Biro and Nate Sucese are a lot alike. They're about the same height, they're a standard 'hockey weight' and they look somewhat similar, even if Biro gives off a certain boyish charm that makes you question if he's even old enough to be in college.

So maybe it's not a surprise that the two have combined for one of Penn State's hockey's most lethal lines in the program's short but growing history.

It is a curious case in hockey chemistry though. The likes of Casey Bailey, David Goodwin and Taylor Holstrom --arguably the best line the program has put on the ice-- all of them were fairly different players. Holstrom was fast, Goodwin with diverse and Bailey came with a powerful shot. It was a nice compliment of assets.

But in the case of Biro and Sucese it has been an exercise in just how much of an inexact a science line-making can be in hockey. Even coach Guy Gadowsky just shrugs his shoulders when asked for the formula. You just know it when you see it, even if that means two players on the ice that are about as fast, about as strong and about as smart as each other. If anything their redundancy is their biggest asset.

And their minds.

"Different people have different hockey IQs and Biro's is very high and I can say the same for myself," Sucese said after practice earlier this week. "So I think our two minds together, we don't even really have to look to see where each other are, we can make plays even faster."

"I think it takes a little while (to create that chemistry)" Biro added. "We watch hockey together every night so we watch little plays and say "oh we could try that" we watch our game clips together, so it's a lot of video and stuff off the ice that you don't see, but it translates on the ice."

And of course don't forget the always important third man on the line. So far this season it has been new transfer center Ludvig Larsson who was outstanding in Penn State's opening weekend on both ends of the ice and at the face off circle. Larsson took his place on the top line instead of an injured Denis Smirnov who currently has no timetable to return.

It could make for an interesting few weeks for the Penn State duo that has scored eight goals in the past seven games. Larsson was a natural fit, but Smirnov is perhaps Penn State's most gifted offensive player. Both bring something to the already established pair, and while Smirnov slotting back into his place alongside his linemates for almost all of last season makes sense, it's hard to argue the value a dominant specialist at the dot, Larsson winning 72% of his faceoffs in the opening two games of the year. 

Whoever it is though, Biro and Sucese don't seem to mind either way.

"I think that third guy can be a little different than the other guys," Sucese said. "I think that's the case with Ludvig, he has a lot of skill and a lot of speed but his defensive mind allows us to pressure so much in the offensive zone and his ability allows us to have offense."

While Sucese and Biro play on a team far more balanced and far more talented overall than Bailey and Co did, the dynamic duo are already off to a hot start just two games into the season and with plenty of hockey left to play, chasing history all the while.

CHASING THE BEST

2014-15: 93 points from Bailey, Holstrom and Goodwin

2017-18: 65 points from Biro, Sucese and Smirnov

2016-17: 55 points from Curtis Loik, Chase Berger and Kenny Brooks

So far in 2018-19: 10 points

  • 4 points from Brandon Biro
  • 4 points from Nate Sucese
  • 2 points from Ludvig Larsson


Ben Jones covers Penn State football and basketball for StateCollege.com. He's on Twitter as @Ben_Jones88.
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