The all-time best of women’s hockey

Credit%3A+Alexa+Headley

Credit: Alexa Headley

By Owen Krepps, Podcast / Webshow Manager

Not only has COVID-19 caused unspeakable tragedies and ruined the economy, but it has also taken away sports from the fans. Some leagues like the NBA and NHL have been able to recover but collegiate sports are a different story. With the postponement of fall sports, Robert Morris joins the countless other NCAA schools that will not have sports to start the year. With all this extra time on our hands without sports, let us journey into the past and reflect how far the fifteen sports programs at Robert Morris University have come. This will be a fifteen part series where we look back upon the all-time best of each sport respectively. Keep in mind that some of the opinions expressed in these articles are subjective and that this is just for fun. Today we will look at women’s hockey. *All statistics are courtesy of Robert Morris University Athletics*

Robert Morris Women’s Hockey is in its 16th year of existence and has been a very successful team for the university recently. The team has won three-straight regular-season titles and a plethora of individual awards thanks to the likes of Jaycee Gebhard and Brittany Howard coming through the organization. Several former players have gone on to continue their careers in professional leagues such as the NWHL. Also, Brianne McLaughlin, a 2009 alumni, represented the United States in the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.

Awards and Championships

– 2012 CHA Champions

– 2017 CHA Champions

– 2017 CHA Regular-Season Champions

– 2018 CHA Regular-Season Champions

– 2019 CHA Regular-Season Champions

– 2010 Olympian Alumni Brianne McLaughlin

Statistical Leaders

– Goals: Brittany Howard (79)

– Assists: Jaycee Gebhard (118)

– Points: Jaycee Gebhard (191)

– Goaltender Wins: Jessica Dodds (61)

Brittany Howard and Jaycee Gebhard are easily the two greatest players to ever lace up the skates for RMU women’s hockey. In her senior season, Gebhard surpassed Howard in points as a Colonial with her 182nd point on January 25th, 2020. The two most star-studded Colonias’ careers actually overlapped for one season in 2016-2017.

Howard is currently playing within the PWHPA (Professional Women’s Hockey Players Association) and recent graduate Gebhard has signed to play for Brynas in the SDHL (Swedish Women’s Hockey League).

Jessica Dodds was a phenomenal goaltender backed by some good teams in her career. She played for RMU from 2013-2017. Dodds had a career save percentage of .925% and a GAA of 2.09. She played in an era of Colonial hockey where phenomenal defenders like Maggie LaGue and Kirsten Welsh played, and along with Dobbs in net, it was hard to score on Robert Morris.

GOAT Category

– Jaycee Gebhard

– Brittany Howard

There are plenty of great players that have come through Moon Township to play hockey but two stand out above all else. The argument of who was better between Brittany Howard and Jaycee Gebhard will be argued all over Colonials Arena for the foreseeable future. In the end, what matters is that they were both Colonials.

The facts of it all are that Gebhard was on three CHA regular-season champion teams and Howard was on one. Gebhard leads RMU in assists and points where Howard leads in goals. Howard’s career-high season was in 2016-2017 where she scored 20 goals, 30 assists, and 50 points in 35 games. Gebhard’s career-high season was just last season where she scored 20 goals, 43 assists, and 63 points in 36 games.

This is more of a fun argument than a nasty one as both players were phenomenal on the ice and for the team in general. Whether you think the answer is Gebhard or Howard you are right stating that they were both superstar players either way.

Coaching

– Jody Katz (2004-05)

– Kevin McGonagle (2005-06)

– Nate Handrahan (2006-11)

– Paul Colontino (2011-present)

Paul Colontino is the easy pick for the greatest coach of all time. He led the team to three straight CHA regular-season titles and has won the CHA playoff title twice. Colontino was also named CHA coach of the year in both 2012 and 2017. His all-time record currently stands at 167-106-40. Robert Morris has been ranked top ten by the USCHO several times in Colontino’s tenure as well.

When Colontino became the bench boss in 2011-2012 he improved the team by 13 wins from the previous season which is the largest in Division 1 hockey history. He took a team that won six games the season before to then make them CHA champions. Colontino would be the first person to tell you that he has been blessed with incredible talent that he has gotten to coach, but without Colontino’s coaching guidance, those players would have never been able to truly shine and win as they did.

Best Year

– 2016-2017

I think this is a safe pick for the best season in RMU women’s hockey history as it is their best statistically. They finished the regular season with an astounding 24-5-6 record and won the CHA regular-season title. This team was a juggernaut, containing the likes of Brittany Howard, Jaycee Gebhard, Kirsten Welsh, Maggie LaGue, Amber Rennie, Lexi Templeman, Jessica Dodds in net, and Paul Colontino behind the bench. The team also was ranked #8 by the USCHO.

The pieces were there for a championship and that is exactly what they did winning the CHA title over Syracuse 2-0. They advanced to the NCAA tournament and lost to Wisconsin in the first round. This marked the second CHA title in team history and it was the first time Robert Morris won the CHA regular-season title.

All-time team

Left-Wing: Rebecca Vint

Center: Brittany Howard

Right Wing: Jaycee Gebhard

Defense: Emily Curlett

Defense: Kirsten Welsh

Goaltender: Brianne McLaughlin

Robert Morris has been blessed with some of the best women’s hockey players in the nation within the past decade. The obvious two picks for the starting lineup would be to include both Gebhard and Howard. In the only season the two played together they scored a combined 96 points and won a CHA title.

Rebecca Vint is my choice at left-wing slightly beating out girls like Amber Rennie and Lexi Templeman. Although I have never seen her play in person, Vint was a top player for RMU in her career from 2011-2015. She ranks third in all-time points with 134 and third in goals with 73.

The defense is where things get very tricky as RMU has had some incredible offensive, power-play specialists, and two-way defenders. Maggie LaGue was a tough one to leave out but I went with Kirsten Welsh and Emily Curlett. Welsh is the only Colonial to win CHA defender of the year, and Curlett owns the record for most goals scored by an RMU defender with 45 and she still has another year of eligibility.

In net the standout choice is Brianne McLaughlin, but Dodds and Lauren Bailey get honorable mentions. Although she was not a part of the amounts of success that more recent teams have had, McLaughlin had a great four years at RMU. She owns the club record for the most saves in a single game with 61 and has a career save percentage of .901%. Of course, she is most famous for going to the Vancouver Olympics in 2010 with the United States team where she won a silver medal.