PREVIEW: Women’s hockey looks for back-to-back sweeps hosting RIT

Women%27s+hockey+celebrates+a+goal+against+Penn+State.+They%27ll+look+to+do+more+celebrating+this+weekend+against+RIT.+Photo+Credit%3A+Nathan+Breisinger

Women’s hockey celebrates a goal against Penn State. They’ll look to do more celebrating this weekend against RIT. Photo Credit: Nathan Breisinger

By Cameron Macariola, Contributor

NEVILLE TWP– The Robert Morris women’s hockey team (7-2-1, 7-2-1 CHA) will look to protect home ice once again as they take on the struggling RIT Tigers (1-6, 1-6 CHA). This will be the team’s first encounter of the season with four crucial points for the Colonials up for grabs. RMU looks to stick with Penn State ( 8-1-1, 8-1-1 CHA) at the top of the CHA.

Recapping RMU

RMU is coming off of two hard-fought victories on the road last week against a very strong Syracuse team (2-6-1, 2-4-1 CHA). The Orange’s record can be very deceiving as they made the Colonials earn both wins, as both games finished with a score of 2-1. Raygan Kirk was the star of the show, as she made a whopping 66 saves in her two starts against the Orange.

In game one, the Colonials had three power-plays in the first period, but could not cash in on any of them. Although the power-play couldn’t propel the Colonials to an early lead, RMU did strike first. A pass from Kyleigh Hanzlik sprung Anjelica Diffendal for a breakaway, where Diffendal picked her corner to take the lead. In the third, the only penalty RMU took on the night turned out to be costly, as a Syracuse shot from Hannah Johnson manning the point found its way past Kirk to tie the game at one. Shortly after, the Colonials poured pressure on the Orange. As a result, Maggy Burbidge, off an amazing toe-drag move, got open and scored to put the Colonials on top.

In game two, the story was the same. The battle between Kirk and Syracuse’s goalie Allison Small was the main focus. Both goalies were tested with high-quality chances until Diffendal deflected a shot from the point to once again put the Colonials up 1-0. For the rest of the game, neither team could solve the brick walls in net. Syracuse, late in the third, did find a way to get one past Kirk. A shot that Kirk got the majority of went high above the crease and came down, managing to find its way across the line. The Orange didn’t have time to celebrate though because just 32 seconds later Ellie Marcovsky went five-hole on Small, giving the Colonials all they needed to complete the sweep, and sending RMU home with all four points to their name.

Scouting RIT

RIT spent last week at home as their road trip to State College and a one-game slate against St. Lawrence (0-3, 0-2 ECAC) was postponed due to Covid-19 concerns. The last time the Tigers’ blades hit the ice was January 11 where they suffered a 5-1 loss to Lindenwood (2-6, 2-6 CHA). One major flaw that the Tigers have is their lack of offense. They have been shut out in two of the last three games, and they have not had a game with more than one goal so far this season.

Players to Watch

Anjelica Diffendal (RMU) – Diffendal is coming off of a great week in New York where she put her name on the scoresheet twice. Her line was generating lots of offense for the Colonials. I would not be surprised to see her name on there this week as well.

Ellie Marcovsky (RMU) – Marcovsky, last week’s hero, will be a name to keep your eye on this weekend due to her offensive talents. Marcovsky has tallied seven points so far this season, and I can’t imagine her stopping there.

Hana Solinger (RIT) – Solinger is the Tigers’ leading goal scorer with two goals. If the Tigers want a fighting chance she will need to find a way to beat RMU’s great goaltending.

Taylor Sims (RIT) – Sims leads the Tigers in blocked shots. Preventing the Colonials from getting the rubber on net will be a key aspect for the Tigers. If Sims can stop the puck, the Tigers hope it can make the score manageable.

Prediction

RMU is a team with many talented players, and are at the top of the CHA for a reason. Their offense hasn’t been shut out yet, their defense is extremely talented, and the goaltending is always there to make a save when the team is skating on thin ice. I would not expect a nail biter this week as RMU should handle their business against RIT. My score predictions are 5-0 and 7-0, with both games going to the Colonials.