Women’s hockey begins quest for CHA Title

Women%27s+hockey+heads+to+Erie+in+search+of+a+CHA+Title.+Photo+Credit%3A+Tyler+Gallo

Women’s hockey heads to Erie in search of a CHA Title. Photo Credit: Tyler Gallo

By Cameron Macariola, Contributor

ERIE, Pa.– After not knowing if they’d have a season, the Robert Morris women’s hockey team is preparing for the CHA Tournament. The Colonials finished their season with a satisfying record of 13-7-1 as well as 11-7-1 in-conference which put them third overall in the CHA standings. The tournament begins this afternoon and a champion will be crowned Saturday night at the Erie Insurance Arena.

Season Recap

The Colonials started their season with a record of 5-0 before dropping two straight to CHA regular season champs Penn State. They then tied and defeated I-79 rivals Mercyhurst at home. The win propelled them to win the next four games giving the Colonials five straight wins. The Colonials then went on a rollercoaster ride when they dropped the next three games to Mercyhurst and Penn State. After the losing streak, the Colonials built a three-game win streak headlined by senior night where all seniors got a point and Molly Singewald completed the shutout. The Colonials looked to be locked in second place, but after being swept on home ice by Syracuse, the first-round bye slipped from their hands, closing their season in abject fashion.

Penn State

The Penn State Nittany Lions were the best team in the CHA this season and finished the season with a record of 16-2-2 which was the same as their in-conference record. The Nittany Lions defeated the Colonials every time the teams met, and the only teams to put a dent in the current no. 7 team in the nation were Mercyhurst and Syracuse. The Orange also managed to force a tie with PSU as well as Lindenwood. A Penn State player to watch out for this tournament has to be freshman Kiara Zanon. Zanon leads the team with 30 points in just 20 games as a freshman. She could be terrorizing the CHA for years to come.

Mercyhurst

The Colonials’ biggest rival and host of the CHA tournament, as well as the women’s Frozen Four, stole the second seed from RMU after picking up an overtime win against Penn State last weekend, wrapping up their season with a 10-6-1 record against only conference opponents. The Lakers’ home ice has been a weakness for the Colonials. Both times the Colonials went up north they came home without a win. To top the defending champs, the Colonials will need to change their fortunes in Erie. They managed to force a tie, but at the Island, the Colonials dominated and defeated the Lakers fishing the season series with a record of 2-1-1. My player to keep an eye out for the Lakers is another elite freshman Sara Boucher. Boucher leads the Lakers in points with 18 points in 15 games.

Syracuse

The 2018-19 champs did not start the season the way they were hoping but finished the season red hot with a seven-game win streak which included a sweep over RMU, evening the season series at 2-2. They finished with an overall record of 10-8-1 and a conference record of 8-6-1. The Orange don’t look like they’ll go down without a fight. Leading the fight for the Orange will be goaltender Allison Small. She finished the season with a .939 SV% and 1.97 GAA. The Orange will be in the same position as RMU and needing three wins to be CHA champs as they take on Lindenwood on Thursday.

Lindenwood

Lindenwood has had a rough 2020-21 season as they only won two games, which came against last-place RIT, and finished with a 2-14-1 record. Their one tie was a surprise as they took Penn State in extra time and fended them off for the five minutes. The Lions were the first opponent RMU saw this season and all four games went the same way with a Colonial win. The player who will need to step up for the Lions if they want to pull off the upset against the Orange is Megan Wagner, she leads the Lions in goals with six.

RIT

RIT will be the first opponent for RMU as they are set to take on each other Thursday at 2 p.m. Besides COVID-19 hurting their season, their offense seemed to be hurting all season. The Tigers only had one game that had more than one goal, which happened to come against the Colonials. RIT didn’t go winless this season, though, as they defeated Mercyhurst 1-0 making them 1-14 overall and in-conference. The Tigers are a young team and if they want to upset they’ll need that shutout performance from Taylor Liotta.

RMU’s route to CHA title

The Colonials commence the tournament Thursday afternoon against RIT at 2 p.m. If the Colonials defeat the Tigers they’ll face I-79 rival Mercyhurst on Friday, and any team could challenge for the title, which will be on Saturday as there are four teams with a great shot for the title. My player to watch for the Colonials will be their leader, the 5’2″ giant, Lexi Templeman. Templeman alongside the rest of the senior class’ collegiate careers have been filled with heartbreak as they have lost the last three CHA title games. Look for the Colonials to get behind her and the rest of the seniors and fight to win the title for them.