RECAP: Colonials fall shy 3-2 against Penn State

Emily+Curlett+and+Raygan+Kirk+look+on+as++Julie+Gough+and+Jessica+Adolfsson+celebrate+what+would+be+the+game-winning+goal+on+Friday+night.+Photo+Credit%3A+Nathan+Breisinger

Emily Curlett and Raygan Kirk look on as Julie Gough and Jessica Adolfsson celebrate what would be the game-winning goal on Friday night. Photo Credit: Nathan Breisinger

By Nathan Breisinger, Social Media Director

NEVILLE TWP, Pa.– It had been nearly a month since the Robert Morris women’s hockey team (4-1, 4-1 CHA) took the ice for College Hockey America conference action, but the Colonials fell just shy, 3-2, to Penn State (4-1-1, 4-1-1 CHA) in their first game back.

Although Penn State only possesses one senior on their roster, along with seven first-year skaters, the Nittany Lions looked like an experienced group as they took down an undefeated Colonials squad.

“They have some extremely skilled players. I thought they did a really nice job of playing a full 60 minutes,” head coach Paul Colontino said.

While the Colonials wound up in the loss column, they jumped out with a 1-0 lead just over six minutes into the game as Marah Wagner put one past goaltender Josie Bothun.

“She’s been deadly on her line and it’s been tremendous. Five-on-five her whole line has been exceptional,” Colontino said. “She’s building momentum and she’s getting herself into a real good spot that not only helps her line but helps our team immensely.”

The Colonials could not keep the momentum going as the Nittany Lions found the back of the net on the power play following a Gillian Thompson cross-checking penalty. Amy Dobson was able to beat Raygan Kirk from below the circle to tie the game at one apiece.

During the second frame, neither team could gain an edge on the scoreboard as Robert Morris failed to convert on two power-play opportunities. Kirk and Bothun fought off several chances from oncoming attackers during the period to keep things gridlocked.

The Nittany Lions were able to find that ever-so-needed go-ahead goal just 90 seconds into the final frame as Rachel Weiss flew down the wing on a 2-on-1 and picked the corner right over Kirk’s left shoulder.

“Both teams had their chances,” Colontino said. “Credit to them, they got a couple of odd-man rushes and they definitely made good with them and that can be the difference sometimes.”

Penn State would extend their lead to 3-1 as Carrie Byrnes threw one to the front of the net on a developing rush as it was redirected in by Julie Gough for her second of the season.

After falling to a two-goal deficit, the Colonials looked to stage a comeback that began with a Michaela Boyle bad-angled shot that led to a favorable bounce, which saw the puck find its way in behind Bothun.

All the energy the Colonials built was killed shortly after the contest was brought within one goal as Kyleigh Hanzlik and Lexi Templeman both went off the ice for minor penalties.

Kirk and the Colonials held together and fought off the 5-on-3, but RMU could not muster together the game-tying goal in the end.

“We worked extremely hard, but truthfully it wasn’t our smartest game,” Colontino said. “If we can combine that type of work ethic and gain on the skillset, the smart side, and the poise side… we’ll quickly be able to elevate our game.”

While the Colonials fell on the scoreboard, both teams put 30 shots each on net, but Bothun and the Nittany Lions were just a step better in this one.

“We always talk about in games like this defensively things get very tight and today was a good example of that,” Colontino said.

Robert Morris looks to bounce back against Penn State with a 2:05 p.m. puck drop on Saturday at Clearview Arena.