The start of the 2012-2013 season is finally here for the Robert Morris University women’s hockey team. After playing and winning all four of their exhibition games, the Colonials are ready to start the regular season with confidence.
“We trained a lot over the summer, and I think we’re in better shape this year,” said senior captain Dayna Newsom on how the team has improved. That’s saying a lot since the Colonials are last season’s College Hockey America (CHA) Champions.
“Last year we obviously went into the season ranked last and this year we’re ranked second. So it just gives us more incentive to try to get first,” senior assistant captain Cobina Delaney explained. “Obviously since we won last year people are going to know our name a little bit more, but we’re still going to play just like we did last year.”
Not only was last year an important time for the Colonials due to their first ever league title win, but also because it was the team’s first season with head coach Paul Colontino.
“I think we could have been in better shape at the beginning of last year,” Delaney admitted. “But this year we knew what he was expecting so we all came in a step higher than last year and I think it’s going to improve us.”
Before the 2012 champions can foot their shot at repeating their title, they have their fair share of teams to face, including three that are new to their conference.
“It’ll be interesting to play them and see what they’re like,” Newsom commented on the addition of RIT, Penn State, and Lindenwood to their CHA conference. The three of them along with Mercyhurst and Syracuse account for twenty out of thirty of the Colonials games this season.
On whether or not preparation for those conference games is any different than non-conference games, Newsom explains that it is all the same.
“We prepare the same for every game. No game is different than another game, whether it’s the championship of regular season you still have to try your best,” she said. “You need to play every game like it is a championship game because there are so little games in our season.”
The Colonials will likely keep that same mindset throughout the course of the season, even against their nationally ranked opponents such as 8/8 Northeastern who they face on Oct. 26, 3/9 Boston University who they play the day after on Oct. 27, and their conference mate 7/8 Mercyhurst who they are scheduled to face four times.
“I think you have to have the same mindset going into every game,” said Newsom. “You have to expect every team’s going to be just as good as the ranked teams.”
While Newsom admits that the ranked teams are tougher to play against, she knows that the Colonials can’t let that intimidate them. “We just have to play the same way and get pumped up for our games and just do what we do.”
If the combination of last season’s success and the extra preparation and training are any indication of what this year holds for the Colonials, the 2012-2013 season should be another one for the books.