RMU women’s hockey seeks repeat

Vinny McGovern, Staff Writer

This season, the Colonials will take the ice with a sizable target on their back, because they concluded last season with a record of 19-9-4 and skated past the competition, taking home the CHA Championship. With only losing three seniors, the team will look to continue its winning ways behind last year’s top scorers Rebecca Vint and Thea Imbrogno.

This year, the team adds two players, Kelsey Gunn and Kristen Richards from Niagara. They have been playing nearly all of their lives, and head coach Paul Colontino said, “They bring three years of college experience with them, which is a nice addition.”

Each addition will greatly help the team out. Aside from the transfers, there is a group of freshman joining the team who are full of potential, and look to make a name for themselves.  Not only have the Colonials made additions on the ice, but off the ice as well. Ashley Harper, a volunteer and Brianne McLaughlin join the staff and hope to coach the team back to the championship. Both were promoted and formerly in the system, now they bring their experience to the table.

“What’s great is they both have extensive knowledge on the interworking’s that take place within our program at Robert Morris.” Colontino says. “Now we can skip past the break in period, and go right into production. Now we can focus on the smaller things. Because they know most of the things about the program, now we can fine tune those.”

What may be the most important aspect of the team is, Rebecca Vint. Last year, Vint came on the team as a freshman last year and finished the season at atop of the Colonial sports world. The Robert Morris record books were rewritten after the stellar performance Vint had, consisting of 22 goals, 22 assists, and 151 shots.

She won the CHA rookie of the year award, and with three years left to play, the future is looking bright. Colontino believes she can continue on this success, and even go above and beyond.

“She brings a strong work ethic to the ice and sets an example for teammates. She’s plays for the name on the front of her jersey, not the name on her back.” Colontino said.

Another player making an immeasurable impact on the Colonials, is goaltender, Kristen DiCiocco. Her stats between the pipes last season helped the team reach their aspired plateau. She appeared in 30 games last season and was heavily rewarded for her work, and she took home the hardware for CHA Goaltender of the year award, and the CHA Tournament MVP award.

When asked which award meant the most to her, DiCiocco responded with, “By far the best award I received, was winning the CHA championship with my team. There was no better way to end our year prove how hard we worked, and how far we’ve came to get here.”

DiCiocco is a mentally tough student athlete according to her coach, and when asked if he believes if she can add on to her successful career, Colontino said, “Yes, I do. I’m confident in her, and all of my players. We raise the bar each year, and we try to achieve more and learn from our experiences.”

Based on the skill and the group of girls they have a shot at a repeat. When asked about the possibility of a repeat, coach knocked on wood and stated, “There is always the potential to repeat. The reality of it is you’re as good as your last shift. As a staff and the student athletes know, the slate is clean. August 27 it all starts.”

Colontino continued, “No one can take away what we earned last year, but it’s time to restart the process, and we have a big target on our chest and people are gunning for us. The whole goal, in all honesty is to put our self in a position to compete for the championship. We’re in good shape, we know our system and we’re working on playing together as a team. When you do all those things, it takes away the variable and it helps you earn a championship, and that’s all you can ask for.”

While Colontino is confident in his girls, DiCiocco is also assured that she can lead the team to the championship as while. She states, “We strive for improvement every year, and we do plan on repeating this season.” She also adds, “We know we can compete with any team in the country, and if we work hard, I’m confident in our abilities to repeat, and even advance further.”

That being said, the 2012 season is looking bright. If everyone continues to train hard on and off the ice, the CHA Championship will become one step closer to coming back home to Robert Morris.