Colonials fall 3-1 as Small stands tall

Allison+Small+covers+the+puck+after+one+of+her+49+saves+on+Friday.+Photo+Credit%3A+Nathan+Breisinger

Allison Small covers the puck after one of her 49 saves on Friday. Photo Credit: Nathan Breisinger

By Cameron Macariola, Contributor

NEVILLE, Pa.-– Robert Morris women’s hockey (13-6-1, 11-6-1 CHA) looked to close out their season with a series against Syracuse Orange (9-8-1, 7-6-1 CHA). These games have huge playoff implications for the CHA. With a Colonials, win they would have locked up the second seed, but unfortunately, they fell short as Orange goaltender Allison Small shut down the Colonials with a career-high 49 saves and lead the Orange to a 3-1 victory. Coach Colontino spoke about Small standing tall.

“[Small] made all the saves she needed to, and when she left a rebound we weren’t there. We didn’t make her make those second and third saves.”

The Colonials had to play in the defensive end more during the first 20. As the Colonials were outshot 14-9, but that did not stop them from getting on the scoreboard first. After a turnover at the Colonials blueline, Michaela Boyle scooped up the puck and went in on a three-on-one where she passed the puck to Captain Lexi Templeman who buried the puck past Small. This goal tied Templeman for fourth all-time in points.

After passing five minutes left in the period the Orange responded with a goal of their own. After a shot from the point and a net mouth scramble, Anna Leschyshyn gathered the puck and backhanded it past Arielle DeSmet who got the start for the Colonials.

The Colonials had a scare in the first when Syracuse Lauren Bellefontaine was called for body checking. Curlett was down on the ice for a little but returned in the second period. The hit was reviewed and deemed only a two-minute minor.

In the second period, the Colonials could not capitalize on the chances they got. There were a lot of two-on-ones and three-on-ones, but the puck either went off the post, wide or sent away by Small. Colontino had plenty to say about his team’s offensive performance.

“We were generating offensive plays that were one and done, there were rebounds there and we have to do a better job at anticipating and getting tougher and going after [the puck].”

While RMU could not cash in on their lone power-play opportunity in the second, the Orange did on their second power play when Gillian Thompson was sent to the box for tripping. The Orange sent the puck towards the net and created another mad scramble. After a few saves by DeSmet, Syracuse’s Abby Moloughney found the loose puck and slammed it into the open cage.

In the final frame, the Colonials tried their hardest to find the back of the net but were unsuccessful. The Colonials had 25 shots on goal to the Orange’s seven. The Orange added an insurance goal with just under five minutes remaining. Hannah Johnson received a pass from her teammate and was left wide open in the slot, and ripped a laser top-glove side past DeSmet.

Both teams’ regular seasons come to a close tomorrow afternoon where playoff implications will be decided. With a Syracuse win and a Penn State win over Mercyhurst, then Syracuse and Mercyhurst will flip the no. 3 and no. 4 seedings. If RMU wins, they secure the no. 2 seed and a first-round bye. Puck drop is at 2:05 tomorrow, follow along @SentryMacariola on Twitter for all the updates during tomorrow’s game.