Created: April 13, 2020 11:33 PM
ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — It wasn't exactly the senior season that Penn State forward and Fairport native Nate Sucese envisioned.
"It was super disappointing, honestly, to have the season end like that with what we were doing," he says.
The coronavirus derailed everything the top-ranked Nittany Lions had worked for, canceling all post-season play just two days prior to when they were supposed to host Minnesota in the Big Ten semifinals.
"That was kind of a shock. Us, as a Big Ten conference, being the last ones to cancel kind of gave us false hope," says Sucese.
Despite it all, Sucese leaves nothing short of success in State College. Sucese is Penn State's all-time leader in points and goals. He also ranks second in assists, shorthanded goals and shots on goal.
"Coming in, I never would've expected that I'd have the legacy behind me when I leave at the end of April, but I can't thank all my teammates and my linemates that I played with throughout my four years. There's been some elite talents that have played alongside me, and I'm super fortunate to be in the position I am and I'm sure proud of my accomplishments moving forward," Sucese says.
Sucese's professional career is now coming into focus. He inked a one-year, entry-level contract with the Arizona Coyotes in March.
"It's kind of surreal now that I'm used to it - that my name is attached to the organization - but being from Rochester and having to go cross-country will be something super fun and adventurous. I'm looking forward to it," says Sucese.
Sucese says he's ready to head west whenever that time comes.
"The teams that I was in contact with and kind of going back and forth in the negotiations did their part to sell what they wanted to offer me, and now it's up to me to take advantage of the opportunity they're giving me. Hopefully, one day, I can sooner rather than later step on the ice in a Coyotes uniform," he says.
In the meantime, Sucese is staying isolated in Happy Valley while he finishes his last semester. He's staying in shape by utilizing his at-home gym and doing specialized workouts created by his brother.
"I kind of hired him to put something together, a program, for me and what he thinks would be best for me moving forward to stay in shape in case the league actually does start up, and I have to head out on short notice and join an AHL team to finish out the year," says Sucese.
Despite all of the uncertainty, there's one thing Sucese knows for sure.
"Staying in shape and being ready to go whenever called upon is something I'm gonna take pride in," he says.
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