-->

New Captain O'Connor Set to Lead Lady Ice Lions into 2017-18 Season

Riley O'Connor, Rachel Cole, Meghan Miller and Tarika Embar will be the 2017-18 Lady Ice Lions captains



In 2017-18, for the second consecutive year and following a team vote, the Penn State Women's Ice Hockey Club will feature an entirely new on-ice leadership group, led by new captain Riley O'Connor.

Tarika Embar, Rachel Cole and Meghan Miller will be the alternate captains.

"I'm excited about our captain group for the upcoming season," head coach Patrick Fung said. "They're a great mix of personalities, backgrounds and talents, but you'll notice a few common qualities: All four are elite students who have balanced academics, work, a social life and hockey without letting one be an excuse for not achieving the others."

"All four are also passionate competitors who have used the last few years develop themselves into quality hockey players at this level, and serve as examples that we're never done getting better."

With one full year remaining in her college career, O'Connor has already carved an impressive niche in team history. Her 46 career points are topped only by 2015-16 seniors Darby Kern and Devon Fisk among WIHC-era players, and she ranks 18th all-time when including the Lady Icers (statistics were recorded beginning in 2001-02). O'Connor was the ACHA's rookie of the month in November of 2014 en route to being named team rookie of the year, and has followed her freshman year up with ECWHL all-conference honorable mentions to end each of the last two seasons, as well as Academic All-American recognition this past year.

She will also serve as club president, a dual leadership role that is surprisingly rare. Jackie Saideh, a 2016 graduate, was both president and captain during her senior year, but that's the only other time it's happened since 2010.

Embar, who joins O'Connor as the Lady Ice Lions' only returning seniors, has been regarded as one of the team's hardest workers and most athletic players since arriving in 2014, and already had the respect of the room well before earning a letter. The big Pittsburgh native scored twice in the final five games of the 2016-17 season, including a crucial tally against NCAA Division III Lebanon Valley College that helped the WIHC to its first win over a varsity opponent. Embar, who was an Academic All-American in 2016-17 and will be the team's treasurer in 2017-18, has played in 69 career games to place second to O'Connor among the squad's most experienced players.

Cole is another player who has progressed steadily throughout her career. The rising junior scored her first career goal with 4:40 remaining in an early-season contest at Northeastern to supply Penn State's margin of victory, and went on to finish tied for fifth on the team in scoring (second among forwards). The former Steel City Selects teammate of Embar often played a key defensive role on the team as a checking-line center and saw heavy special teams usage. While not yet eligible for Academic All-American status, a distinction reserved for upperclassmen, Cole's 3.98 grade point average through a demanding biology/pre-medicine curriculum certainly would have qualified but for her class standing.

As the Lady Ice Lions' scoring leader last season, Miller was particularly effective late in the year after moving from center to O'Connor's left wing, delivering ten points over the team's final 12 games on the way to All-ECWHL honorable mention recognition.. The 2015-16 team rookie of the year has developed a reputation as a power play specialist, as she accumulated seven points on the advantage in 2016-17. As a freshman, she became the first documented Penn Stater to score in her first three college games since Alicia Lepore in 2006-07, with two of those tallies coming on the power play as well.

"We're fortunate to have a dedicated group that has played critical roles for the team on the ice for two and three seasons respectively," Fung concluded. "It is now their turn to fulfill the honor and responsibility of being named captains to the team."

PENN STATE CAPTAINS (SINCE 2005)


Season
Captain(s)
Alternate(s)
2005-06
Ashleigh Kinder
Lauren Johnston
Dana Voelker
2006-07
Dana Voelker
Chelsea Sacks
Jess Waldron
2007-08
Caitlyn Sawyer
Chelsea Sacks
Jess Waldron
2008-09
Chelsea Sacks
Jess Waldron
Alicia Lepore
Krissy Heard
2009-10
Alicia Lepore
Claire Slagis
Dana Heller
Sara Chroman
2010-11
Sara Chroman
Dana Heller
Michelle Clarke
2011-12
Sara Chroman
Dana Heller
2012-13
Carly Szyszko
Elizabeth Denis
Allie Rothman
Mary Kate Tonetti
2013-14
Carly Szyszko
Allie Rothman
Ashton Schaffer
2014-15
Ashton Schaffer
Kim Badorrek
Jackie Saideh
Geneva Wagoner
2015-16
Jackie Saideh
Ashton Schaffer
Darby Kern
Nina Elia
2016-17
Kelly Watson
Lucy Yeatman
Anna Marcus
Cassie Dunne
2017-18
Riley O'Connor
Tarika Embar
Meghan Miller
Rachel Cole

Penn State Lady Ice Lions: Twitter | Facebook | Instagram