Meet the WIHC: Riley O'Connor


Year: Junior

Major: Biobehavioral health, with the intention of attending physician assistant graduate school

Hometown: Boothwyn, PA

Position: Center

Shoots: Right

Size: 5-foot-4, 110 pounds

Previous Team: Princeton Tiger Lilies U19


Her style of play: "I am happy to be a center because that position is the exactly the style I like to play. I really enjoy scoring goals, getting in the goalie’s face and beating others to the puck. At the same time, I also like to block shots and be a pain to the opposing team. I love penalty killing the most. I definitely do not have size on my side but I do the best I can with my speed and shot."

The team's goals for this season: "The team goals for this season are definitely to make it to the national championship and our goal there should be to win. We have a good team this year, and our defense is really strong which will allow offense to take more risks."

What makes the Women's Ice Hockey Club unique: "Our program is unique because we are a very young team and at this point, highly underrated. After last season, no one expects us to be good and I think that is exciting for us, because other teams will end up being really surprised."

The team's new freshman class: "The freshmen are great players as well as great people. They add a lot of fun and excitement into the team. They already seem comfortable with the whole team and seem confident in their hockey capabilities on the ice. We definitely can’t replace [last year's] seniors, but the freshmen are already filling in perfectly."

How she spent this past summer: "This summer, I volunteered in the emergency room at Christiana Hospital as well as the Step Down Unit at Crozer Hospital. I completed about 200 patient-care hours for PA school requirements. I also shadowed a few PAs at A. I. DuPont Hospital for Children. In addition, I was a server at Texas Roadhouse. On the fun side, I went to Florida for the first time in my life which was a great vacation."

What makes her work well with frequent linemate Claire Gauthier: "Claire is my best friend from Penn State but she’s also a teammate that I have always just connected with on a hockey level. We both really enjoy penalty kill and are very successful with that. I feel like there are always one or two teammates that you just easily click with, and Claire is definitely that teammate. She is also a lefty and I am a righty, so that always helps."

Her favorite thing about attending Penn State: "My favorite thing about Penn State is the feeling of family. It sounds cliché, but everything here makes you feel like you are a part of something bigger. Whether I’m standing in the bleachers at a Saturday night football game, or sitting with my teammates in the locker room before a big game, or even sitting in a lecture hall of 500 students interested in the same classes as me, I always feel like I am a part of something bigger. A big school can be overwhelming, but all the opportunities that Penn State has to offer has allowed me to find people that I love just like family. Our hockey team has a huge impact on that, which is why I enjoy playing so much."

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