Taylor Gross, who helped energize the Lady Icers to an 8-5-1 second-half record and the ECWHL regular season championship last year, has been named the first captain in the history of Penn State's NCAA program.
Head coach Josh Brandwene informed the team of his decision during a conference call Wednesday night, then shared it with the world via Twitter:
Gross, of course, is in a rather unique position among known members of the women's team in that she has already played NCAA Division I hockey, and done so quite well. As a freshman at Connecticut in 2010-2011, her 12 goals and 11 assists led the Huskies in scoring. Honors as a result of that tremendous debut included UConn's rookie of the year award, as well as recognition as Hockey East's rookie of the week on February 7, 2011. She left the team last November amidst a wave of transfers, eventually winding up at Penn State.
Despite playing only half of the year as a Lady Icer, the now-junior forward finished second on the team in scoring last season with 27 points while forming a highly potent line with Jess Desorcie, a fellow midseason transfer, and Tess Weaver. This line charged to the fore on numerous occasions, including in a 3-2 win over eventual ACHA national champion Northeastern on January 21st when Gross scored shorthanded and assisted on the winner during a third-period two-on-one with Weaver. One week prior to that, Gross assisted both of her linemates - including Weaver in overtime - as the Lady Icers pulled off a historic upset of NCAA Division I Sacred Heart.
While the Colorado Springs, CO native and former Colorado Select player is the first NCAA women's captain at Penn State, in the interest of preserving PSU's ACHA legacy, she takes over the C from departed senior Sara Chroman.