Gebhard leads Colonials to much needed win over Penn State 3-2


Photo credit: David Auth

Owen Krepps and Owen Krepps

PITTSBURGH — The Robert Morris University women’s hockey team (7-8-4 overall, 5-1-1 conference) started their weekend series against Penn State (7-8-2 overall, 2-5-0 conference) with a strong 3-2 win. The game featured two special events in the third annual Teddy Bear Toss, and a Skate with the Colonials after the game. The Colonials added to the excitement of an already jam-packed night with a full sixty-minute game, and a big win.

“We obviously knew it was going to be a fun game with the Teddy Bear Toss but we took it as another game and we were on a mission to win,” said Jaycee Gebhard who scored two goals in the game.

Robert Morris is now back on track after being winless in six straight games dating back to Nov. 3. In this slump, they went 0-3-3 losing and tying every team that they faced once. With this much needed conference win, Robert Morris sits second in the CHA, behind Mercyhurst (6-2-0), and will look to build off of it tomorrow.

“In the CHA every team is tough and every two points is important and we did a great job tonight,” stated Gebhard.

The game started off with some tight hockey with both teams not giving up anything defensively. Lauren Bailey played a phenomenal game for RMU and made many key saves on route to stopping 30 of 32 shots on goal. On the other hand, Penn State was blocking shots like crazy as they continued to keep up the defensive pace of the game.

The first puck to find the twine though came at 8:30 of the first and was scored by none other than Jaycee Gebhard. This immediately ignited the tossing of the teddy bears and it took a solid couple of minutes for play to resume as the ice crew was playing cleanup. Every teddy bear that was thrown on the ice will be donated to the Autism Society of Pittsburgh as well as all money received during the event.

“It’s a pretty solid tradition and it was great in front of a great crowd and our players did a great job on the ice so we’re pleased with the win,” head coach Paul Colontino noted after the game.

The Colonials closed out the first period with a 1-0 lead and improved on it in the second which was arguably their best period. Robert Morris was doing a great job at throwing pucks on net and getting chances off of it. One of these far shots came from the blue line by freshman defender Wasyn Rice who potted her first career goal as a Colonial. The goal came and 6:07 in the second and put RMU up 2-0 on Penn State.

“It didn’t feel real at the start but now it feels amazing,” said Rice when asked about her reaction to her goal.

Penn State did finally break the spell of Lauren Bailey and found the back of the net for their first goal in the second period. The goal came off the stick of Natalie Heising at 9:15 and was on the power play.

But right after this goal, PSU got into some penalty trouble and essentially gave Robert Morris back to back power plays. Puck movement on both units looked stellar as the Colonials were able to capitalize off it. At 12:04 Jaycee Gebhard ripped a one-timer home for a 3-1 Colonial lead, and surprisingly Gebhard’s first multi-goal game.

A two-goal lead is often viewed as the worst type of lead in hockey, but RMU proved tradition wrong and was able to play a solid defensive game in the third. However, Penn State did score with an empty net, but at 19:59 with only 0.2 seconds. Abby Welch scored the goal but it would be too little too late as the Colonials close out Teddy Bear Toss night and Skate with the Colonials with a big win over Penn State 3-2.

“We got some really nice goals and we worked hard for them, and tonight was absolutely a 60-minute effort,” said Colontino.

“It was awesome and everybody stepped up a bit and we played a full 60 minutes finally on a Friday. We didn’t do anything fancy we just took pucks to the net and grinded it out tonight,” added Gebhard.

Up next the Colonials will continue their series at home against Penn State at 5:05 p.m. where they hope to get another big win.