Never in her wildest dreams did defender Lindsay Reihl envision herself playing Division I hockey for Penn State, let alone being an assistant captain in the team’s first year.
The senior came to Penn State content with playing four years of club hockey, but Reihl got the news at the end of her sophomore year that the team would make the transition by the 2012 season.
“I’m sure anyone you would’ve talked to couldn’t believe why Penn State didn’t have a Division I hockey program,” Reihl said. “I’m just so thankful to be on the team this year.”
Since Reihl has been on campus for three years and is one of two seniors on the squad, she has assumed the role of a veteran.
Reihl said she is happy about her place on the team and it is an honor for her.
Assistant coach Casey McCullion said Reihl stepped into the role seamlessly and it helps the team that is full of freshman and transfer players.
“She just brings knowledge of the campus, knowledge of how Penn State works, just knowledge of what it’s like to be a student athlete here,” McCullion said. “That certainly is valuable when you have a team as young as we do.”
McCullion said that it was huge for Reihl to be able to show the team around Penn State because once the team is comfortable with the campus, the things on the ice will take care of themselves.
McCullion also said that having Reihl as a resource to turn to makes it so the team does not have to worry about campus-related questions because Reihl always has the answer.
Captain Taylor Gross, who said that Reihl and her bonded over the “Titanic” re-release in 3D earlier this year, said that Reihl has been helpful for the young team thus far.
“She definitely knows the ropes, especially academically,” Gross said. “She’s a mentor for them and she’s a very positive person.”
Reihl said she is happy to pass along any information she has learned during her time at Penn State so far, whether it is about scheduling a class or anything pertaining to hockey. In fact, earlier this season, Nittanyville was brought up; several members of the team were unfamiliar with it and Reihl had to describe the tented town.
Head coach Josh Brandwene said Reihl sets a great example with her work ethic because she always wants to get better in practice. He also said she brings tremendous enthusiasm and she is a great role model as a Penn Stater.
“She’s spent a lot of time working on little things, little nuances of the game defensively that we’ve talked about,” Brandwene said. “As a result, her play continues to get more consistent every day.”
McCullion said Reihl is more of a vocal leader off the ice rather than on the ice and said that she thinks there was never a question in Reihl’s mind that she was going step into the leadership role on the team and do well in it.
McCullion also said that Reihl is a “simple” defender in the sense that she is not going to try to do a million things at once
“She’s going to pick girls up in front of the net,” McCullion said. “She’s going to do the dirty things—the not pretty things and allow us to then be able to go on offense and move the puck out of the zone.”