Colonials edge out Lakers 3-2 in fierce matchup

Women%27s+hockey+topped+Mercyhurst+on+Tuesday.+Photo+Credit%3A+Nathan+Breisinger

Women’s hockey topped Mercyhurst on Tuesday. Photo Credit: Nathan Breisinger

By Nathan Breisinger, Sports Multimedia Editor

NEVILLE TWP– After dropping their last three games, the Robert Morris women’s hockey team looked to get back into the win column against Mercyhurst, and that’s exactly what they did with a 3-2 victory.

Robert Morris (10-5-1, 10-5-1 CHA) and Mercyhurst (6-5-1, 6-5-1 CHA) entered the matchup after splitting their regular-season series up to this point with a 1-1-1 record as the Colonials hoped to earn the tiebreaker.

“When you looked at the series overall at the four games, coming into today, it was 1-1-1, and it’s like the tiebreaker where both teams really want to win the series and get the two points,” head coach Paul Colontino said. “We’re just really excited and proud of the players for the way they came out today.”

Despite the desire to jump out to an early lead for RMU, the Lakers found the back of the net first, with Chantal St-Croix putting one home past netminder Raygan Kirk to make it 1-0.

Just moments later, Sarah Boucher took a hooking penalty leading to an opportunity on the power play for RMU. The Colonials made no mistake with the advantage as Emily Curlett buried the equalizer on the goal line to tie the game at one apiece.

While both teams traded chances in the second period, neither team could get on the board, but the two foes displayed why they are fierce rivals with plenty of post-whistle altercations and an increase in physicality.

With the chippiness escalating, Colontino believed that the players just needed to be focused on the next shift.

“There’s going to be all sorts of distractions and adversity. As a player that’s going out there in 30 seconds or a minute, you have to be focused and dialed on what you want to accomplish with that next shift.”

Exactly as Colontino described, the Colonials buckled down and focused on their final 20 minutes of play, where they scored the go-ahead goal less than two minutes into the third frame. After a pass from Ellie Marcovsky that moved the puck to Gillian Thomspon at the point, she sent a high rising wrister that found its way past Lakers goalie Ena Nystrom.

“I liked the composure that we had right off into the third period. We started that period composed and on a mission, and I think we were rewarded for that,” Colontino said.

The Colonials sustained pressure for most of the third period’s opening portion as they would extend their lead to 3-1. Following an initial shot that was blocked by Lakers defender K.K. Thiessen, Joelle Fiala finally got the puck behind Nystrom to give RMU a two-goal lead.

As the season comes down the homestretch, the Colonials have continually found a plethora of different producers. While the goals have frequently come from the dirty areas, the Colonials will take the hard-fought goals.

“We’re going to get a couple of highlight-reel goals… but a lot of these things are going to be hard-nosed plays of getting to the net and paying a price to bat home a rebound or follow up on a play,” Colontino said.

Although the Colonials lengthened their lead, the Lakers would not go away. With the goalie pulled, Mercyhurst would bring the game within one goal after Summer-Rae Dobson scored her second tally of the year.

Kirk and the Colonials would withstand a Mercyhurst come back and hold on to win 3-2. Continuing her strong play in net, Kirk had another solid afternoon between the pipes with 20 saves.

Robert Morris will continue their grueling schedule when they head to Rochester, New York, to compete in a two-game series against the RIT Tigers (1-9, 1-9 CHA) this Friday and Saturday.