Colonials win big over Tigers


Photo Credit: Thomas Ognibene

Evan Basista, Contributor

PITTSBURGH– It was an impressive showing of depth scoring and resilience, as RMU women’s hockey (17-10-4, 11-4-2 CHA) defeated the RIT Tigers (11-17-3, 4-12-1 CHA) by a score of 5-1.

It didn’t take long for the Colonials to get on the board, as Joelle Fiala buried a loose puck in front of the net to record her second of the season and give RMU a lead just 1:54 into the game.

A big powerplay opportunity followed just a few minutes later. RIT was called for high-sticking and body checking, giving the Colonials a four-minute man advantage. They would come close to capitalizing, with their best chance being a shot from Lecavalier hitting the post, but it was unsuccessful in the end.

With nine minutes left in the period, RMU was called for hooking, giving the Tigers their first powerplay of the night. However, just like the Colonials, RIT did not find success. From there, the two teams would trade chances in the offensive zone that would be met by big saves.

As time was winding down in the first, the Tigers got on the board. A one-timer in the slot from Hunter Barnett found the back of the net to tie it up at one with 1:47 left in the period. Thirty-two seconds later, RMU was once again called for hooking. The first period would end in a 1-1 tie.

The Colonials would kill off the remainder of the penalty to start the second period and followed it up with some more good chances.

With 13:42 left to go in the period, RMU would break the tie, courtesy of Maggy Burbidge. She roofed a shot top-shelf to record her seventh of the campaign.

When asked about her goal, Burbidge said, “Coming in, Leah Marino made a great pass for the breakaway, and I felt the girl (the RIT defender) coming on pretty strong. When I cut back, I just shot and hoped for the best. The celly was the best part, going back to the bench with all the girls. You can’t beat those kinds of moments; they’re awesome.”

Just under a minute later, Lexi Templeman deked the RIT goalie out of her net to pick up her tenth and extend the RMU lead. The Tigers would get another powerplay opportunity not long after, but they were denied again by the Colonials’ penalty kill.

With 8:13 left in the second, RMU made it 4-1 with a point shot from Emily Curlett that barely trickled through and gave Curlett her 16th goal on the season. RIT would call a timeout in an attempt to rally the troops and slow things down a bit with 6:51 to go in the frame.

The Colonials got their second powerplay opportunity of the game with 4:25 left in the period, and they would get their third shortly after that one expired.

On their third chance, it appeared as though RMU finally made something out of their good chances on the man advantage, but after video review, it was determined that the goal was no good. The Colonials were called for body checking with under a minute to go, and the 2nd period ended 4-1 with 4-on-4 play.

As the third period began, the penalties on both sides were killed off. RMU headed to the box for body checking at 3:35 and slashing at 6:15, and it seemed as though they were starting to get into penalty trouble.

However, Natalie Marcuzzi made the most of a shorthanded breakaway and gave the Colonials a 5-1 lead with 12:15 to play.

That 5-1 score would hold to the end of the game, with a couple more RIT penalties and one more RMU penalty being called to ultimately no result.

When asked after the game how important it was to bounce back from the RIT goal near the end of the first by getting a goal of their own and building upon it, Coach Colontino said, “It was huge. We thought our team responded extremely well. We thought our first period was ok, thought we made a lot of mental errors, and we came out, killed off a penalty. I thought the shifts that we got were completely game-changing, and that we built some great momentum off of some excellent goals we think were created by just fundamentally sound hockey. We were definitely pleased with that. That was the second period we needed.”

This was a sentiment Burbidge shared, stating, “Our first period wasn’t our best and coming back, obviously the momentum just changed after that goal. We just kept going and the floodgates just opened. We got a lot of gritty goals, we worked for every goal we got. It was great.”

When Colontino was asked about how much of a testament it is to the habits he has built up with the team that they can come out after a tough first period and take the game over, he replied, “It’s fantastic in the sense that you have a team that can rebound so quickly. You never want to put yourself in that situation, but today, there are moments where you somehow find yourself in that situation. I liked what we did in the second and third periods. We played much more thoroughly, a lot stronger on the puck, and more fundamentally sound. Those are the habits we want to take into tomorrow’s game.”

RMU women’s hockey will face off against RIT again tomorrow at 3:05 p.m. in their final home game of the year.