Staying alive


Photo credit: Dominique Murray

Sarah Heastings

The Robert Morris University women’s ice hockey team improved its season record to 4-0-1 with a 3-2 victory over the University of Vermont Catamounts Friday night.

Right off the opening face-off, the Colonials got to work. They quickly established their dominance over the visiting Catamounts.

At 1:02 into the first, sophomore forward Amber Rennie drew first blood. Finding the puck through a mass of confusion around the net, she was able to slide it past the flailing Vermont goaltender, Sydney Scobee.

Rennie was assisted by line-mates freshman Jaycee Gebhard and junior Brittany Howard. This line has become one of the most point producing lines on the team, and has become an unstoppable force on the ice.

“It’s just communication,” Rennie says of her line’s success. “We’re always talking to each other and letting each other know where we are. We try to make the best of every opportunity.”

One spectator went so far as to call them the HBK line of the Colonials, in reference to the fan favorite Pittsburgh Penguins line of Carl Hagelin, Nick Bonino, and Phil Kessel.

The rest of the first period would remain scoreless, but RMU’s dominance began to fade as UVM upped its physicality.

Coming out of the locker room, it was the University of Vermont’s time to get on the board. At 2:13 into the period, Victoria Andreakos found her way past Robert Morris’ sophomore goaltender Lauren Bailey to make the score an even 1-1.

It would not remain tied for long, though. At 10:51 freshman sensation Jaycee Gebhard found the back of the net once again. Assisted by Brittany Howard, sophomore defenseman Maggie LaGue, and junior forward Jessica Gazzola, Gebhard put the Colonials ahead on the scoreboard.

Gebhard — with a goal and an assist Friday — has already amassed four goals and four assists in her first five games as a collegiate player. She leads the team in both categories.

Seven minutes later, sophomore defenseman Kirsten Welsh rocketed a shot through Scobee to the surprise of all in attendance. It wasn’t until the light went on above the goal that the players, coaches, and fans realized it went in.

By this point in the game, the physical brutality of the match was in full swing. In the second period alone there were six penalties. Four of these penalties were given to Colonials for high sticking, tripping, kneeing and cross-checking.

At the start of the third period, it seemed to only get worse. Bodies were colliding, sending loud bangs echoing through 84 Lumber Arena. Players dove in front of incoming shots and had to limp off the ice in agony in some cases. Neither team let up, though, which was a true testament to both sides.

At 3:07 of the final period, Vermont’s Rachel Khalouf put a shot past Bailey. She was assisted by teammates Cassidy Campeau and Alyssa Gorecki. This would turn out to be the final goal of the game.

The players were bruised and aching by the conclusion of the contest. However, the feeling of victory eased the injuries of the Colonials. The girls celebrated their hard work together, having remained undefeated so far this season.

RMU knows its job is not over yet, however.

“We have to come out (tomorrow) like we did the first shift of this game,” Rennie says of tomorrow’s game. “We have to let them know that we’re not going to sit back and let them come in and win.”

The Colonials are set to face off again against the Catamounts Oct. 15 at 84 Lumber Arena. The puck drops at 3:05 p.m.