Women’s hockey wins CHA championship
It is always an amazing feeling to win a championship for any sport. It is even more amazing when it’s the first championship win in program history.
That is what the Robert Morris University women’s ice hockey team did Saturday afternoon when they defeated Mercyhurst 3-2 in regulation.
“I’m speechless,” said junior goaltender Kristen DiCiocco. “It’s incredible and such a great way to end our season. It’s more than we ever wanted.”
Freshman forward, Katelyn Scott got the scoring started in the first when she scored her first collegiate goal 3:41 into the game.
“It’s the best feeling ever and I think it’s the best game I could’ve done it in,” Scott said. “Scoring my first goal in this game just makes it that much more exciting.”
The Colonials were able to pad their lead when Thea Imbrogno tallied her 16th goal of the season with the assists going to Jamie Joslin and Dayna Newsom.
Both teams found themselves in penalty trouble throughout the entire first period, as there were 12 total penalties between the two teams.
“I just kept saying kill ‘em. Find a way to kill the penalties,” said Colonials head coach Paul Colontino.
Mercyhurst was able to get themselves on the board with four minutes remaining in the second period when Jess Jones beat DiCiocco while the Lakers were on the power play.
Less than three minutes later, with a little over 28 seconds remaining in the period Brianna Delaney scored her 10th of the season and program leading 53rd overall to put the Colonials up by two.
“I’m happy about my record breaking goal,” Delaney said. “But honestly that doesn’t even matter since we are able to say we won the championship. It’s an amazing way to end the season.”
Coming out of the second intermission the Colonials were feeling confident in themselves and knew they were able to accomplish the task at hand.
“We just said keep going hard, keep blocking shots, we still have 20 minutes to play,” said Scott. “They’re not going to hand it to us so we have to keep working for it and we’ll be successful.”
There was not another goal from either team for the next twenty minutes of play, until the dying seconds of the game when the Lakers cut the lead to one. Despite the late goal DiCiocco was confident in her team.
“I don’t even know what was going through my mind,” said DiCiocco. “I knew we were going to win because the girls were blocking shots and clearing pucks so there was no doubt in my mind. I’m just glad we had that extra cushion.”
The Colonials defense shut the Lakers down and they held on for the win.
“It’s awesome because we finished what we started,” said Colontino “The team worked hard all year and I don’t think any team deserves this more.”
Delaney, DiCiocco, and senior Kathryn Stack were named to the all-tournament team, and DiCiocco was named MVP of the tournament.
“All the individual awards don’t mean anything as long as I have that CHA cup,” said DiCiocco. “That’s the most important one of all.”
By winning, the Colonials became the first team to claim a College Hockey America (CHA) title other than the Lakers. It was a special moment for Colontino, who came to RMU from Mercyhurst.
“Mercyhurst has obviously had a great record with winning it consistently, and that’s a very tough thing to do,” Colontino said. “We’re definitely pumped to win it. In the spirit of competitiveness it’s just a great feeling to win because we set out to win a championship and we won it, we’re just excited.”
The win ends the Colonials season; however knowing that they went out on top is what means the most to the team.
“It’s an amazing feeling because we’ve worked so hard all this year for this moment,” Delaney said. “All the extra practices and workouts makes everything worth it tonight. I know so many people are proud of us including alumni, parents, and coaches.”