PREVIEW: Colonials take on Syracuse in CHA title game

Women%27s+hockey+is+set+to+go+for+their+fifth+consecutive+CHA+final%2C+this+time%2C+they+will+take+on+Syracuse.+Photo+Credit%3A+Nathan+Breisinger

Women’s hockey is set to go for their fifth consecutive CHA final, this time, they will take on Syracuse. Photo Credit: Nathan Breisinger

By Cameron Macariola, Contributor

ERIE, Pa.– RMU women’s hockey is back in the CHA finals for the fifth year in a row, and this time, they will have a rematch of the 2019 CHA finals with the red-hot Syracuse Orange. The last time the Colonials won the tournament was in 2017 against Syracuse where they defeated the Orange by a score of 2-0. The puck will be dropped tonight at 6:00 p.m. at Erie Insurance Arena.

Recapping RMU

RMU came into the tournament as the no. 3 seed with a record of 13-7-1. They would defeat RIT in the quarterfinals by a score of 4-0 as Molly Singewald got the 17-save shutout. With that win, it set up a semi-final match-up against Mercyhurst.

The defending champs defeated the Colonials last year in overtime. The Colonials would not let that happen again, jumping out to an early lead with a short-handed goal by Ellie Marcovsky.

The Lakers would respond quickly and add the next goal to take a 2-1 lead into the third. Arielle DeSmet got the start for the Colonials. Early in the third, Michaela Boyle would tie the game on the power-play. Just like 2020, this game would need more than 60 minutes. In the extra time, the Colonials weren’t going to be denied of their fifth straight finals appearance as Maggy Burbidge found herself open in front and send the Colonials to their Saturday date with Syracuse.

Scouting Syracuse

Syracuse came into the CHA tournament at the no. 4 seed with a record of 10-8-1. They finished their season red-hot with a seven-game win streak. This propelled the Orange by Lindenwood 6-0, and then an upset against the top-seeded Penn State Nittany Lions. The Orange went up 3-0 and had to fight off a late push by Penn State to defeat the Nittany Lions by a score of 3-2.

The season series between the Colonials and Orange is dead even at two games apiece, with both teams winning their two games at the opponent’s rink. The first two meetings were in Syracuse where goalies Allison Small and Raygan Kirk shined. The Colonials were the hungrier team, and with late third-period goals, defeated the Orange 2-1 both times. Their next meeting would be both teams’ final games of the season. The Orange were the better team on the weekend, along with the great play of Allison Small, they would go on to defeat the Colonials by scores of 3-1 and 4-1.

Players to watch

Maggy Burbidge (RMU) – Burbidge has been on fire so far this tournament as she scored two goals in the game against RIT and was the overtime hero to send the Colonials to the finals. Hopefully, she can keep finding the back of the net to give the Colonials the CHA title.

Lexi Templeman (RMU) – Templeman has been one of the many great leaders RMU has produced. She has led the team with 23 points this season. Without her, the Colonials may not be in the same position they have been in the last three years. Look for the team to rally around her and give her the chance to be the first Colonial to lift the trophy high above her head.

Allison Small (CUSE) – Small has been sharp when she has faced the Colonials. She set a career-high in saves against the Colonials just last weekend. If the Colonials want to win the title, they need to make Small feel small and solve her early.

Jessica DiGirolamo (CUSE) – DiGirolamo has been such an offensive threat from the blue line this season, she has had 10 goals and 10 assists in 21 games. Before the Penn State game, she recorded a point in seven straight games, which included a goal and assist against the Colonials. Look for her to be one of the many leaders the Orange have to win the second CHA title for the Orange in three years.

Prediction

RMU has been on a revenge tour this tournament defeating Mercyhurst and it comes down to tonight. The players all know what has happened the last three years, and truly believe they be the ones to break this streak. I’m not going to say my score prediction, but I’ll wish the Colonials the best of luck and hope they bring home the title.