Women’s hockey starts season strong with win over Lindenwood

The+Colonials+celebrate+Ellie+Marcovsky%27s+first+career+goal%2C+the+game-winning+goal%2C+on+Friday+night.+Photo+Credit%3A+Nathan+Breisinger

The Colonials celebrate Ellie Marcovsky’s first career goal, the game-winning goal, on Friday night. Photo Credit: Nathan Breisinger

By Nathan Breisinger, Sports Multimedia Editor

NEVILLE TWP, PA– In an opening game of the season that turned into a grudge match, it was not a senior that saved the day, but Pittsburgh native and freshman Ellie Marcovsky that put home the game-winning goal for the Robert Morris women’s hockey team (1-0, 1-0 CHA) in a 4-2 victory over Lindenwood (0-1, 0-1 CHA).

“Ellie gets on a power play and her first five-on-three of her college history and she plays it like a veteran,” Head Coach Paul Colontino said. “It’s like she’s been doing it all her life… and for her, it’s just a great memory with a game-winning goal in her first college game.”

Thanks to Marcovsky’s game-winner on the power play and an additional goal from Wasyn Rice to close things out, the Colonials squeaked out a season-opening victory over the Lions.

It was a long time coming for both the Colonials and the Lions after a long layoff due to COVID-19, but both teams came into the game with high energy and it showed early.

“The last three months have been an emotional rollercoaster, so to throw the jerseys on and actually get out there… and realize that it’s all real and it’s happening is a big moment for everyone,” Colontino said.

Both teams traded chances back and forth through the opening seven minutes, but momentum shifted to Robert Morris after a strong Colonials’ penalty kill when Emily Curlett let go of a bomb from the point that was redirected in front by Maggy Burbidge to make it 1-0.

For the Colonials’ second goal, was all Curlett as she walked into the offensive zone and ripped one past the blocker of Lindenwood netminder Annika Asplundh.

“As an underclassman to have one of your captains and seniors step right up, it just instills confidence in everyone all the way down,” Colontino said.

Curlett would continue to pepper Asplundh as she released shot after shot from the point during the final stretch of the first period, but could not notch her second goal of the game.

In the second, it was once again a balanced approach from both teams as no one could gain an edge. Robert Morris failed to capitalize on three power-play opportunities during the period as Asplundh fought off the six shots she faced on the penalty kill.

The Lions did sustain some pressure in the offensive zone during the midway point of the period, but goaltender Raygan Kirk stonewalled every chance they had including a two-on-one that saw Sierra Burt get shut down.

With the final frame underway, the ice tilted in favor of the Lions as Hannah Alt not even a minute in the period peeled back across the middle and let one go, beating Kirk low blocker side.

“I thought we had an outstanding first shift, and right at the end of the first shift we had a turnover and they capitalized,” Colontino said.

Just moments later, after several big saves by Kirk, the Lions were able to tie the game up as Sierra Burt netted her 25th career goal.

The Colonials and Lions were gridlocked heading into the final minutes of the game before Lindenwood got themselves into penalty trouble. Thea Jorgensen was nabbed for body checking, while Madison Stitt would sit out for the remainder of the game following a five-minute major boarding call.

The five-on-three advantage proved to be deadly for the Lions as Marcovsky potted her first collegiate goal, beating Asplundh on the blocker side to lift the Colonials to a 3-2 lead.

“[She] finds the right spot, anticipates where the pucks going to be, and bangs it home,” Colontino said.

With 48 seconds remaining in the game, Wasyn Rice added an insurance goal on a back door tap in to give the Colonials a two-goal lead.

The Colonials would walk away with a season-opening victory also in large part to Raygan Kirk’s 32 save performance in net.

Robert Morris will take on Lindenwood for its second game of the season Friday afternoon with a 1:05 p.m. scheduled puck drop.