PITTSBURGH– After what was arguably their toughest stretch of the season, the RMU women’s hockey team (3-5-1, 1-0 CHA) returned home and captured their third win of the season against Penn State (3-5-3, 0-1 CHA) by a score of 5-2. RMU is coming off of a six-game stretch facing top-five teams such as Minnesota, Clarkson and Cornell. With this win, it marks the first CHA win of the year for the Colonials, who are looking to capture their third straight CHA regular-season title.
The Colonials were shutout in both games against Cornell last weekend, the first time since 2010, and depth scoring seemed to be a concern. However, the depth on this team came to play Friday against Penn State, as seven different Colonials scored. Raygan Kirk got the start as well and posted 21 saves on 23 shots.
One of the areas that RMU has been dominant in all season has been the power-play, as they currently sit in sixth in the NCAA in power-play percentage. This continued Friday as Emily Curlett scored her NCAA-leading sixth power-play goal of the year, giving RMU the 1-0 lead in the process. However, some miscommunication and defensive mistakes allowed Penn State to fight back before the period came to a close. Brooke Madsen tallied a power-play goal for PSU, and Rachel Weiss buried home a one-timer making it 2-1.
“In between the period, the leadership that we have in our locker room was huge. I don’t think anybody in our room felt that the first period was our best period and how we wanted to play,” stated head coach Paul Colontino on the transition from the first to the second period.
Whatever was said in the locker room seemed to work for the Colonials, as RMU dominated in the second period. Emily Curlett continued to have yet another spectacular game for RMU, shooting whenever she could. Midway through the second period, one of Curlett’s shots was tipped home by Mackenzie Krasowski, who scored her third goal of the season and tied things up 2-2. Curlett also made a beautiful pass through the slot to find Courtney Kollman backdoor, who finished the play for her first NCAA goal. Kollman had the following to say about her first collegiate goal.
“I saw her (Emily Curlett) look at me and then cut. She kinda lost me and then made the pass across which got through a lot of people. It was a pretty hard pass so I had to be ready to get my stick on it and put it in the net.”
Another first was scored in the second when Emilie Harley’s first goal of the year came late in the period, making it 4-2. Harley has found herself playing defense now for the Colonials after playing her first two seasons as a forward. Despite having no collegiate experience of playing defense prior, Harley is looking like a natural defender, tallying seven points as a top-four defender. Her brother, Thomas Harley was recently selected 18th overall in the 2019 NHL draft by the Dallas Stars and is also a defenseman.
“I get a lot of advice from my dad who is a D coach, and my brothers all play D so I watched them growing up. I am a person that analyzes the game a lot so I understand the position and I just do my best to move the puck forward hard when I can,” commented Emilie Harley.
Robert Morris wrapped things up in the third period with the obligatory first line goal, as Michaela Boyle scored with an assist to Jaycee Gebhard. The team was able to seal their first CHA win of the season with 5-2 win over Penn State.
“The conference games are really important, especially for the standings towards the end of the year. We can’t get any games back, so we want every two-point win that we can take,” added Emilie Harley.
Robert Morris will conclude this series with Penn State tomorrow on the Island at 3:05 p.m. Be sure to follow @KreppsSentry on Twitter for updates and also to tune into the Stack the Pads podcast every Thursday.