Preview: Colonials host second straight ranked opponent in no. 4 Clarkson

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Preview: Colonials host second straight ranked opponent in no. 4 Clarkson

Photo Credit: Thomas Ognibene

Photo Credit: Thomas Ognibene

Photo Credit: Thomas Ognibene

Photo Credit: Thomas Ognibene

Dalton Link, Contributor

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MOON TOWNSHIP — The Robert Morris Women’s hockey team (2-2) looks to build off of their performance from a weekend ago against the no. 2 Minnesota Golden Lady Gophers (6-0, 2-0 WCHA). Taking the no. 2 ranked team in the country down to the wire in two games is definitely something worth building off of. The Colonials will be tested once again this weekend as they prepare to host the no. 4 ranked Clarkson Golden Knights (3-1) for their third straight two-game homestand, Friday and Saturday, at Colonials Arena.

Recapping the Colonials

RMU gave the no. 2 Minnesota team more than they bargained for, leading them for a good portion of the second period in the first game, and forcing overtime late in the third period. The Colonials hung around in the second game as well, until the Golden Lady Gophers pulled away late in the third period. Defender Emily Curlett shined in the series despite the losses. She finished the weekend with three points, 11 shots on goal and an incredible 20 blocked shots, which earned her the CHA Women’s Hockey Co-Player of the Week Award.

The series was also highlighted by three Colonial freshmen picking up their first career point at the collegiate level, including forward Marah Wagner scoring her first career goal. The solid performance RMU put on this past weekend now has them ranked 10th in United States College Hockey Online (USCHO) poll.

Previewing Clarkson

The Clarkson Golden Knights’ hot streak was doused two weekends ago when they were shutout by the University of Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs (3-1, 2-0 WCHA). They had last weekend off, so they are going to be fresh and ready to fire on all cylinders in an attempt to get that taste of defeat far away from them. They have a fantastic mixture of offensive firepower and defensive skill, having four players scoring at above a point per game, along with defender Ella Shelton, who wears the ‘C’ for the Golden Knights, making plays in the defensive zone.

Players to Watch

Joelle Fiala (RMU)

Fiala had the lone helper on Marah Wagner’s first collegiate goal, and Fiala was skating like she was hungry for her first goal as well. Since she did not get it against Minnesota, expect her to come out with even more fire underneath her this weekend. As the chemistry between Wagner and Fiala strengthens, this line has the potential to cause problems for any opponent, including the no. 4 Golden Knights.

Natalie Marcuzzi (RMU)

Natalie started the scoring off for the Colonials in the first game against Minnesota for her first goal of the season. Centering the second line, she leads all starting centers on the team with her 60.3 win percentage on face-offs from the dot. Marcuzzi is the player the team wants to take the late, close-game draws, and do not be surprised to see that occur this weekend.

Ella Shelton (Clarkson)

Ella was named team captain for a reason, her defensive skills have earned her numerous awards throughout her collegiate career. She is also no stranger when going up against RMU, her single-game career-high for assists (three) and points (three) came in a game against the Colonials, just over a year ago, in which the Golden Knights won by a score of 4-2. Ella will be looking to repeat such a performance this weekend.

Gabrielle David (Clarkson)

Fresh out of Quebec, she is one of the four players currently averaging above one point per game (with at least three games played), and is leading the team with six assists. Her playmaking ability was on display in each of the team’s first three games, tallying two assists in all of them. Senior forward Kayla Friesen leads the team in goals with four, and Gabrielle has an assist on three of them.

Prediction

The Colonials, despite losing twice last weekend, are still fired up and continue on with the attitude that they can play with anyone. The Golden Knights are going to have fresh legs after not playing last weekend, and they are ready to get back in the win column after getting blanked by the University of Minnesota Duluth. Both teams have some skilled offensive players that could turn the tide at any point, however, both teams also have solid goaltenders that have the capability of preventing that tide from turning. If the Colonials can find their feet early and play their game with the speed that they have, it will not be a surprise to see them come out victorious one of the days of this weekend.

Friday: 3-1 Robert Morris, Saturday: 5-3 Clarkson

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