Preview: Colonials meet with Minnesota State before Thanksgiving

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Preview: Colonials meet with Minnesota State before Thanksgiving

Photo credit: David Auth

Photo credit: David Auth

Photo credit: David Auth

Photo credit: David Auth

Adam Melluso, Contributor

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PITTSBURGH — The Robert Morris women’s hockey team (6-6-2, 4-1-1 CHA) will look to give themselves some much-needed momentum before the Thanksgiving holiday as they welcome the Minnesota State Mavericks (4-5-1, 2-5-1 WCHA) for a two-game homestand on Friday night and Saturday afternoon at Colonials Arena. Before these two teams tangle, let’s take a look at their most recent outings and what each team possesses that could guide them to victory.

Recapping Robert Morris

The Colonials are coming off a hard-fought split in their series last weekend against #10 Colgate. The teams traded goals back and forth in game one with Colgate escaping with a 4-3 win. RMU’s Jaycee Gebhard continued her hot point streak as she scored the first goal on Friday to put the Colonials on the board, and assisted on goals by Amber Rennie and Maggie LaGue to make the score 4-2 and 4-3 respectively. Netminder Lauren Bailey has also been strong so far this season and kept up her solid performance in goal with a .904 save percentage.

Scouting Minnesota State

The Mavericks have struggled to start the 2018-19 campaign, possessing below-500 records both overall and in WCHA conference play. Minnesota State comes off of a tough series last weekend where they were swept at the hands of the Wisconsin Badgers, as they lost game one by a close score of 2-1 before being shutout in game two 2-0.

Despite the less than ideal start, the Mavericks have scoring aplenty in senior forward Rebekah Kolstad. The MSU hometown native of Mankato, MN has racked up seven points in her first 10 games to start her senior season. The Colonials will need to keep an eye on Kolstad and not let her get any shots through to the net if they want to have any hope of winning at least a game in the series this weekend.

Key Players to watch for Robert Morris

Jaycee Gebhard: The October CHA Player of the Month, Gebhard became the fifth Robert Morris player to amass 100 career points with her power play goal Nov. 9. Brittany Howard (181), Rebecca Vint (134), Thea Imbrogno (122) and Brianna Delaney (121) round out that group. With 44 goals, Gebhard took sole possession of sixth place on the RMU career chart from Kristen Miles who was with the class of 2009.

Lexi Templeman: Templeman registered eight points on a power-play goal and seven assists during her five-game point streak from Oct. 26-Nov. 9. She factored into two power-play goals Nov. 9, and six of her 12 total points have come on the PP. Her ten assists tie her with Gebhard for the conference lead (t-9th, NCAA).

Lauren Bailey and Arielle DeSmet: Bailey has a 1.92 goals-against average at home, which ranks second among CHA goaltenders. DeSmet backed her up Nov. 10 with a season-high 27 saves en route to her second CHA Rookie of the Week award.

Key players to watch for Minnesota State:

Abigail Levy: The starting netminder for Minnesota State has been sparkling for her team despite the rough start, getting over 600 minutes in net so far over the start of the season and posting a remarkable .950 save percentage which is better than both DeSmet and Bailey at .930 and .904 respectively. The Colonials will have to try to crash the net and challenge Levy early and often if they hope to put the puck in the back of the net.

Jordan McLaughlin: Sitting right behind team leader Kolstad on the stats sheet, McLaughlin has put up just as good stats in her first 10 outings of the year, with a goal and five assists for six points and a +/- rating of +4 to lead the Mavericks. The Colonials should not take McLaughlin’s presence on the ice lightly as despite being more of a setup player than a known scorer, she can still make opponents pay from all over the ice.

Prediction:

I feel that this will be the momentum that RMU so desperately needs to obtain and I say they do it in a big way this weekend, winning the first matchup on Friday night 5-2, before sweeping in game two with a win by the score of 4-1. The offensive prowess and skill of players like Amber Rennie and Jaycee Gebhard, combined with Minnesota State’s less-than-stellar stats and slumping records should make this an easy weekend sweep for RMU.

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