A shutout for senior night


Photo credit: Samuel Anthony

Sarah Heastings and Sarah Heastings

The Robert Morris University Colonials (20-4-6) shutout the visiting the Penn State University Nittany Lions (9-18-5) with a score of 2-0.

After a heart-breaking loss in game one of the series, the Colonials took the ice hungry for victory in their last home game of the regular season.

The energy and emotions were high as teammates, coaches and fans said farewell to the Colonials’ senior class of 2017. Captain Rikki Meilleur, goaltender Jessica Dodds, defensemen Mikaela Lowater and Maeve Garvey, and forward Mackenzie Johnston were all honored prior to puck drop.

“From the coach’s standpoint, it’s been a really fun team to coach,” said head coach Paul Colontino of the class of 2017. “Our senior class is so good on the ice and so good off the ice that they’ve created this awesome atmosphere. They bring heart and determination into their play and provide an example.”

After the ceremonies, RMU got to work. Boosting the physicality, speed and puck possession, Robert Morris immediately put Penn State on edge.

The first period left both teams scoreless despite brilliant efforts. Robert Morris hit the crossbar on two consecutive opportunities, leaving the fans packed into 84 Lumber Arena in an uproar.

With phenom redshirt junior forward Brittany Howard in the penalty box, other members of the Colonials’ roster stepped up and contributed to the team’s effort. Junior forward Amanda Pantaleo scored her 11th goal of the season with a shorthanded goal at 3:20.

“One of our defensemen made a nice play to squeeze it out front in the slot,” said Pantaleo. “Maeve (Garvey) did a nice job of joining the play. I wouldn’t have had that shot if it wasn’t for Maeve. I just picked a corner and fortunately it went in.”

While it gained the lead, Robert Morris suffered a major loss in the second period with the injury of senior forward Mackenzie Johnston. Johnston was helped off the ice by the team’s trainer, as well as two teammates. She did not return to the ice.

“We don’t have (an update) yet,” said Colontino on the status of Johnston’s injury. “I know it was pretty sore in between periods. Hopefully, we can now get her a week’s rest.”

The injury seemed to only push the Colonials to fight harder. After a bit of four-on-four action, freshman forward Aneta Ledlova rocketed a shot past Nittany Lion goaltender Hannah Erhesmann. It was Ledlova’s fifth goal of the season, and she was assisted by Howard and freshman forward Jaycee Gebhard.

Penn State almost cut the Colonials’ lead in half, but the goal was called off due to a high-sticking call. The Nittany Lions could not score for the duration of the game, and Dodds would earn her first shutout of the season.

“It was the first (shutout) of the season,” said Dodds. “I couldn’t think of a better day to have a game like this on. I’m really fortunate that my team came to play, and that we were defensively very sound.”

The Colonials will wrap up their regular season on the road against the Lindenwood University Lions. With Syracuse only two points behind Robert Morris in the CHA standings, RMU knows that it must win these last two games if it wishes to clinch the conference.

“We’re kinda greedy,” said Dodds on the Colonials’ desire to win. “We want the four points, we don’t just want two. We want to win everything.”

“Syracuse is a really good team, so we can’t bank on them losing,” said Pantaleo. “We want to make sure that we do the job ourselves.”