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Penn State Hockey: Biro Brings Skill And Hard Work To Ice As Captain

by on October 03, 2019 12:50 PM

It's 1999 and Alaska-Fairbanks is hosting a Top 5 ranked Michigan State team, the Spartans are miles and miles from home in one of the last cities on the edge of civilization.

But Michigan State, led by coach Ron Mason, is still force to be reckoned with no matter the location and a 5-1 victory on Friday night turns into a 3-0 win on Saturday. There isn't much Alaska-Fairbanks can do to crack goalie Ryan Miller, even less they can do to slow the onslaught of Michigan State's attack.

Across the bench from Mason newly minted head coach Guy Gadowsky, and as the series ends he asks Mason for advice, any kind of nugget to hang on to.

Mason's tip: "When your top player or most skilled player is also your hardest worker, you're done." Gadowsky recalled 20 years later.

And that's what Penn State hopes it has in captain Brandon Biro.

Biro is quiet, but his teammates listen, and as he racked up 40 points in 2018 they certainly saw him too. His chemistry with lineman Nate Sucese would be the team's best if it wasn't for the other equally as potent combinations, a unique trait for the nation's highest scoring offense.

In the big picture Biro might be the most talented player Penn State has had as a captain. He is a two-way player, able to make an impact on both ends of the ice. There might be a tendency to press in that position, to do it all because you have to skills to pull that kind of thing off, but Biro isn't looking to lead by clocking two minute shifts every night, he's looking to lead by playing the same kind of game he has for the three seasons. A game that has made him one of the best forwards in the Big Ten.

"I think holding guys accountable is one thing, I think we have a pretty good culture for that," Biro said of his leadership style. "And the other thing is leading by example, I can't expect guys to go play a 200-foot game if I'm not doing it. I think my 200-foot game is something that I'm proud of but hopefully I can lead by example so we can fix that."

The good new for Biro is that he isn't alone. The Nittany Lions are experienced and talented, this group has been through good times and bad. Biro might be wearing the C, but his leadership will not be the lone voice in the room, especially with alternate captains Liam Folks and Kris Myllari commanding similar respect. Ultimately that's a good thing, especially as Penn State eyes up big goals in 2019, postseason hopes the product of many, not just one.

“He is the same guy now as he was when he first got to campus,” Gadowsky added. “He is a relentless worker. There’s not one aspect of his game that he doesn’t want to make sure he does to the max. Whether it’s shooting pucks, individual skating drills, extra sled, extra weights. He does not leave any stone unturned in terms of improving himself.”

And if the rest of the Nittany Lions follow in those footsteps, Mason's advice from all those years ago may finally prove to be true.

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