PSU Player Spotlight: Ricky DeRosa
On a team loaded with freshmen talent such as Chase Berger and Andrew Sturtz (the two leading Penn State goal scorers), it’s important to have some veteran leadership to make sure the young guns don’t let all the scoring get to their heads. Junior forward Ricky DeRosa has been exactly that for the Nittany Lions, a guiding influence for a team looking to put together its best season in school history.
The 24-year-old DeRosa grew up in Aston, Pennsylvania, and played his high school hockey at Cardinal O’Hara from 2006-10, where he led his team to a Flyers Cup championship in his senior season. He was also a member of the Philadelphia Junior Flyers and Little Flyers during his time at Cardinal O’Hara.
As a member of the Port Huron Fighting Falcons of the North American Hockey League from 2010-13, DeRosa tallied 28 goals in 135 games and helped lead the Falcons to a North Division championship in 2012, being named an assistant team captain in the process.
Upon his arrival in Hockey Valley, DeRosa’s impact was felt immediately, scoring a goal in his first collegiate game against Air Force. He registered a total of 20 points in his first two years on campus (8g, 12a). He is putting together a solid junior campaign with five goals and three assists on the season, but he has had to step aside slightly because of the emergence of young talent on the roster.
The next test for the Nittany Lions comes this weekend at Michigan State, but leading up to the trip, DeRosa has looked all the part of a veteran leader: calm and confident.
“We know it’s going to be a hard-nosed game [going into Michigan State], it’s not an easy place to play, but we’re mentally tough enough that we are just going to go try to play Penn State hockey,” said DeRosa.
The Penn State style of hockey has worked well for the Nittany Lions up to this point, sitting third in the Big Ten at 21 points, six behind leaders Minnesota and Michigan. But points won’t come easy the rest of the way, with six of the final eight contests away from Pegula.
“We feel like we should win every game, no matter where we’re going to play.”
DeRosa is also very poised off the ice, majoring in business and looking into marketing for his post-hockey career. As is the case with any student athlete, he has had to balance his schedule between his sport, schoolwork, and helping the younger guys.
“Obviously I think time management is the key,” noted DeRosa at Monday’s press conference. “If I’m going to this class, I’m going to put my nose down, work hard, and make the most out of it.”
Several of the freshmen on the team are looking into business as a potential major, and DeRosa has always been ready to provide academic guidance. DeRosa has had a significant influence on Berger, who is hoping to gain admission to the Smeal College of Business at the end of next year.
Hopefully DeRosa’s efforts can translate to a much-needed sweep this weekend, as puck drops Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. in East Lansing.
Tom Shively is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. You can contact him at email@example.com.